Ross School - Senior Project 2006-07

Student: Jessica Tovar

Mentor: Hailey London

Consultant: John Bayles

Domain: Wellness


Title: Un Deseo


For the first component of my Senior Project I wrote a series of journalistic articles on the health issues of Colombia. For the second component I collected money by fundraising to grant a wish to a girl from Colombia, who was diagnosed with Lymphoma two years ago.




Senior Project Article 1

Senior Project Article 2

Senior Project Article 3


For my senior project I decided to write a series of journalistic pieces on my experience of granting a wish to an adolescent in Colombia. Through the connections of my mother I met a young lady named, Juliee Arango who was diagnosed with Lymphoma two years ago. She does not come from a very wealthy family and therefore they are having difficulties paying for all the treatments she requires to recuperate from her illness. Accomplishing a dream was out of the question, but I wanted to do it for her. Her dream was to travel by plane for the first time and embrace the beauties of the ocean. This concluded in taking her on a trip to a small island off the coast of Colombia called, Saint Andres.

What inspired me the most to pursuit this project was my church here in East Hampton, Most Holy Trinity. Last year, one night after mass they had made an announcement that they would be going on a mission to Africa to help build homes for the less fortunate. I wanted to do something similar,yet I knew that going to Africa would be a lot more difficult than it would be for me to travel to Colombia since my parents were born in Colombia.

In 2006 I went on a trip to South Africa during M-term where we worked with the Pebbles Project. This is an organization built to help children suffering with Fetal alcohol syndrome. These children do not have the luxuries that most children in the US. have. After spending an entire day with them I was fluttered with emotions that I had never felt before. I wanted to be able to relive the same rewarding experience once more through my senior project.

A few years ago a close friend of mine passed away from a cancerous tumor. Her death affected me dearly so in her honor I felt the need to work with Juliee.

My goals for this project were to organize a trip and raise enough money to cover all costs. I really wanted to push myself to the fullest. I tend to be very shy around people I do not know well, and In order to raise enough money I would need to work on my social skills. I was born in the US but my parents immigrated from Colombia. Since IÕve been growing up my parents have always spoken to me about how much more culture I have not seen in Colombia., this was a chance for me to really explore my heritage.

The first trimester I must say was the most difficult, aside from presenting. As soon as my project was accepted, I began my first fundraiser, a Yard Sale with a combination Bake Sale. The week before the Yard Sale I spent basically all of my senior project time making signs, posters, and telling just about everyone about my Yard Sale. The night before consisted of ME slaving in the kitchen. Fortunately I was not the only one in the kitchen, as one of my cousins used to work in a bakery and knows how to bake the most delicious dessert you can possibly have, while my cousin baked my mother and I made Empandas (a traditional Colombian Beef Pattie). The Yard Sale was a great success I raised a little over 600 Dollars. A few things were not sold, yet the food vanished.

After the Yard Sale, I began to spread the word about my project to people in East Hampton and Montauk. I received many donations from business owners and the community in Montauk. My father actually works in Montauk and since it is a very small town many of the people I spoke to already knew who I was.  I did not speak to as many people in East Hampton as I did in Montauk but the donations I did receive were extremely meaningful and appreciated.

Lastly I announced my project to my community at Most Holy Trinity. Their feedback was incredible. I was able to raise 385 dollars.

And with the help of my friends, some of my personal savings and my very large family the total amount I had raised was a little over $2000. After the fundraising was complete I took Juliee to Saint Andres over November break.

Time management is key in a project like this. After I had granted Juliee her wish it took a lot of weight off my chest, but I was not done just yet. During the process of fundraising my mentor and I had decided that my final product would be written on Health issues in Colombia. Yet this idea changed just about everyday. I really needed to learn how to organize myself since I had so many other things going on at the same time, especially college applications. Therefore I set a schedule for myself with dates and times of my goals.

Another huge challenge was that, originally, JulieeÕs wish was to come to New York, yet in order for someone to enter the US. they must have Tourist Visa. To get this Visa, you must go through an very long and dreadful process. Not only is this process time consuming but literally almost impossible. I had no choice but to go to Colombia and present myself at the United States Embassy to increase her chances of receiving her Visa. I represented myself as a Ross School student engaged in a project where I would be helping a dream come true. So we waited in a line with hundreds of other people for seven hours to then be declined a Visa.  This not only was a challenge but a heartbreaking experiences for the both of us. Deciding what I would do next was a even bigger challenge. Fortunately, the trip to Saint Andres ended accomplishing her dream. Not only did she travel on a plane for the first time, but was able to swim in one of the most beautiful seas in the world.

Once I completed this project, I learned how to really push myself to get something accomplished.  I knew how much this project was dependent on my organization and social skills.

After going through several revisions of my journal pieces I would like to think that my writing skills have improved. Although I have always traveled to Colombia when I was younger, this was the first year where I really noticed the difficulties people encounter daily.

Working with Juliee, really changed my perspective on life. Seeing how she lives without monetary luxuries but still remains so rich in life. I would like to see this project as a baby step to further ideas. Even though I do not plan on becoming a missionary, I would like to become more involved with my local community as well as worldwide.

Works Cited

Arrango, Juliee M. Telephone Interview. Complete Duration of Senior Project

Arrango, Juliee M.  Personal Interview. Complete Duration of Senior Project

Arrango Silva, Martha I. Telephone Interview. Complete Duration of Senior Projecg

Arrango Silva, Martha I. Personal Interview. Complete Duration of Senior Project

Bravo, Ana. Telephone Interview. 27 Dec. 2005.

Bravo, Ana. Personal Interview. 3 Jan. 2006.

David, Luz M. Telephone Interview. 12 Jan. 2007.

David, Luz M. Personal Interview. 18 Nov. 2006.

Garcia, Victoria M. Personal Interview. 17 Nov. 2006.

Sotello, Gloria. Telephone Interview. 1 Oct. 2006.

Sotello Gloria. Personal Interview.  2 Oct. 2006.

Community Member (Details)

John Bayles is a journalist whom works for The Sag Harbor Express. He also has a job at a book store. John Bayles helped me with revisions and editing on my final product.