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Whilst many teenagers are heading to the more popular tourist hotspots this summer, Coventry City midfielder Hayley Ladd will be seeing a very different side to life in a sun-kissed city.
19-year-old Hayley will be spending a month volunteering in an orphanage in Puerto Vallarta, which lies on the west coast of Mexico, around 120 miles away from the country's second biggest city, Guadalajara.
Hayley - who has 15 caps for the Welsh national team - has just finished her first year studying Human Biology at Loughborough Univerisity, where she was introduced to the idea of volunteering abroad, via the Two-Birds organisation.
"A friend and I were really interested about doing some volunteer work in our summers and we came across a few trips through the Lufbra (Loughborough University Student Union) Action Department," she explained.
"We then chose this Mexican trip as we thought it would give us the opportunity to work with children of a wide age range, for instance babies to young adults, as well as doing lots of different types of work including sport and art, whilst also working with disabled children."
Despite a recent surge in tourism, Puerto Vallarta still suffers badly with poverty, 10% do not have a portable water supply, 8% do not have connections to a sewer/septic system, and 4% do not have electricity.
The refuge itself provides protection, education and love for homeless children up to the age of 16. Children come to the refuge for a variety of reasons, from family death, to addiction, abandonment and sexual abuse.
Many also have traumatic pasts and suffer social and behavioural difficulties, meaning they need more support than other children. The RISE cannot afford staffing to provide this, and so, throughout the summer holidays, the Two-Birds team flies in to offer a range of enhancing activities.
The vision of the refuge is to go beyond the integral needs such as food and shelter, to offer a stimulating and enhancing environment for the children.
Hayley will be volunteering six hours a day, six days a week, and although her jobs will vary, she will most likely be coaching football and working in the disabled centre at the refuge.
"I'm going to be helping young children who have had some really horrible experiences in the past, with the hope of making their summer even the smallest bit better and enjoyable, and I could really do with some support to help me get there.
"I expect that it will be an incredible and humbling experience and hope to learn a lot from everyone out there and also about the different culture."
Hayley has currently raised £300, and is aiming to reach £1,500 before the 14th July, when she makes the trip across the Atlantic.
To donate to Hayley's fundraising cause, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her Justgiving page: http://www.justgiving.com/Hayley-Ladd. (Jonathan Hooke)
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