Monday, December 12, 2011

grateful to volunteers

Every year the small community of Carmen Pampa welcomes people from all over the world (and of all ages, abilities, politics, and religious creeds) to join the work of implementing the mission of the UAC-CP: to provide higher education to young women and men from Bolivia's most marginalized populations so that they, in turn, can become agents of change for positive development in one of the poorest areas of Latin America.

Kathryn Fuller, a 2011 graduate of St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn., taught English to second-year Ecotourism students.

In exchange for room and board in the Volunteer House, UAC-CP volunteers (or Professional Visitors, as we prefer them to be called), work as full-time faculty members in the Language Department. Their duties include (but are not limited to): teaching English class, managing the language lab, facilitating English Club, participating in English Table, offering training workshops for English teachers at local high schools, and organizing an English Fair.

In addition to all of their official work duties, Professional Visitors also become a part of daily life at the College. They participate in staff meetings, retreats, and cultural events. They are also invited to volunteer with other projects--the children's library, the food cooperatives, the coffee plant, grant writing, etc. And, perhaps most importantly, most Professional Visitors live together in the Guest House--where they serve as ambassadors, of sorts, to welcome and provide hospitality to guests at the College.

As the semester comes to an end and our II-2011 Professional Visitors prepare for their departure, we are particularly thankful for Kathryn Fuller, David Berry, and Danielle Lang (who also volunteered at the UAC-CP in 2006). Like all Professional Visitors who have come before them, these three people worked tirelessly; they invested themselves wholeheartedly in the lives and education of UAC-CP students.  Because of limited funds and a very tight budget, the Language Department would truly not be possible without the support of dedicated volunteers like David, Kate, and Danielle. In fact, their ability to work with limited resources speaks highly of their patience and their ability to adapt to challenging circumstances. We are grateful for their service. (Hye-Jung Park made a video to honor their work, which you can view here.)

And, in return, I expect David, Kate, and Danielle are grateful for the friendships they formed with their students, their fellow Bolivian staff and faculty members, and the community members of Carmen Pampa. I suspect that, whether or not they maintain these friendships for many years, they will be people and experiences that stay close to their hearts for a lifetime.

If you or someone you know is interested in making a minimum 6 month commitment to teach English at the UAC-CP, please visit Carmen Pampa Fund's website for more information.  We are always looking for hard-working people with a sense of adventure, good humor, and patience to be a part of our life-changing work.

Many thanks to the Foldcraft Foundation, the St. Joan of Arc Justice Fund, and numerous private donors for helping to fund the development of an orientation program for English teachers at College and resources for teachers and students.

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