April 30th, 17 REACH ambassadors from Colorado Rush and Rush Pikes Peak gathered at the Colorado State Capitol building to be honored for all of their efforts on a recent November trip to South Africa. The ambassadors experience is detailed below.
'"On April 30th, the R.E.A.C.H. ambassadors and I had the opportunity to visit the state capitol. At first I thought all of the House members would be completely serious and strict, yet it was not a very serious environment until they had a debate. We were able to listen in on a debate over Renewable Energy for about thirty minutes after we were honored by Representative Timothy Dore for our mission to South Africa. Ryan Blarr, Jenna Hartley, and Ross Fowler were able to speak to CBS news concerning our trip while we listened to the debate. After listening in to the debate we were taken down to the House Committee Room 0109 to discuss our trip with Representative Dore. When we arrived in the room, an aide told us that Representative Dore would be unable to come and speak to us because he was required to be in the House to vote. In the room we received thanks from the aide for our services and while we waited for other representatives, Dennis John gave us an update on how the kids were doing down in Bottlebrush (the informal settlement we volunteered at in South Africa). Every once in a while he was interrupted by a different representative who praised us for what we had done in South Africa. Also, with the visits from the Representatives, we were able to hear stories about their contribution to the Capitol/Government. The legislative aide was inspired to be part of the government when his Uncle died in 9/11. Also, the aide was going to lose his job in less than a week once the debates were over, this was the case for the majority of the aides. From there the aide was to become a sandwich maker at Whole Foods. We also heard that the people that worked in the capitol usually had two jobs, for example, a man also had a job as a doctor. Overall, the trip to the capitol was a great experience because we realized how much other people appreciate what we have done to help our country's reputation and we were able to experience something that many people will never have the chance to do. Almost every person that worked at the capitol that talked to us on Tuesday told us how proud they were of us and offered their help." - REACH Ambassador Jaime Brunworth
"This Tuesday, April 30th our South Africa REACH travel group was reunited. Any reunion of our travel group is always a fun and meaningful time because of all the memories we share from our trip; however, this reunion was especially significant because our meeting place was the Colorado state capitol! We were honored by Representative Timothy Dore in front of the House of representatives, and towards the end of our visit we were also honored and praised by several Senators, Representatives, and Legislative Aides. The recognition from influential government figures showed us that our humanitarian work with REACH is truly important, not only in the lives of the African children we serve, but also because of how we represent our home state and nation. One of the representatives mentioned how proud he was that our group was able to travel abroad and help disprove negative stereotypes about Americans by representing the humanity and kindness that our nation's people are truly capable of. Just as the House of Representatives represent and speak for the best interests of their district while they are in the House, when we travel as REACH ambassadors we take pride in exemplifying and representing the best of our country and program. Being honored at the Capitol was an enjoyable experience for our travel group as well as an important reminder for us to continue to embody the REACH values of humility, empathy, and respect especially as we become role models for the many young REACH ambassadors that have recently joined the program!"
- REACH Ambassador Kaitlyn Brunworth