Julia Eubanks wants to be an ambassador when she grows up. At 16, the DeLaSalle sophomore already has a wealth of diplomatic experience, having just completed her third trip to the Caribbean island of Haiti.
“I don’t feel like my home is Minneapolis,” Eubanks said. “I feel my home is the world.”
Through her Island to Island initiative, Eubanks delivered 30 iPads to a school and trained students and teachers on how to use the handheld device. The idea developed on her first visit to Haiti in 2013, when Eubanks, participating on a mission trip with her youth group from the Church of The Annunciation, noticed that students would have to go to an Internet cafe to use Wi-Fi. She wanted to find a way to make students’ lives easier and expand their access to knowledge.
“You can see what the iPads have done for us on Nicollet Island,” Eubanks said, referring to DeLaSalle’s 1:1 IslePad initiative that puts an iPad in a student’s hands for all four years of high school. “Soon, they [Haitians] can have access to the same resources.”
DeLaSalle donated the iPads that Eubanks brought to Haiti, giving her a set that had been taken out of service after the school upgraded to new devices in 2015.
For seven days in January, Eubanks and 10 others from the Twin Cities, including her younger sister and mother, helped students at College Couer de Marie – a school about 15 miles west of the capital Port-au-Prince – set up Google accounts, discover free classes they can take through iTunes U, and find online resources that will help improve their math and language skills.
Students caught on quickly to the iPads, Eubanks said, because many already have a mobile phone.
“Bringing iPads to Haiti just opens up a new world of opportunity for them,” Eubanks said, explaining that the iPads enable Haitians to participate in the global community. “There’s something that’s really good that can come out of technology that has been brought in our day and age.”
“I really like seeing young people starting to change the world,” Eubanks added. “If everyone worked toward global community peace, that’s going to be our new world.”
The experience has had a profound impact on Eubanks, who feels a calling to return to Haiti to continue her work.
“You can’t change everything, but you can do little things, and that changes their lives drastically.”