A gulf exists in the American public school system between learning and action. For many of us, our elementary and high school experiences consisted of the passive consumption of topics that seemed disconnected and were quickly forgotten. For students at MUSE School, the lessons in the classroom are simply the starting point for journeys that culminate in meaningful actions. And one particular class at MUSE really takes students outside the school’s Calabasas setting, about 2800 miles, to Guatemala.

The Human Rights Class at MUSE critically examines a range of topics pertaining to global human rights. Students learn about the challenges faced by marginalized individuals worldwide, and create action plans to engender change on both micro and macro levels. “We try to help out in Los Angeles with little projects like our recent No One Is Invisible projects, where we interviewed a bunch of people in Venice and donated stuff to a few homeless people,” says Keanu, an 11th grader. But helping their local community is just the beginning.

Mending Kids - MUSE School

Through ongoing efforts to connect the topics covered in the Human Rights Class with humanitarian causes, MUSE School learned about an organization called Mending Kids, which sends teams of volunteer medical professionals worldwide to provide free surgical care for children in need. This past January, nine MUSE students accompanied by chaperones made the trip to Guatemala to volunteer their time for Mending Kids. Throughout their trip, the students received a first-hand look into the significant challenges that Guatemalans face in obtaining reliable healthcare. They also visited hospitals and lent pre- and post-surgical support to the child patients receiving treatment.

The experiences were life changing for all involved, and fostered a strong sense of unity among the MUSE students. “The trip was really a display of true determination. Everyone was pushed in some way out of their comfort zone, and contributed something unique to the team. It was a prime example of how people can come together for a greater good,” said 11th grader Rio.

MUSE School

Outside the hospital, the students had opportunities to enjoy regional cuisine, see historical sites, and soak in the culture with the locals — all of which left a lasting mark according to MUSE senior Selly. “For me these opportunities have always been reminders of the things I am able to do, what I love doing, and especially the beauty of human nature — because going back to my daily life at school or at home I forget about the abilities I have, and the beautiful things I experience on missions like these. Two strangers with two completely different backgrounds, who speak two different languages, connecting through art, music and body language is so satisfying to me.”

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