2 weeks down! 1 to go!!!
When I first heard of SkillCorps, I honestly didn’t know what to make of it. I am a person who loves to travel, loves working with children with autism, and loves meeting new people. I thought SkillCorps was the perfect mesh-up of all these things, so I just had to apply! It wasn’t until the second day of orientation that I began to develop a deeper understanding of SkillCorps. We don’t just travel to meet people and play with children, we travel to change the current understanding of what it means to give and to contribute a part of yourself to something much greater. After being in the Dominican Republic for a week, the work of SkillCorps has finally revealed itself and the vision of the Global Autism Project has become much more clear. I have had the opportunity to observe staff at Aprendo, to help them to identify strengths and weaknesses, to provide interactive training workshops to meet their needs, and to build a working relationship that allows them to continue to grow on their own. SkillCorps does not simply provide you the answer. We provide you the means to determine the answer for yourself. As a result, you become the creator of your own success.
So, what truly is the SkillCorps experience? In sum, it’s not seeing the change you are making in the moment. It’s learning about your self through the perspectives of others. It’s learning how to compromise and put others first. It’s having a family meal with partners to build rapport. It’s inspiring others to establish best practices. It’s being stopped on the street by a local to be asked about autism because you’re wearing a Global Autism Project t-shirt. It’s wandering around without a plan, getting lost, and somehow finding your way. It’s trying to order takeout without speaking the native language. It’s sleeping in the bed with a stranger. It’s travelling with people you just met who may not also know what they are getting themselves into. At the end of the day, it’s making a Difference !
Wanderfulife has joined Skillcorps! Follow the journey in the Dominican Republic and learn more about Skillcorps and The Global Autism Project!
Now, Imagine landing in a country for the first time and it’s late at night. You are starved from travelling, but are unfamiliar with the area so you’re not sure where to get food. It’s too late to go out, so you hop online to order take out. However, the website is confusing and there seems to be no option to submit the order online. You must call to place the order, but wait you don’t speak the language. The only Spanish speaker in your group hops on the line for you to place the order. BUT WAIT, as she tries to explain the order and provide the house address, the lady on the other end is unfamiliar with the area. She passes the phone to a gentleman who is patient and allows you to slowly provide the address as written and offers to call you back to confirm. A few minutes go by and there’s a ring at your door. The same gentleman has arrived with a menu in hand to help you and your group place your order. He then leaves and returns with everything you wanted!
Words cannot explain the welcoming received during my first trip with Skillcorps to the Dominican Republic. I couldn’t help but think if we were home would anyone take the time to do as the gentleman did? Why was he being so nice? Is it the culture here or was he going above and beyond the call of duty? Either way, he helped s potentially stressful situation become a positive experience.
However, the kindness did not stop there. The next day we were welcomed by therapists from the center where we will work over the next two weeks. They took us out to dinner and as we all sat around the table, I couldn’t help but feel right at home as if we had all met in another life. Everyone was so open and chatted as if we were long term friends meeting up after not seeing each other for awhile. One member kept repeating “we are family”. The DR has been so welcoming during my first two days here. I look forward to sharing this experience with my viewers as this is the first time Wanderfulife has travelled with an organization to build a partnership with centers who provide services to children with autism (don’t fret! more info to come!). This journey will be so different from any other blog post. I hope to not only share my experience, but to spread awareness of the amazing work behind Skillcorps and The Global Autism Project!
“Take a moment and come on a journey with me, and hopefully your mind as well as your heart will grow as mine.”