July 2012 Bottle School Trip

“It was a wonderful experience to go out into the country and be able to help build something so meaningful, something that will help these children get a better life. This children [with their] faces, their smiles, their hugs, their kisses, their gratitude, made the time away from my family worth it. It [was] an amazing experience… I was a little hesitant about coming by myself to a country I had never been to. But I just felt that this was my time to step out of my comfort zone and take a chance… To be able to see such a beautiful country and be able to interact on such a personal level with strangers was amazing… To know that I helped build something that will last for generations is awesome.”“Having had family members participate in a previous trip and seeing how it has affected their lives, I couldnt not know the experience that so moved them… I’ve [now] learned that my emotional vulnerability is not so near the surface, that HIF is helping the children and smaller communities of Guatemala, that this experience was far more enjoyable and personally rewarding than I anticipated.”“Its like an all inclusive vacation but way better… I did not know that I would enjoy doing volunteer hard labor… Seeing the kids for the first time as we came off the bus brought tears to my eyes.”

“I enjoyed very much getting to know and create new friendships with one group but mostly with the Hug it Foward staff. God bless you all for the work you do!”


“I started this journey by fundraising with our community and thought it would be great just to send some money to Hug It Forward to help build a bottle school. As we continued to work towards our goal, I knew I needed to go to Guatemala and be a part of this process. That was a decision I will never regret. It was so wonderful to meet the people of these villages and to be able to know just what an impact this organization has on their lives.

I will always remember their warm hospitality and the gratitude that they feel towards everyone involved. The best part was being able to share this experience with my son, Ethan. It’s an adventure that we will always be able to share and we know that we will both be back, hopefully many times, bringing many more people with us. I highly recommend this experience to everyone, it will change your life in ways you cannot imagine. ”

“I learned that being afraid to do something just holds you back. Just go out and do it and trust that it will all work out…I would tell [my family and friends] to just do it…put your fears aside, Hug it Forward has everything planned out and makes it so easy. I would also tell them to be prepared to work when they come. I think the highlight for me was working at the site of “Los Cerritos.” I loved the physical work of putting in the bottles on the walls and seeing the school take shape and the people of that village get excited about their new school. I truly didnt know what to expect in many ways and connecting with the people of those villages was incredibly satisfying.”
“I learned that I cannot always listen to stereotypes and that getting out there and experiencing things is very rewarding. [I would tell friends and family] that it is something [they] absolutely need to do. You will learn a lot about Guatemala and a lot about yourself.”“[I learned] that I can handle bugs and mud for a good purpose… The experience is worth so much more than the cost…[interested people] dont need to worry about the actual trip; everything is very organized and we [were] well taken care of.”

“To see such gratitude in the eyes of the children, families and teachers is a true blessing. To think that our little efforts could have an indefinite effect on the outcome of so many lives is incredible. With that gratitude and education, perhaps one day they will be able to help others. [I learned] just how much we take for granted, and how redundant my excuses are. With so little, the people seem happy; and it shows in the abundance of gratitude/celebration for the bottle schools they now have. I learned that I have so much more to give.