Traveling is something I love to do, and it is a great opportunity to help others in need. My family has traveled to Uganda, Africa, to a small town called Mityana twice in the past three years. My parents are both generous missionaries who love to put others before themselves, working hard to provide for the health and needs of children and adults.

I am doing the best I can to follow in their footsteps, and spread kindness and hospitality everywhere I have the opportunity to travel to.

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Uganda is a very poor country, with many suffering from illness and being homeless. I’ve seen it all myself. Every opportunity I have, I am going to help others in need. The school we work with, called Kings Kids School, has about 300 orphans waiting for people to reach out to them. When I went to the school, I had already made about 300 rainbow loom bracelets to hand out. My parents have always told me to give from the kindness of my heart, and to not expect anything in return, but when I saw their appreciation, that was more than a gift, it was a privilege.

Many people are hesitant to visit a place like Uganda, and that is OK, but nothing, nor no one, will keep me from the place I love most, my home away from home, the place where the sun never stops shining.

Valerie Hanley’s seventh-grade class, Our Lady of The Hamptons Roman Catholic School, Southampton