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updated: 2/28/2013 7:56 PM

Elk Grove, Libertyville graduates return from service trip to Argentina

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  • Alex Swenson stands third from the right (brown shirt) and Kohji Horibe stands the furthest to the right in the second row

      Alex Swenson stands third from the right (brown shirt) and Kohji Horibe stands the furthest to the right in the second row
    Hyomi Carty

 
Alex Swenson and Kohji Horibe

(Libertyville, IL) -- Kohji Horibe, 20, and Alex Swenson, 19, of Elk Grove and Libertyville, IL returned from their 21 days of overseas service work in the South American country of Argentina. Kohji Horibe and Alex Swenson were volunteers with Generation Peace Academy, which is a program of the Unification Church. In Argentina, Generation Peace Academy worked with several different partners and non-profit organizations on construction, renovation, and beautification projects. Projects in the Buenos Aires region included restoration of a swimming pool and the walls of a monastery, repairing and painting a soup kitchen, which offers free meals to children in a the community of Lobos, partnering with the Rotary Club in Ciudad Evita in order to beautify a local park as well as to learn about sustainable planting, irrigation, and vermiculture. In the Santa Fe region, home of the indigenous Mocovi tribe, blueprints and material were donated to construct several dome structures. These large domes would be used as homes for some of the Native American families, who previously lived in very simple, impoverished conditions. The final project involved renovation at an evangelical church in Tigre and interfaith activities with the local Christian group.

Kohji Horibe graduated from Elk Grove High School in 2012. In high school, he participated in football, track, wrestling and gymnastics. Alex Swenson graduated from Libertyville high school where she pursued her passion in art and participated in FCCLA.

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Kohji Horibe will go to Harper community college and study fire science while Alex Swenson plans to attend FIDM in San Francisco for fashion design. Alex plans to become a fashion designer, hoping to influence the world of fashion for the better. Both Mr. Horibe and Miss Swenson were preparing to go to school but decided they needed to create a solid foundation in their values and beliefs before attending college. This is their first year on the program and they both feel that they have gained much from the experience.

Although they both felt that the language barrier made it difficult to communicate through words, they found that they were able to convey their thoughts and feelings in other ways, whether through service work, music, dance, or playing with children. Both Miss Swenson and Mr. Horibe stated, "We are both grateful for our parents for giving us the opportunity to take part in Generation Peace Academy and to GPA program for giving us the opportunity to go to Argentina and learn and grow from the experience."

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