Eleven members of the Trekkers Leadership Program recently returned from a weekend of service and cultural exchange in the Greater Boston area.

Students began their Urban Service Trek in Boston’s South End neighborhood where they had an opportunity to spend time at the Blackstone Elementary School, one of Boston’s many bilingual elementary schools. The assistant principal treated Trekkers to a tour of the school while sharing the culture and environment the school strives to achieve. The group then cleaned, reorganized and decorated the area used by the elementary school students and adult mentors who participate in Blackstone’s Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program. Next, the group spent time in first-grade classrooms where each Trekker led a reading group of four to five students each. The service experience culminated in a discussion with the school’s Big Brothers Big Sisters liaison about the responsibility of mentoring in leadership development.

After their morning of service at Blackstone, the group trekked to the Omni Parker House. The group was treated to Boston cream pies and a discussion about Boston’s role in the Civil Rights movement with a local historian and friend of Trekkers. While savoring their delectable treat, the group learned how activists like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. influenced Boston neighborhoods. The group members then made their way to one of those neighborhoods, Roxbury, where the Yawkey Way Boys & Girls Club hosted them for the evening.

While at the Yawkey Way Boys & Girls Club, Trekkers met up with their Teen Program and both groups took some time to get to know one another over games and pizza. The initial differences in culture and personal history were quickly overshadowed as all teens played basketball, went roller-skating, swam in the club’s indoor pool and played an extended game of indoor kick-the-can.

One Trekker summed up the experience: “I realized that we all have so much potential in life. We can all make a huge difference as long as we keep an open mind and take the time to meet and accept people different than ourselves.”

For more information on Trekkers’ recent Urban Service Trek, visit trekkersonline.com and follow the links to the trip log. For general information on Trekkers, call 594-5095.