For those of you who don’t know me I’m a fun, loyal, hardworking, super chill 28 year old guy with a great sense of humor. I was born in the US but raised in the Dominican Republic. My parents are from different socio-economic status, and growing up in these environments and going back and forth between them shaped me to be a social justice warrior and enabled me to be adaptable to almost any environment. My background in social justice and community development from the perspective Down/Top and working/volunteering in under-resourced areas has formed me in every part of my life. Having the influence of “The North” but being raised in a 3rd world country has given me a unique way to view life.
In the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica I worked with multiple faith and community based organizations targeting poverty, education, social justice and community development issues. I came to New York to learn more about what happens on the other half of the spectrum in organizational structure and I’ve been able to partner with major leaders in the social justice arena, work with TOP organizations that fight against domestic violence, human trafficking, and social justice related issues in the NYC area. This experience has enabled me to understand how politics and nonprofit intertwine to make sustainable and applicable changes, and my role for the past 2 years has been employing survivors of poverty, human trafficking and domestic violence. This has been an over the top experience for me, but now I feel the need to submerge myself back to the very thing that motivates and shapes me, working in social justice issues directly with people.
The Sisters of the Good Shepherd started a program in Nong Khai called Hands Of Hope, a handcrafting center of artisan women mostly survivors of HIV/AIDS and also survivors of sex trafficking. I’ve done volunteer experiences in the past but the things that intrigue me most about the Good Shepherd Volunteers program are:
First: The spiritual aspect. Although it’s a Catholic program, GSV works with all faith backgrounds and at the same time GSV provides guidance on a personal level to assimilate and channel the crude reality of the work that’s being done in these harsh places. Their four tenets are: Social Justice, Simplicity, Spirituality, and Community. This is something I wished I had in past experiences.
Second: I’ll be working directly with Hands Of Hope in Nong Khai, a center that employs survivors (poverty, human trafficking and (or) HIV/AIDS) by making artisan crafts and opening market to them through fair trade, to which hopefully I can apply some of my experience here. As soon as I found out about it I felt the clear direction from God that this was something I needed to do, and my Fair Trade experience with BADALA and Global Goods Partners (both nonprofits that I work with) will help me improve their center by much!
Third: 4k is nothing (my fundraising goal)! I know we all wish to give back and make this world a better place, but not everyone can jump in a plane across the globe and serve for a year, but in a way… you can. By donating you will not only support me in serving for a year (travel, health insurance, visas) but you will also be serving alongside me. This year will be full of adventure, surprises, learning, sharing, loving and growing humbly together in the path of the Good Shepherd!
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