Power of One Testimonials
Our Power of One program has touched hundreds of lives over the years. Get an inside look at the experiences of Students and Mentors, and check out some written testimonials below.
“My perspective has entirely shifted to ‘how can I be of service?'”
Student ambassadors are transformed by The Power of One program. From integrating into a new culture to getting to know exotic animals, these young adults will always carry lessons learned through The Power of One in their hearts.
“There’s nothing else in the world like it.”
Learn why our mentors highly recommend joining students in the Power of One program to foster friendship, nurture animals and create lifelong memories.
Here are some of the students, mentors, and parents whose lives have been touched by the Power of One program.
In 2008, I had a chance to join Power of One Program with my two friends from Thapsakae Wittaya School. It was the first time for us to fly and to go to Chiangmai. It may be the first and the last time for us in our life. Because we don’t have more money to go by plane. At the camp, I appreciate the words “friends” and “love” from different culture, different language, and different country.
I’m in broken home. After I graduated grade 12, I don’t know what to do for my future because I don’t have money to study. I can pass the exam to the university. I was confused and serious. Fortunately, Ajan Benchawan told me that Juelle and Dono give me the scholarship, 50,00 baht a year for 4 years. The first time, I thought that I dreamt because they will give me 200,000 baht for my studying in 4 years. It’s a lot of money. They are foreigners and I never give them anything. But it’s not a dream, on May 19 2009, Juelle wired me 50,000 baht.
Now I can study in the university because of Power of One. And this year Power of One helps my junior ( Pok, Power of One 2010 ) too. It’s good luck for us. Every 2 weeks, I email to Juelle and Dono. I feel that Juelle is my mom and Dono is my dad. Power of One is my family. No One gives me like this before. I appreciate, grateful and thankful to Power of One. I have a new life and good future because of Power of One. If there isn’t Power of One, I won’t have a chance to study. Power of One fills love and happiness in my heart and make me happy. I have a good day and happiness time because of Power of One.
I’m very glad to be one of Power of One. This Program gives me the best experience, friendship,and my good future. I promise to do the good things, make peace, make friends, and help the people every time and every where I can. If I can ask only one thing for Buddha, I will ask him to pray for Power of One family to be bigger and bigger, to make peace, and love to the world forever. Thank you for everything that Power of One gives to me and my friends.
“Just because we are different nationalities doesn’t mean that we should ignore one another. Even though our cultures are different, we can still come together, love each other and be united.”
“Thank you so much to the three of you. Words cannot express how I feel about this experience. The change in all my youth is incredible. It is something I see growing more and more each day. My own son has changed tremendously. He never complains now about anything and is always ready to jump in and help with anything and everything. He has really come out of his shell and he keeps asking if we can all attend the South Africa program.
“Also, both of my kids used to go to CSL camp, but started not liking to go about three years ago; now they can’t wait for summer camp. You just don’t realize the effect you had on my children. At times it may have seemed like they weren’t listening or all there, but they absorbed it. Thank you so much. We all cannot wait to do it again. My heart is filled with gratitude.”
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Hi Juelle and Donovan,
I hope this message finds you well.
We have never met, but have communicated via Email for the PO1 trip in 2010 for my daughter Mallory Maisner.
I just wanted to thank you so much for all you have done. I know you will say you didn’t do anything, but you did have a part in opening Mallory’s eyes to the entire world that is available to her. While she has a certain personality that thrives on life and its experiences, without others encouraging her and showing her what is possible, who knows where she would be now. So, thank you for ALL you have done.
I have watched Mallory grow by leaps and bounds since her first trip to Thailand on the PO1 trip in Dec. 2010. She has grown to be an amazing person, and still has much to learn from life (I am not saying this in a bad way), she is only a child of just less than 20 and has experienced things, situations, people, places, etc. that I only dreamed of doing long ago. It will be very interesting to see what she does with the remainder of her life.
Once again, thank you for all you have done.
Dear Donovan and Juelle,
I wanted to tell y’all how forever grateful I am of y’all letting me and Sammie go on the Power of One. Thailand was truly life changing for me. When I came back it all just set in; I saw how I had been treating a person around me (which was not a good thing) and I thought about how I saw things before. I could not believe that was me. Going to Thailand was a wake up call. Thailand showed me so many things. It really helped me truly find myself. Sure, I still have some growing room, but I have a good grasp now on who I am. I learned that elephants are not just some animal in a zoo; they are some of the smartest, most amazing creatures.
Every time I hear someone talk about riding an elephant, I want to go up to them and tell them what happens to the elephant and show them the video. Leaving Thailand was so hard; I missed it as soon as I got off the plane in Tennessee and saw my family. I was ready to get back on a plane to Thailand! It was so strange to be in Thailand where pretty much everyone was nice. And going back to school was one of the hardest things for me. Oh, and another thing that Thailand showed me was how much I love giving to people; just seeing the people’s faces when we gave them things made my head spin in excitement. My teacher wants me to do a presentation about my trip but I don’t know where to begin.
Anyway, when I was getting back people would ask what I did and when I told them they didn’t quite understand. I looked at them, “I think you just have to be there”. Ha Ha! I also now have a fascination with monks. I just think they are so cool. One night I had a dream that I had a conversation with Buddha. I just wanted to tell y’all how grateful I am that I got to go. I mean I am like one in 2000 students at my school who can say “I helped a vet clean out an elephant’s tusk cavity”! Sorry to keep jumping around. I just wanted to let y’all know how amazing I think it is to see someone like Lek be able to create something so powerful. It’s just so motivating.
With so much love,
It is a rare and beautiful thing, finding something that you stand behind completely. You support it without question and advertise it with incredible enthusiasm. You sing it’s praises not because you are a paid actor or official sponsor, but because it has done something for you that very few things can do. It has changed your life. And when this happens, you feel the need to tell everyone you know, everyone you don’t know. I will forever be endorsing the Power of One for this very reason. Juelle and Donovan Wilkins, the creative geniuses behind this project, have provided a means to not only travel but travel with spirit. Without a doubt, this program has helped to shape my life in marvelous and meaningful ways. So naturally, I have to share this with the world.
What attracted me, along most others, to the program was it’s service opportunities and cultural immersion. At the time I was a 17 year old high school senior, and nothing excited me more than the idea of having an adventure in another country. I never could have anticipated how the trip would alter my plans for my future. Before arriving, we all met with Juelle and Dono. They spoke of Thailand with such warmth and humility, every word was laced with emphatic adoration. It was made plain that there were no better people to guide you through this country. Upon arriving I fell in love. The warmth of Thai people is intoxicating and the landscape is an array of scenic perfection. The group dynamic was one of ultimate acceptance and openness, nearly every person becoming something like a family member. I couldn’t have explained to you why this was, why we all got along and appreciated each other so much. With every project, every temple, every meal we became a family through our experiences. That is something that is unique about the Power of One. The restrictions of our daily lives began to fade away and we were given the opportunity to see this country, each other, and ourselves in a light that made definite how powerful and connected as individuals we all are. We were bonded by our shared laughter, our stories and talents, and our amazement at the wonders of Thailand.
When I came home, it was like coming off of an intense high. I missed all of the people that I had grown to love, and the country where I had learned to love myself. But more than anything, I missed the feeling that I was doing something that I was proud of. It took returning to my average teenage American life to understand how truly incredible my experience in Thailand was. My eyes were opened, and I saw the world as an open door. It was like have blinders removed. I had an epiphanic realization that I could do anything I wanted to and absolutely did not have to settle for doing what everyone else was doing, which was going straight to college. I wanted my life to have direction and meaning, I wanted to do something that bettered the world and inversely bettered me. Essentially, I wanted my life to reflect the ideology and mentality of the Power of One program. And so it began. Instead of finishing my college applications, I began planning a very new trip to Thailand. My ambition was to stay in Thailand for nine months and work as a volunteer english teacher. I was told often that this was a ridiculous idea, but I refused to not see it through. And so I persevered, obtaining a visa and securing a position at three schools. The reason I was able to teach at those schools was because I had grown close to Thai teachers who taught there. The reason I was able to get my visa was because of people I had met on the trip. The reason my parents agreed to send their eighteen year old daughter half way across the world for nine months was because of who I had become on the trip. My return to Thailand was made possible because of the Power of One for many reasons. Put aside the connections I made, the knowledge of the country and culture I gained, and the love for doing something good for others I developed. I would never have even had this daring and bold idea had I never gone on the trip. And now my dream has become my reality.
So when considering whether or not you’d like to be a part of this organization, as you quarrel over the price of plane tickets and examine how willing you are to take a step outside of the box, keep this in mind. Not everyone who joins this program goes home and changes how they live their life, not everyone expands their way of thinking and grows to value the truly important things. But a majority do. Those who participate and are open, ready to receive the gifts of Thailand and the gifts of this program, return home knowing that they are fully capable of shaping their lives into a more beautiful and inspired existence. They are made conscience of a world that lies outside our borders and the spectacular qualities of the people who live there. And more importantly, they are given the opportunity to own and execute everything that is wonderful about themselves. True to it’s name, they can understand the meaning of the Power of One.
To say that our family has been through some difficult times following a divorce and re-marriage would be an understatement. When my oldest daughter decided to attend Power of One, and also asked her step-mom and I to attend with her, we were both excited to do so. However, we had no idea the impact this Program would have on our lives – ALL our lives! My wife and I served as mentors, while our daughter had her own experience. As a family, we are totally committed to the goals and mission of Power of One, and since attending the Program have each returned to Thailand in our own ways.
Let me give you just one small clue as to what we have gained from this Program. My daughter was having some problems in school, dealing with a lack of focus and direction in her life. She had some fairly serious emotional issues to handle. She attended Power of One during her senior year. The program touched her so deeply that she decided to delay college for a year, and to volunteer teaching English to kids in Thailand. It was the most adult decision she had ever made, and (this is the important part) she empowered herself to make it happen! As a result, she changed the lives of many, many young Thai students and others. She grew tremendously as a person, gained self-confidence, learned to keep commitments and developed more clarity on her college plans. In short, because of her unique experience in the Power of One Program, she developed skills to empower herself to change her own life for the better.
Most significant to me as her father… I know for the rest of her life when she hears someone say “what can I do about it, I am just one person?”, she understands the truth. While it may be true she is only one woman, she is one woman who possesses the Power to change the world!” She lives with “The Power of One!”
If you are a parent considering this program for your child, I believe you cannot afford to NOT send your kids. If you are a benefactor, donor, or organization blessed to be able to support or fund any aspect of this enterprise (as my company now does) – you will receive the highest return imaginable. The Power of One experience will change everyone who attends, and they will change the world! Beg, borrow, steal (ok, don’t steal) tithe, donate, fundraise,– just do whatever you need to get your kids in the Program, and to help get to Program to every young person possible. You will be glad you did… I guarantee it!
Thank you Power of One.
BENTLEY BATHS, Ltd.
George Bentley, Esq.
George E. Bentley, President
Thailand has always been on the top of my list as places to see. When I heard about the Power of One trip to Thailand, I was all in, especially after meeting Juelle and Donovan, the masterminds behind the program. (Wait till you meet these two – they’re amazing!) Their vision and purpose is simple. The program is designed to bring people together, to open your minds and hearts to different cultures and have fun doing it! When I set off on this venture, I had no idea I would get to meet so many incredible people and share so many unique experiences. From the very beginning, you’re completely taken care of and you know you’re in good hands (just watch out – they try to feed you too much).
Some of my favorite moments were New Year’s Eve in Chiang Mai and setting off the traditional Thai lanterns into the sky. ..Hanging out with the elephants at the nature park and remembering how much I love to work with my hands on a peaceful afternoon. ..Having a blast shopping at the night market. ..Visiting historic temples and Buddhas. ..Walking among the trees with our monks to protect the forest, learning about conservation in the most appreciative and spiritual of ways. On this trip, you not only get to travel to one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but you walk away with a sense of fulfillment and renewed energy. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget and look forward to going again!
It’s been almost a month since we returned (tomorrow will mark 4 weeks!!) I cannot tell you how precious you are all in my heart – as I share my Thailand journey with others it is amazing at the different things, thoughts and feelings that arise – seems each person asks “what was the most memorable thing that happened in Thailand” – truthfully I cannot bring it down to one thing – and what I love is that it really depends on who is asking – with some it’s the fun (shopping, the fish on my feet…), with others it’s the deep connection I felt for all of you, with others it’s about the time at the school – but always what speaks to my heart is Lek telling us “it doesn’t matter if an elephant has a month, week or even a day left to live, I will bring them here so they can die in dignity and know they were loved” – it still, even as I write this, brings tears to my eyes and an honoring in my heart – I absolutely treasure each and everyone of you and the experiences we shared together (even if briefly).
My son, Jordan’s, experience on the Power of One trip was life altering. Jordan was just getting ready to turn seventeen when he embarked on his Thailand adventure. He had requested that he wanted to do something “out-of-the-box” for his birthday. This certainly was out-of-the-box for him.
Jordan has suffered from anxiety and depression for the past few years. His disability limited him from attending traditional public high school. With the help of a supervised online high school program, therapy and support groups, Jordan felt he was at a point in his life where he was emotionally stable enough to try this adventure of a life time. As his mother, I had some apprehension of him taking on such a daunting trip; however, knowing he would be going with Juelle, Donovan, and Christian, their daughter and my personal friend, I knew he would be in safe and trusted hands.
Jordan prepared for the trip physically, emotionally, and spiritually. What he experienced in Thailand was truly life changing: increased confidence, awareness, self esteem, friends, philanthropy, and an appreciation that he lives in an extravagant Western country.
I believe the trip expanded Jordan’s horizons literally and figuratively. Even though Jordan has traveled extensively with family, this was the first time he was traveling with strangers who quickly became lifetime friends. The bonding experience Jordan had with the other students and adult mentors has continued beyond the end of the trip. This was the trip of a lifetime for Jordan that has extended way beyond the time he spent in Thailand, and he will forever cherish his adventure.
Never have I spoken so clearly. Never have I slept so well. My mind was at ease. Everything in my surroundings felt so right and complete. After an amazing sleep in an indescribably hearth away from home, I arose from my bed and tried not to step on all the peacefully sleeping dogs. I proceeded outside where I opened the door and saw Max, my boy, in the distance. He was resting up against a tree. The air was cold, but it was soothing. I put on my sweatshirt and could not stop staring at max and everything around me. Oh, by the way, Max is a mega tall elephant. Anyway, I went for a walk while some were still sleeping. The sun was coming up so the chickens were getting ready to wake everyone. I didn’t mind the chickens. They fit the atmosphere. I was in the hut furthest away from breakfast. I never looked down at the ground while I was walking.
This was weird because I do that all the time in the US. I suppose it’s because I didn’t have lush green trees covered in mist to look at, or anything exciting for that matter. I saw a mahut who had his hat down over his eyes and was resting up against a tree; just like Max. I passed all the elephants. They all looked so calm, peaceful and comfortable. Honestly, it was like a journey every morning. It was so beautiful and serene. All the colors were so lavish. The elephants were so gorgeous and magnificent. They were such ethereal beings. To touch the rough skin and to stroke the coarse hair of one was thought to be surreal. I couldn’t imagine where I was. I knew where I was. I was home.