A Heart For Others

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MHS senior helps children in Paraguay

Aline__021016AMineola High School senior Aline Muller recently spent a life-changing week in Paraguay, working with children who live in extreme poverty as part of her senior project.

Muller has traveled to Paraguay for the past two years to visit relatives. While there, she witnessed first-hand the extreme poverty that so many around the world live in. She came back determined to raise awareness on the realities of poverty. A family friend works at a daycare in the capital city of Encarnación, and Muller decided to help there for a week as part of her senior project.

“These kids are less than 12 years old and they need just about anything,” Muller said. “They can’t take baths or showers. They don’t have shoes, they get limited food, they don’t have toothbrushes. I was able to go over there and work with about 50 kids who were picked up from the streets, and able to donate all these resources we take for granted. It wasn’t very much, but it was a little and a little is better than nothing.”

With money raised from a Penny War she hosted at the high school, Muller was able to donate food, clothes and games to more than 45 children. She also had the opportunity to teach them English and work on school activities with them.

Despite the language barrier, Muller noted one of the challenges were interacting with the kids, many of whom had no manners and had a hard time communicating because they came from difficult home situations.

“These kids don’t know any manners because they don’t get taught them. They don’t know how to react,” Muller said, noting that many children didn’t know how to accept the love and gifts. “Being around all these children who are so innocent and small, they don’t know how much the world can offer because of living in extreme poverty.”

The trip has inspired Muller to pursue a degree in international studies and work with governments around the world to fight poverty.

“I’m fortunate to be able to be living in a country that’s powerful both in resources and education, so I want to give that to other kids as well,” Muller said. “I want to be able to go back to Paraguay and be involved with their government and see what I can offer them.”

Mineola High School principal Whittney Smith said Muller’s trip came as no surprise.

“Aline’s a rock star. She’s the life of our school, she always has a smile on her face,” Smith said. “It’s natural for her to donate her time to kids in Paraguay, she already does that here.”

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