Sophomore travels world to pursue community service passion

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Eleanor Bogart-Stuart culture editor

Many kids at Beverly have exciting summers planned, whether it be at a new internship, camp, or even spending a relaxing two months at home. Most of these plans usually consist of a trip to see relatives or even visit a beach somewhere. Not all people, however, are flying with a group of strangers to a foreign country to participate in community service.

Sophomore Katie Hertz is only a few weeks away from boarding a plane to Morocco in coordination with the program Rustic Pathways, a company devoted to letting young adults experience the world through travel and community service. They offer specialized trips to often underprivileged countries such as Thailand, Laos and in Hertz’s case, Morocco.

“Rustic Pathways seemed like a great program for me to to further explore my interests with a similarly like minded group of people,” Hertz said. “There’s an excitement in knowing I’m going to be surrounded in such a different culture that I’m not used to, as opposed to the culture here in Los Angeles. For example, women have just recently been allowed to attend sports games in Morocco. It’s a developing region.”

Hertz will not only be visiting places like Marrakech, the Sahara and the Atlas Mountains, but will be spending her free time participating in community service projects for the locals.

“This is my first time doing a philanthropy project so far away. Community service is everything to me. It’s definitely my greatest passion. I want to pursue a career in it. I usually stick to local programs and organizations, so it will be interesting to broaden my community service experience.”

Hertz keeps herself busy with other community service projects closer to home. She frequently volunteers for organizations like Heal the Bay, a beach cleanup and protection service, and West L.A. Outreach, a program for helping the homeless. But Hertz doesn’t just do community service as a pastime. It’s part of her personal belief system, and part of her daily life.

“I would definitely say my meditation, my yoga, my veganism and my passion for community service all factor in greatly to my philosophy that you have to contribute back and you have to respect the ecosystem you live in,” Hertz said.

Hertz also plans to use her photography as a medium for spreading awareness for the time she spends in Morocco.

“Photography has been a huge interest of mine my whole life. I’ve always loved photography and photojournalism. I have a blog where I write about photography and my community service projects,” she said. “When I’m in Morocco in I’ll be bringing a camera. While I want to experience the environment without digital barriers, I want to share with the world a visual take on what issues Morocco is facing. This word is often laughed at, but I often consider myself as a big hippie. And I’m okay with that.”

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