– Dan d’Entremont (Head of Academic Counseling / TOK Coordinator)
Many former TIS students return to Macau and give back to the community in a variety of ways. This is an important characteristic of TIS students, that responding to authentic need changes not only the lives of the people you help, but in turn, changes yourself. This was the case for two former TIS classmates, Sarah Estadieu & Joanna Wong when they returned recently to volunteer at The Cradle of Hope Orphanage in Macau. What makes this even more special is that Sarah and Joanna, prior to being classmates at TIS, were both former children of this orphanage.
Some bonds are through friendship, others through family, but the bond between Sarah and Joanna goes much deeper. Sarah looks back fondly on their time spent together there. “I wanted to volunteer at the orphanage because it would give me the possibility to figure out if this was the type of work I want to do in the future. It also gave me the opportunity to give back to the orphanage for all the times they helped me out.” Joanna shares these sentiments as well noting that “the orphanage has always held a special place in my heart. The staff and children were my family. I continue to have a good relationship with Marjory (president and founder) and wanted to learn more about the orphanage now that I am an adult. Volunteering at the orphanage is a way to give back to the organization that cared for me with great love during my early years in life.”
Despite now being separated by great distances, with Joanna in the US and Sarah in Canada, they made this shared volunteer experience a priority. Joanna noted that volunteering with Sarah at the orphanage allowed her to understand her feelings better. “Coming back to Macau is like coming home. Going back to the orphanage brings fond memories to my mind. Being able to serve with somebody with the same background was exciting because we could process things together.” Sarah echoed these sentiments as well, remarking that “it was an amazing opportunity to see how the orphanage has evolved and being there with Joanna was great because I wasn’t doing this alone.”
Our TIS alumni have many remarkable stories that sometimes go unheard. We should take inspiration from Sarah & Joanna and strive to stay connected while giving back to others.