One of the highlights of volunteering with Rising Star Outreach is the relationships you form with the students. 80% of Peery Matriculation School students come from leprosy colonies that are located a great distance from Rising Star Outreach’s campus, therefore the boarding of most student becomes necessary. These students spend an average of 320 days a year on campus and consequently away from their family and homes. This creates a unique opportunity for volunteers to fill in not only as friends but also positive influences for good. David McLaughlin has been to Rising Star Outreach twice, once as a short term volunteer and once as Medical Coordinator. The boys on campus LOVE David and he is the perfect example of how important the role of a volunteer is in the students’ lives.

The following was taken from David’s journal from his most recent visit to Rising Star Outreach in 2014:       

Over the last few months I’ve gotten to be really close with all the older boys. I feel like I’ve taken on the role of “older brother” for these kids. A lot of them don’t have very many good male role models, so I have kind of felt the need to be that for them. One of the boys that I’ve gotten extremely close with is my sponsor child, Vimal Kanth. He is in 9th Standard, which is the equivalent to 9th grade. One night I was about to talk to him and got his story.

David and Vimal

Vimal told me that he’s never met his dad. When his mom found out that she was pregnant with him, his dad split and never came back. It was so devastating to his mom that Vimal is not even allowed to ask about him. [When not at Rising Star] Vimal lives at his mom’s house with his aunts and uncles, who I guess act like his “father figures,” but that he doesn’t really get along with.

With Friends

He keeps asking me to come back, because next year will be his last year and it could be the last time that I ever see him. I hate it when he plays that one on me because it is so true. If I come back next year, it could very well be the last time I ever see him. And I hate that thought. He has now started telling me that I have to stay in India forever. I’m only allowed to go home for my sister’s wedding, and then I have to come back to India till he dies. The best one was one night at reading time. He told me that if he found any lice in my hair that I had to stay with him forever. So he proceeded to check my hair, and he “found” one, but before he could prove it to me he “dropped it.” I guess I have to stay in India forever. I seriously love this kid so much!

Vimal is Cool

David can be found on Instagram @Davidm2010

More about our Volunteer Program Manager

Ashley spent a year in India with Rising Star Outreach and is excited to continue to work with Rising Star back home in the states. Ashley is passionate about international health and development.
Questions about the Volunteer Program?
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