I started as a theater artist and activist in the community garden movement in New York City with South Bronx based, Cherry Tree Association, Inc. I worked with a horticulture program and coordinated a city-wide outreach campaign to collect data on the gardens, gardeners, and communities served by the garden programs for Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund .  The efforts of the community culminated in the creation of a land trust of 119 previously threatened gardens.

 

Shortly after graduation from the University of Iowa in Theater Arts, I traveled to Nicaragua to work as volunteer popular educator for an organization called CANTERA. I trained youth delegates from all departments of Nicaragua to teach theater for social consciousness-raising.  The youth then, in turn, decided to form troupes back in their communities and performed on such days as AIDs Awareness Day to complement the education campaigns of their mother organizations.

 

I returned to the U.S. for nearly two years, where I taught two multi-grade classrooms (K-2 and 4-6), implementing individualized education plans of students with learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, and emotional disorders and participated in “wrap around” services with parents, social workers, case workers, psychiatrists, and school officials.

 

At the end of the school year, I was offered an opportunity to return to Nicaragua, as an EFL teacher. While teaching, which was my way to earn my keep, I continued to consult for local Nicaraguan NGOs, such as CISAS, Fe y Alegria, and Fundacion Cocibolca This work allowed me to become part of a dynamic Nicaraguan community.  The work was participatory and critical.  However, the instability of organizations I worked with raised my awareness of the need for organizational capacity building.  To learn more about this, I joined Pact International’s Capacity Building Services Group as a consultant to and member of the Impact Alliance learning community.

 

I came to CIE to build my development toolkit, to receive formal training as an international educator.  My geographical interests include, but are not limited to, Israel, Palestine, and Latin America, and I dream of contributing to development organizational capacity building by building institutes in these countries run by local people, where they will be the documenters and experts instead of the passive subjects of the developed world’s inquiry.

 

Entrance Year: 
5-year span: 
Status: 
CIE Graduate