Dr. Laurie Elish-Piper,
I hope you and your family are doing well during this time of chaos, uncertainty, and heartache. My name is Kelsey Kunz, and I was one of the students who had the opportunity of going to Belize with the 2020 Spring BAE team. I was informed that you were a BIG supporter in making this trip possible, so I owe you a HUGE thank you! Your role in this trip was so important, and if you don’t know it or realize it, I just wanted to tell you your actions and part in this project gave me the experience of a lifetime.
I completed my undergrad at NIU in 2016 ready to take on the world, but still not sure what I wanted to do, 2.5 years later after working in marketing, I felt the calling to go back to school and become a teacher, a calling I always felt, but was always told not to do. When in Belize, I had the opportunity to lead a Summit Session to a group of motivated Belizeans ready to create social change as well as conduct a sports clinic for primary school students who were eager to learn sport. Utilizing my skills from clinical experiences and knowledge gained from my classes and professors at NIU, I was able to lead and aid in some amazing discussion, lessons, and conversation. The feeling I felt after each of the summit days and returning home for Belize reassured me that I am exactly where I was always meant to be, teaching. The personal growth I experienced will not only impact myself, but the future students I get the chance to work with.
I am an NIU Huskies, and I have never been more proud to say that, because we are making a difference in the country of Belize and in our own lives. I am proud of what this university has done for my personal growth, the country of Belize, and what I hope they will continue to do. You helped make this experience happen, and together we were able to advocate for social change in a country that is in need of assistance. A spark was lit when we were there and that spark will begin to ignite a wonderful fire in their culture for social change.
Thank you again for all your support, I appreciate it more then you will ever know.