Annelise Jarrett’s senior project is as much about making a positive change in a struggling community as it is about exploring a career specializing in humanitarian aid and inspiring others to do the same.
The 18-year-old Colusa High School student plans to travel to the Dominican Republic April 15-22 with a group of other teens to help build homes, community centers and medical facilities with reusable plastic bottles.
“I’m very excited,” Jarrett said. “I went to Costa Rica as a volunteer on a similar trip, and it totally changed my life. I’ve got the bug.”
Jarrett is a volunteer with Global Leadership Adventures, which was founded by a former Peace Corps volunteer who understands that teenagers not only want to make a difference in the world, but they form an incredible workforce that is able to help poverty-stricken communities in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.
The program allows teens like Jarrett to develop real-world leadership skills, make a lasting impact through meaningful volunteer work, embrace a new culture, experience an exciting adventure and inspire others to share their passions for travel and volunteer work.
“I know that I alone am never going to end poverty by volunteering,” Jarrett said. “But if I motivate one other teenager to do it, then I think I will be successful.”
Jarrett is the daughter of David and Deanna Jarrett, of Colusa.
She’s lived in Colusa all her life, and attended Burchfield Primary School and Egling Middle School.
She will graduate from Colusa High School on June 2, and plans to attend California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo, where she will major in Agriculture Business.
Jarrett is no stranger to hard work. She’s raised lambs in FFA all four years of high school, is a member of the Environmental Sciences Academy, played softball and volleyball, and has held down jobs at Granzella’s, Rocco’s and Colusa Made.
In Costa Rica, Jarrett and other volunteers expanded a recycling center and made improvements to a children’s park, which included an outdoor kitchen where families can have a safe place to cook and eat, and built a kiosk where locals could sell produce and handmade products, like jewelry.
Prior to going, Jarrett said she had never traveled on an airplane alone, much less went through customs, but adult mentors for Global Leadership Adventures were there to meet her at the airport, and supervised the entire trip.
“They were amazing,” she said. “I was never once uneasy.”
One of four children, Jarrett said she’s the only one in the family that wants to make humanitarian aid in underdeveloped countries her life’s work.
She hopes to create or belong to a non-profit that helps struggling countries improve their agriculture operations.
“I think I’m the earthy one in the bunch,” Jarrett said, “but my family has been very supportive. In fact, my brother was the first to donate for my trip.”
Jarrett is in the process of raising $2,000, which will help with the cost of airfare and expenses.
Those who want to help Jarrett with her fundraising goal can donate on her Fundly.Com page (Not to be confused with Go Fund Me).