Jason A. White was born on March 3, 1984, and raised in Columbia Crossroads, Pennsylvania. He is double majoring in Philosophy and Political Science with a minor in Mass Communications with a focus in Public Relations. He has been a leader in Student Government and other organizations, committees, and programs across campus and he has represented fellow MU and PASSHE students in the Pennsylvania State Capitol. He has participated in service projects from Mansfield to El Salvador. After college he intends to go on to graduate school and to continue leadership through service with non-profit work and, eventually, state and national politics. He got the idea for this project from his Eagle Scout project with the Boy Scouts of America conducted back in 1999. He created the Collection Collaboration Campaign as an adaptation of his previous project so as to bring a group of volunteers together to help people in both the United States and El Salvador.
Emana experience Testimonial
My Emana experience has changed my life forever. Being given this special opportunity to work with a group of amazing individuals from different countries and backgrounds reaffirmed my belief that diverse groups of people can work together to make a positive contribution. From the moment I stepped off of the plane in El Salvador, I was impressed and moved by the welcoming spirit of the Salvadorans as well as the group members from the Netherlands and Brazil. Their willingness to work with me, to explain Salvadoran history, politics, and society and to translate Spanish to English and vice versa—so that I could participate in group discussions and talk with the villagers—demonstrated a sense of international interconnection that made me realize that language does not have to be a barrier to cooperation or friendship.
While living and working with the amazing group of individuals who went to Tasajera, as well as the islanders, I experienced the joy and sense of fulfillment that comes from working in service of one another. I came away from this experience with new friends, family, brothers, and sisters. Emana has shown me that greater good may be advanced when we work together as equals. The work and the experiences I had with Emana in Tasajera have left me with an unquenchable sense of duty to do my part in helping to make this world a better place.
I have been told that going to El Salvador is dangerous and foolish because of the prevalence of gangs, corruption, and violence. But to me that just sounds like fear, and I refuse to allow fear to govern my thoughts or actions. While we were on the island the Emana group, the villagers, and the local authorities worked together to keep each other safe. This demonstrated to me how active cooperation can be a solution for fear and provide safety as well as improve social and economic conditions.
To me, the situation in El Salvador appears as merely a complex interconnection of various social, economic, and political problems. Problems do not get solved through fear and inaction. Problems get solved through the actions of dedicated individuals who apply solutions that work. I believe Emana has found solutions that work.