As a midfielder in lacrosse, Stephen Rinck has to maintain a certain perspective of what’s going on around him on the field.
Off the field, the North Penn junior carries that same perspective with him in his daily life. Rinck understands the opportunities and advantages provided him not only as a high school athlete, but as young man growing up in the United States.
That’s why when Rinck was nominated to take part in a service trip to Haiti this summer, he was eager to be a part of it.
“After looking into it, it seemed like a great opportunity to expand my horizons and really know what was going on in the world,” Rinck said. “It’ll give me a new perspective on life and get a sense for what these people are dealing with all the time.”
Haiti is still rebuilding from the massive earthquake that struck the island nation in 2010 and many of its inhabitants live in poverty. The purpose of the service trip, run by nonprofit Poverty Resolutions, is to help improve the lives of Haitians in some of these communities.
North Penn assistant coach Drew Schmitz, also a teacher at the high school, works with Poverty Resolutions and knew Rinck was the type of person suited for the trip. Rinck was one of about 200 students nominated for what was originally 25 spots. The response was so positive that Rinck said the number of students going has nearly doubled to around 50.
The group, which will be in Haiti from Aug. 5-11, will be helping build houses, restore and repaint a marketplace and interact with the native children.
“I’m expecting to be put to work right away and that’s my mindset,” Rinck said. “I’m not going down with all my friends to have a good time. I’m going to help out and put my time toward something bigger.”
Rinck, who’s never been outside of the United States, turned to a trustworthy source to get a feel for what the trip would give him.
“Two of my cousins, they’re currently in med school right now, have gone to Haiti a few times so I called them up and they said it was a really good idea,” Rinck said. “They said they learned a lot and it showed them a new perspective.”
Rinck has been involved with the Hand-To-Hand program at Saint Joseph’s University for the past three years, as well as the Variety Club, both of which focus on working and interacting with children with disabilities.
The junior, who’s older brother Matt was the Knights’ starting goalie last year in his senior season, credited his family for instilling his perspective. His parents and grandparents made sure Rinck understood the opportunities had has in front of him but also that not everyone is as fortunate.
Since joining the North Penn lacrosse program, Rinck has kept in mind something coach Rick Smith told him.
“He said if I can’t make an impact in the lacrosse world, I should do it in the outside world,” Rinck said. “I can only go so far in lacrosse, so I might as well do what I can to help out in the world outside of lacrosse as much as I can.”
Rinck said he’s already locked up his spot but is looking for a little help to pay for the trip. He decided to start a fundraiser on GoFundMe and added he could have scrolled “for days” through all the different causes and similar activities people have on the website. He plans to keep the site open as long as he has to, even if it means going into the summer.
Many of the students going on the trip are following suit and Rinck said it’s a huge asset to have something so easily and readily available to help raise funds.
“I don’t like to ask people for money but I think for something like this it’s different,” Rinck said. “I don’t want to sound cocky but I know anyone who’s willing to help me out is letting me do the right thing and help some people who need it.
“I don’t want to rely on just this to get me there, but I’ve thank everyone who’s already contributed and would continue to thank anyone else who is able to do so.”
Rinck’s page can be found at http://www.gofundme.com/haiti-service-learning-trip.