Gulliver Prep senior Jean Henry is involved in a new non-profit called Tender Light. It was started by her mother to help the people in her hometown in Peru.
“She wanted to help people,” Henry says. “We visit a lot over the summer.”
The family collects gently used items in Miami and ships them to Peru to an organization that distributes them.
“Things like old shoes and clothing,” Henry says. “Nothing that big. We collect year round. Wherever we go, we get people telling us ‘I have stuff for you.’”
As soon as they fill three big boxes they ship them out.
“We started the non-profit last year,” she says. “I went to Peru every summer, from the summer I was 12 to 2014. I spent a month in Peru with that organization. They did things like feed the homeless. You’d go and serve the food.”
Henry says a lot of the kids are illiterate. So they tutor the children and they also teach them about their country and its laws.
“We worked in teams, explained to them how their democracy works,” Henry says.
For example, there is a law in Peru that requires everyone to vote or pay a fine. They explain that law to the children so when they grow up, they understand what they need to do.
At school, Henry is a member of the Bio-Medical Club. Club members now go to the academy and tutor third and fourth graders in whatever subject they need. She participated in the tutoring for four or five months last school year and continued this year.
Henry is an athlete. She played volleyball for her four years at the Prep. Two of those years she was on the varsity team. This year’s team made it to the regionals before losing to Ransom Everglades. They only had one loss in the regular season and their second loss of the year was in the regionals.
Volleyball has been a big part of her life. She not only played for the school team, but she also played on a club team, South Dade Volleyball. For a couple of years, she also spent parts of her summer as a camp counselor for the Gulliver volleyball summer camp. The camp catered to middle school and high school students, although she says she worked mostly with middle school students aged 12-14.
Henry applied early decision to Vanderbilt and was accepted. She will be moving to Nashville in the fall. She’s looking into majoring in the sciences and pre-med and possibly become a doctor.
“I like to help people,” she says. “I enjoy going to Peru and help the kids. Helping people emotionally and physically seems like a really good idea. It’s the one profession that can really affect their lives. I like the idea of being able to study and help people feel better.”
Last summer, Henry went to Berkley to participate in a two-week health care program. During the two weeks, she says she learned about every kind of profession in the medical field. They also learned how to suture wounds.
“It was super fun,” she says. “We did surgery on baby pigs. We did dissections of a heart and an eye.”
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld