Westport sisters to volunteer overseas

WESTPORT - Alyssa and Kelsey Carroll will soon be taking a two-month trip to Jamaica; but not for vacation.

Instead, these sisters will be volunteering as part of a community support program through Projects Abroad, an organization that organizes volunteer projects overseas for college students.

Alyssa, a TV, Radio, and Film major at Plattsburgh State University, said she found out about the program while searching for overseas volunteer opportunities to take part in while planning to take a semester off from college.

"I wanted to go somewhere where they spoke English," explained Alyssa.

Alyssa shared her plan with Kelsey, who is currently a senior at Westport Central School. Kelsey jumped at the chance to come along.

Situated in the middle of Jamaica and away from the resorts in Negril and Montego Bay, Alyssa and Kelsey will be working with children in orphanages and children's homes, helping kids to learn life-skills that parents would normally teach.

"We're going to be working in a preschool with children ages three to six," said Alyssa. "A lot of the kids that go there are orphans, so they don't really have a parent in their lives."

In addition to their work in an orphanage, they will also get the chance to contribute to other projects, such as helping refurbish local schools and orphanages, and generally lending a hand where it's needed.

"Our Care and Community programs are not only some of the most challenging placements but are also some of our most rewarding," said Tom Pastorius, vice president of Projects Abroad. "Volunteers really get to make an impact on these kids' lives. Overall, it is just a great opportunity for volunteers to give back to local communities, take part in meaningful work and experience a different culture."

The two sisters are certainly no stranger to volunteer work or working with children. Both have spent time babysitting and working with younger children through the Westport Youth Commission and the Boquet River Theatre Festival.

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