When she walks into a room, you notice her. She radiates with a breathtaking smile that simply lights up a room. Her name is Bianca Lopez-Isa, and she is a second year psychology major who is a pre-dental student at the University of Florida. Ever since her sophomore year of high school, she has gone on an annual mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Her all-girls school, Academy of the Holy Names, in Tampa, Florida, started a foundation called Seeds of Hope 11 years ago; Seeds of Hope benefits a mission trip every year for the people of La Victoria, a city that is about 45 minutes from the Dominican Republic’s capital.
This mission trip Bianca attends is 7 days long, and this will be her fourth time going on it in the spring, despite the fact that she is in college now. The trip consists of fixing houses, distributing clothes and shoes, taking care of babies in the nutrition center, and also distributing clean water and food to the local families.
The trip is done through a program at the local church where families will come to for help, and in exchange for the help they receive from Seeds of Hope and this mission trip, the families volunteer at the church. All of the women who attend the mission trip stay with sisters in a convent.
Bianca Lopez-Isa says that it is the best and most rewarding seven days of her life. “I feel self-fulfilled knowing that I have helped the poorest people from my own culture.” She says that the Dominican people have taught her so much about life and about the true meaning of happiness, considering they are so poor and yet so happy.
True beauty shines from the inside out, and Bianca’s compassion for others and selflessness show every time you see her. Whether she is at the library studying or in the Dominican Republic fixing a house, her inner beauty is something that cannot be ignored.