RHS Graduate Making a Difference in Guatemala

Michael Ivanoskos, Veritas Staff

Julia Rayberg organizes volunteers in Guatemala. photo courtesy Julia Rayberg

Julia Rayberg organizes volunteers in Guatemala. photo courtesy Julia Rayberg

The Veritas recently caught up with Rockland High School alumna Julia Rayberg from the Class of 2011. She has a bright future ahead of herself as she  expands the non-profit organization that she created, Worthy Village, and works to make its impact more global.

Rayberg was recently here at RHS to collect hygiene products for women and children in Guatemala supplied by our student body through a fundraiser started by Spanish teacher, Melissa Shaughnessy.

Through that visit we were able to conduct an interview with her.

First, we wanted to see just how in touch with her Bulldog roots Rayberg still is.

Rayberg said, “To me, being a Rockland Bulldog means you know what true family is.”

She explained, “We’ve been through a lot of good times and bad, but we always hold that level of pride and commitment to each other.” To her, when you’re a member of Bulldog Nation you are never a lone pup, but always a member of the dog pack.

Secondly, we wanted to observe how the education she received at RHS helped her with what she is doing currently.  Rayberg acknowledged, “My education at RHS prepared me very well for college and on.”  Rayberg cited how a close knit community within RHS and great teachers kept her on the right path and made her time at RHS enjoyable. Rayberg said, “That support system changed everything for me.”

She added, “I always felt like the teachers and staff were rooting for me, and when I took a step in the not-so-good direction, they were always there to pull me back and send me in the right direction. I’m forever grateful to them.”

Next, we asked her about what she misses most about RHS. Rayberg said, “I miss my friends, the staff and the simpler life.” Rayberg added, “I had the time of my life at Rockland High School and wouldn’t change a thing.”

Despite greatly missing her time at RHS she is very satisfied with where she finds herself now. Rayberg recently graduated from UMass Dartmouth in December, 2015 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business. However, in 2014 she founded a 501c3 non profit organization called Worthy Village.

Julia with children in village where her team of volunteers teach about hygiene. photo courtesy of Julia Rayberg.

Julia with children in village where her team of volunteers teach about hygiene. photo courtesy of Julia Rayberg.

Rayberg explained, “Worthy Village has a mission to build pathways out of poverty for women and children in Guatemala by providing economic opportunity, health care, as well as education.”

Rayberg said she spends, on average, about five months out of the year in Guatemala on Lake Atitlan working towards reaching her long term mission.

She explained the type of rewarding feelings doing a service such as this for women and children in Guatemala brings to her.

“I absolutely love what I do and feel grateful everyday to have the opportunity to do this fulfilling work.”

You can keep up to date with what her organization is doing by checking the organization’s website at http://www.worthyvillage.org.

When it comes to long term goals and aspirations Rayberg’s fall under two categories: goals for herself and goals for her non-profit organization.

“Some of my long term goals and aspirations in life are to stay happy and balanced as an individual while doing what I love.”

Rayberg has worked incredibly long and hard to build her organization and she seems to have a map of long term plans for 5 or 10 years down the road for Worthy Village.

“We’re expanding the organization into Cuba in 2017, and we hope to expand into more impoverished countries after that,”  she explained.

Volunteers delivering water filtration systems to villagers. photo Julia Rayberg

Volunteers delivering water filtration systems to villagers. photo Julia Rayberg

She added, “I want to be a small part of making a big difference in the lives of those who need it most around the world.”

Rayberg’s humanitarian goals are  commendable, and when she came to RHS to speak, she shared her mission with Mrs. Shaughnessy’s students. In her talk it was evident that she is a visionary who is unselfish and always thinking about ways to be active and to do something to better the world.

Penultimately, Rayberg’s advice for the Class of 2016 is to take every moment and treasure it. She says that the high school experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“Continue to be a kid while you can, but be excited about what’s coming next in your life.”

She also said that a work ethic is truly important to what you will achieve in your future. In other words we should always be the best we can be and not settle for mediocrity.

Rayberg also believes that how you manage your time in college is critical to any future success you will experience.

“If you choose to go off to college, make sure you get involved with something on campus because nothing good comes of having too much time on your hands.”

In summary, Rayberg wants the Class of 2016 to be happy and excited as they chase their dreams. We at the Veritas wish her all the best as she continues to make a change in the world with her non-profit organization, Worthy Village.

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