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Gate City native serves abroad in Honduras

Holly Viers • Mar 24, 2019 at 8:00 AM

GATE CITY — As a freshman in college, Caleb Gore had never been on an airplane, let alone traveled out of the country.

But as he approaches his senior year, Gore now has two international trips under his belt, both to the Central American country of Honduras. While there, he and other college students helped build two schools for Honduran children, giving them a chance to receive a quality education.

“These people who face uncertain futures are no different than myself or anyone I know,” Gore said. “I enjoy spending time with them, and my entire time in Honduras I have never felt unsafe once while out in the cities and towns. … By simply connecting as human beings, it’s entirely possible to create a better life for everyone regardless of race, nationality or economic standing.”

What’s your background?

Gore was born and raised in Gate City and graduated from Gate City High School in 2016. He’s currently a junior at Virginia Tech, where he’s studying international public policy and Russian.

What inspired you to go to Honduras?

Gore first learned about the opportunity to serve in that country after seeing fliers for Virginia Tech’s chapter of Students Helping Honduras. He attended one of the interest meetings and was intrigued by the group’s mission to “alleviate extreme poverty and violence in Honduras through education and youth empowerment.”

“With international studies, a lot of people study abroad for that, and those are really expensive trips,” Gore said. “I wanted to be able to go out of the country, and when I heard about this, this seemed like the most achievable way, money-wise. Once I actually went, I really enjoyed it a lot. It meant a lot to me.”

What do you do while there?

On each trip, Gore and a group of fellow college students spent a week helping residents and professional builders construct schools. They also spent time connecting with the communities, interacting with the children and cooking meals with some of the families.

During his most recent trip this past winter, Gore saw the completed school that his group had started the year before. His group also started on a new school building in Planes de Arena Blanca and attended inaugurations for recently completed schools.

Since they’re only in the country for a week at a time, Gore said the groups don’t complete the schools while there. Instead, the groups start on the construction and then provide monetary support once they’re back in the U.S.

“We fundraise back at our (universities), and all that money goes toward the completion of the school that we start on while we’re down there,” Gore said. “So the school that we started on this winter is what we’re fundraising for all the way until next winter.”

How have these experiences impacted you?

While the trips did provide experience that relates to his chosen career field, Gore said what resonated most with him was how grateful the communities were to receive aid.

“The community we were working with used Google Translate to write us a thank you letter at the end of the week,” Gore said. “Seeing how grateful they are and how much they want to help their communities is really cool.”

What’s next?

After earning his undergraduate degree, Gore hopes to go to graduate school and pursue a career in public health and environmental policy. In the meantime, he’ll be returning to Honduras for a third time during his winter break this school year.

Gore is currently fundraising for that trip, which will cost $650 excluding the plane ticket. He and other Virginia Tech students fundraise as a group through bake sales and fundraising nights at restaurants near campus, but they also fundraise individually.

Those who would like to make a contribution toward Gore’s upcoming trip can visit my.shhkids.org/fundraiser/1827850.

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