Though I anticipate a transformative experience as I journey to India and meet the family at One Life To Love, I feel that I’ve already been transformed in my work fundraising for One Life To Love this past year in preparation for the trip. As a graduate student studying mental health counseling at Monmouth University, I went into the program and this new life path looking for new challenges, eye-opening experiences, and opportunities to find and develop myself in ways I hadn’t before. I wasn’t even sure that I will would find such an opportunity at first, but when I met Dr. Joanne Jodry my second semester after she had just come back from her first visit to One Life To Love, I knew that I had found that opportunity and, despite my reservations at first, knew I had to do what I must to take on this challenge.
The challenges I had to overcome in preparation for this experience came in many forms and pushed me to different extents, but all of them helped me grow and changed me in ways I had not expected. For me, this was most prominent when it came to fundraising, as I had never had the courage or the push needed to fundraise for a cause I believed in the way I had to for this experience, and there were many times early on where I was convinced I couldn’t do it. However, keeping the children at One Life To Love in mind while also reminding myself that I’m far more capable of achieving greatness than I had given myself credit for kept my drive and spirit alive in this effort, and I ended up exceeding my fundraising goal by hosting a Garba dance event and by selling homemade vegan chocolate chip cookies. Before I started fundraising, I had never even made a cookie from scratch before, but by the end of this winter I had made thousands of cookies that people couldn’t get enough of, and it got the word out about One Life To Love to many people.
I owe a lot of the success I had in fundraising to the support of my family, friends, significant other, classmates, and a slew of kind people who felt as motivated to help the mission of One Life To Love as I did, and looking back, I still can’t believe that it was me who made all of this happen! Honestly, I feel that if anything kept me going, it was not only the cause at hand, but the inspiring nature of One Life To Love and the life-nurturing impact that Courtney has had on the world in pursuit of her mission. I felt that if Courtney, a New Jersey native just like myself, can make such a big difference with all her hard work and compassion for those in need, than the least I can do is bake some cookies and spread the word and the love in any way I can. Now as I’m on the cusp of embarking on the biggest and most impactful journey of my life, I feel that I can face the fears and hardships in my way with a level of courage I didn’t know I had before this opportunity, and I hope that this courage will help me bloom in a way I had only ever dreamed before.
Peter Quinton is a Professional Counseling Graduate Student of Monmouth University. Peter took part in the program’s Transformational Travel course to India in 2020. This course encourages students to fundraise for One Life to Love for an entire year. The course culminates with a trip to India focused on service in One Life to Love’s Home of Hope and Education programs.