Paving the path to a better future
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How Academy Mortgage is Inspiring Hope in a remote village in Ecuador.
Bringing a vision to life
When Academy Mortgage is considering destinations for our Academy Corps international service expeditions, we ask ourselves two questions: does the community have a vision for its future, and can that vision actually benefit from our commitment to Inspiring Hope?
Verde Sumaco in Ecuador is a perfect example of how vision and hope can come together to make a lasting impact.
An intentional approach to service
Verde Sumaco is a small village of 350 people deep in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon, and the community’s leaders had big plans. All they needed was some financial support — and people willing to work side by side with them — to help make those plans happen. And over the past year, more than 300 Academy team members from across the country have paid their own way to travel to Verde Sumaco to do just that.
This approach to service is intentional, and it mirrors how Academy Mortgage works here at home. We don’t tell our team members what their career path has to look like. Instead, we give them the tools and support they need to achieve their vision.
All paths lead to school
Many families in Verde Sumaco live outside of the village, on farms scattered around outlying areas. When the local school is in session, children and their parents travel on foot down the muddy, mosquito-infested paths that lead to town.
But community leaders had a vision for a safer way to get to school. And to bring that vision to life, they needed help using river rocks to pave the paths to and from town. This would not only make travel easier, it would also save them all the time it took to constantly cut and prune to keep the jungle from swallowing the paths back up.
As soon as each of our Academy Corps groups arrived in Verde Sumaco, the community put them to work, lifting rocks from the river, transporting them to the paths, and mixing the rocks with concrete to build durable, safe walkways.
And something else was built, too — the human connections that Inspire Hope.
Hope that endures
Here’s the amazing thing about hope — once that spark is lit, it never goes out. Since our first trip to Verde Sumaco, the community has paved more than 300 feet of jungle trails. But that’s just the start of what hope can accomplish. There are new projects in the works — digging latrines, other clean water initiatives, as well as a new tourism project that will help bring much-needed surveyors to the community.
And to keep that spark glowing in Verde Sumaco and here at home, Academy team members keep in contact with the families they met via email and Facebook.
"There’s an energy that comes from these service opportunities. It creates a connection between people who were strangers. They may not be family, but it ends up feeling like that."
Employee Experience Manager
That’s what Inspiring Hope is all about — giving families and communities a little bit of our time, energy, and money so they can fulfill their visions and achieve their dreams, on their own terms.