Gabrielle Romano has a calling - Africa

She taught math and English in the village school. She made home visits to families, helping them with daily tasks and learning about their culture. "We even helped re-roof one family's mud hut. That has to be done a lot. They have no running water, no electricity -- it's very primitive. The experience was awesome.

"I came back here in August 2009. Now it's time to go back. I want to make service a habit. I have found an opportunity that I'm absolutely passionate about. This is what moves me.

"I have a chance to co-lead a team for Summit Church. We'll be living in the village this time -- pumping our own water -- living the life they do. I'm really looking forward to that. In can be hard to connect with them if you don't live with them. The more you share, the more you learn.

"This project will relate to the same type of things I did before, serving the village. It's a spiritual experience for me -- showing them love and love of God. We're there to help them. We're not taking over, we're just there to work beside them."

Strong of spirit, mind, and body

At 23, Romano's spiritual strength is well grounded, and, not unlike the villagers she serves, her schooling was somewhat nontraditional. Her parents, Donna and Vinnie, concerned over the possible adverse effects of public school education, home schooled her, giving her a solid perspective on what is important. She learned by doing, by experiencing her education. Her home curriculum was tailored to her learning style -- "I absolutely loved it.

My mother planned school according to the way we learned. My sister Meaghan loved to read, but I had to be hands on and visual. PE was shooting hoops -- we went places and did things that fit what I was learning."

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