On a trip with her family to Tijuana, Mexico, Sydney Hacking came across an orphanage in need. The Lilly of the Valley orphanage houses over 50 children, and until recently, they were all living in rough conditions. Hacking felt that she and her family could help. Over the next few years, they donated their time, talents, and resources to helping the orphanage flourish.
During this episode of “Here to Help,” producer Dani Hayes traveled to Tijuana to talk with Sydney and her volunteer group composed of friends and family members, as they finished constructing and painting the girls’ dormitory for the children.
Hacking says that when she first saw The Lilly of the Valley orphanage, thought she and her husband could make some simple vegetable boxes so the children could have a healthier diet. Then she noticed that the floors needed tile, and then the girls needed bedding. The director of the orphanage once told Hacking, “Even orphans should have a place that they can be proud of.”
With that in mind, Hacking and her family and friends got to work donating cleaning supplies, food, and labor to improve the conditions in the orphanage. She says that she does not consider her involvement with the orphanage a “service project”—she does not feel obligated to do this; she just feels like she is doing something she loves to help other people enjoy their lives more.
“To see kids’ excitement over a bedspread was so heartwarming. My joy is to see their expressions and how heartfelt they are,” she says.
If you are looking to get involved in a service project either in your own community or abroad, Hacking offers this advice: “Find something that [you] really, really enjoy doing—that’s the secret. It doesn’t become service if it’s something that you love to do. Know that with just one person you can make a difference just by baby steps…just take that one step.”
For more information on how to get involved in service visit justserve.org.