Toledo, Ohio, is well known for producing Jeeps, manufacturing glass, and for sparking a mostly bloodless war between Michigan and Ohio. What you may not know is that International Samaritan was started by a group of students and faculty from Toledo’s St. John’s Jesuit High School, which is where I went to high school. 

In 2011, I was entering my senior year of high school when St. John’s organized a weeklong service immersion trip to Guatemala with International Samaritan. Along with over a dozen classmates, I spent a few days seeing the garbage dump community in Guatemala and volunteering at the Francisco Coll School, doing maintenance work and spending time with the students.

Particularly for us high school students growing up in the United States, it was shocking to see the conditions that these studentssimilar to uswere growing up in, and how they continued to come to school every day with joy, ready to study. While seeing the conditions saddened us, it also made us want to help as well as have more gratitude for what we had back home.

2011: Here I am (middle) with a classmate (left) and two young students from the Francisco Coll School.

In 2022, I had the opportunity to travel back to Guatemala for a five-day trip. We saw a lot of the same places that I had seen over a decade prior. Compared to what I remember from 2011, International Samaritan had really improved the schools and expanded their scholarship program. One improvement was purchasing a building near the garbage dump which International Samaritan converted to a Family Life Center to provide a safe space with good resources for students to come to before and after school to complete their schoolwork as well as relax. Additionally, I could tell the garbage dump community in Guatemala had improved, though there is still a lot more work to be done.

What probably most impressed me during this trip was seeing the care and enthusiasm of the program leaders, teachers, and other staff members. A lot of these caretakers live in the community, and they seem to really want to help these children succeed. We arrived at the end of the school year, and some of the teachers told us that they are sad for the upcoming break because they enjoy being with the students each day. To me, having educators who really care about the students gives the children a better chance of breaking the cycle of poverty.

2022: Teachers, staff members, and group members at the Francisco Coll School.

Helping children and communities break out of poverty is what International Samaritan is all about. This fall, race teams competed in the IntSam Global 5K to raise money to fund holistic scholarships, which empower children to attend school, learn marketable skills, and change their future.

My family, coworkers, community members, and I showed our love from Toledo at our local 5K event, raising over $5,000 to support scholarships. After all these years, this is one way I have remained involved with the mission of International Samaritan and the scholars they serve.

Runners and walkers competed in the IntSam Global 5K in Toledo on Saturday, November 4.

Friends from Toledo are still coming through. A long-time supporter of International Samaritan recently made a big-time commitment; he will match every gift made to International Samaritan between now and December 31 dollar for dollar (up to $150,000 total). That’s Toledo love!

That means if you give between now and the end of the year, your contribution will have double the impact, allowing even more opportunities for children who are determined to break the cycle of poverty.

Meeting Samaritan Scholars and seeing International Samaritan’s work firsthand has changed my life. I hope many more of you have the same opportunity.

To help share our mission, Bobby also wrote a blog about our organization for SJS Investment Services that you can read on their website.

Your school, church, or community group can support International Samaritan scholars this Advent season by setting up a Samaritan Tree. Learn more: intsam.org/samaritan-tree.

Bobby Adusumilli, Volunteer

Bobby graduated Valedictorian from St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Chicago. Today, Bobby, CFA, is an Investment / Compliance Associate with SJS Investment Services. He is also a member of the SJS Investment Committee, performing research to help guide discussions at the Investment Committee’s meetings. 

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