Besides being an incredibly cute couple, Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell also happen to be wonderful human beings who give back to their community and their world in meaningful and inpsiring ways.
We tasked Ben with writing a letter to “Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?” fans, detailing his involvement in his favorite charity organization, Humanity & Hope United. Naturally, he delivered a personal essay that practically brought us to tears.
I believe in love—not necessarily the kind of love you see at high school basketball games or in the movies, but a love that believes in the impossible and never quits. I want my life story to illustrate the kind of love that believes that everyone in the world was created with a heart and soul, and therefore we all deserve to have the opportunity to live out our purpose.
I spent the last nine days volunteering in Honduras with an organization called Humanity & Hope United (H&H). I’m a board member of H&H, and I fully believe in the organization’s mission to “lead people from desperate circumstances to living life in all its fullness by making tangible improvements in education, the economy, healthcare, infrastructure, leadership, and sense of community.”
The people in Honduras who we serve (before we begin working together) typically live far enough away from the closest city that they are almost completely isolated—the average family earns less than $2/day, has no clean drinking water, has education that ends at 6th grade, lives in a house made out of earth, and feels forgotten by the rest of the world. But like I said, our goal is to lead from desperation to abundance, and I am so thankful I got to play a part in that last week.
I’ve been volunteering with H&H since 2011, but in the past year things have really picked up, and I’ve been lucky enough to play a pretty important part in that. We only serve two villages, but each have gotten clean water, access to education, a huge increase in jobs and income, and regular visits every week by people that love them. To say that the love has made a huge impact would be an understatement!
Two stories stick out: I got to witness the first ever class of graduating 7th graders in a village called Remolino, and one girl, Evelin, remarked how she always thought that after 6th grade she would be in her house making tortillas and waiting to have children; now she has dreams of being a lawyer who fights for the rights of low-income people. In the village of La Coroza, a woman named Emerita told me 2016 had been the best year of her life as it had brought clean water for her whole family and full-time employment for both her and her husband. Through H&H, I felt like I was able to play a small part in both of those stories, and that rocked my world.
So I’m sure you’re wondering—what about Lauren? Let’s just say I’m more thankful than ever that we get to build our life stories together. Lauren has the most beautiful heart I’ve ever seen, and seeing her with kids made my heart soar.
On my trip I got to have some amazing, unique, and sometimes scary experiences (Within hours of landing, I got to sit with 200 gang members in a prison in Honduras that can be so dangerous that the guards don’t enter, but that’s another story for another time). I sat with some of poorest and so-called dangerous people on the planet, and I got to build relationships with them. My main takeaway is thankfulness—thankful that I get to feel love, and thankful that I get to live it because I know from experience how life-changing it can be.
The more people we have involved the more people we can serve. My good friend Riley Fuller, who is also the founder and president of Humanity & Hope, often says, “It takes people to serve people.” If you are interested in serving with us financially or going on a trip, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we would love to help you use your talents to make the world a better place!
Tuesday’s (Nov. 22) episode will take a closer look at Ben and Lauren’s outreach efforts in Colorado, as they help another Denver resident build a greenhouse to provide food for veterans.
The couple that volunteers together stays together!
“Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform