Melissa Frank: Her Courage Leads to Her Future

July 10, 2008
Danielle Parker

Driving out to the rural mountain communities and deserted beaches to help poor children does not phase Melissa Frank. While others her age go to the movies during the summer, she does community service and takes college courses to prepare for life as an adult.

Last summer, Melissa helped the poor in Costa Rica with a group called Adventures Cross-Country. She left her home in Rye, N.Y. and flew to San Jose before driving out to the wilderness. Without her parents, this Jewish girl helped build churches for the poverty-stricken families.

While traversing the wild, her group was robbed during the night by an unknown party. Fortunately, none of her own belongings were taken. Melissa said that this was a big shock, but she did not want to let it affect her or her plans to continue traveling.

While interacting with the Costa Rican children, Melissa came to a realization: she loves kids and finds great satisfaction in helping them. Now wanting to become a teacher, Melissa plans to take specific classes in college to allow her to teach English or World History. "I also want my Masters," she said.

A year later, once again without her family, she travels to California for the Academic Connections program to get a jump start on the road to her career. After being left by a friend's father at the airport, Melissa had to catch a shuttle to take her to the campus of UC San Diego. She said this was no problem compared to her Costa Rica experience.

Next summer, Melissa wants to take another class and do more service for the world to help her with her career plan. But, with an outgoing personality and many diverse experiences, Melissa has already set herself up for a very smooth future.

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