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.”
He and She are one
In each other, they embrace.
A solace defined.
She whispers softly.
Words almost inaudible.
He stands over her.
Wide eyes staring, piercing brown.
His lips form a smile.
“Das ist keine religion sondern liebe.”
“This is not a religion, but love.”
Have you ever just set and listened to a song on repeat, over and over again? I’ve been listening to “Keine Religion” by Joy Denalane for the past six hours while working.
A friend shared this song with me today and it resonates with me so I thought to share it with others. When you feel even your deepest wounds will not heal, play “Keine Religion”. You will hopefully find the joy embedded in the darkest of corners waiting to be released.
In the midst of wedding season and the business of travelling to engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and wedding ceremonies; I cannot help but take a moment to ask myself “how much are we really engaged?” I do not refer to asking a significant other to spend the rest of their life with us in matrimony. I refer to participating in meaningful contact or connections with others.
How often do you take time to stop and force yourself to become aware of your surroundings, and the people involved? Intimacy should not be reserved for romantic relationships, but all relationships. Do not fear deep, meaningful bonds with those in your life. Even a passer-byer may have something to offer, be it a small life lesson or another perspective. We must remain open to all life has to offer before the last stroke of the clock.
With this in mind, I have decided to be engaged! I will engage with my peers, my family, my friends, my coworkers, my pets, nature, and embrace the ups and downs of life. Death is inevitable, so why wait around for Joe Black to arrive and wish we had another chance?
I vow not to worry about social pressures or arbitrary norms. I vow to live my life with no regrets. I vow to love all parts of me while I open my mind and heart to show compassion to others. I vow to remain engaged while Father Time pours his sand.
On the left is a picture I took while walking about New York City, NY. On the right is a picture I took in Richmond City, VA. In both cases, I felt unnoticed by others, yet engaged in my surroundings. A picture, however, does not fully capture the life I felt surrounded by passer-byers. Mindfulness and awareness aid in capturing life.
Many people may choose risk taking as a means to push themselves to reach new limits and break comfort zones. I, myself, can admit to testing my limits through different activities. I cannot swim well, so I’ve always possessed anxiety when participating in water activities [despite my love of the sight and sound of water]. I have also possessed a fear of heights, so this past weekend I challenged myself to go sky diving!
I almost panicked when the wind attacked my face and I forgot to breath! It was not until the parachute opened that I regained my sense of what was happening, and I calmly enjoyed the view of the land. Just look at all the green 🙂
I must say that the first jump is a sensory overload! I will jump again soon to better experience life amongst the clouds. I think a bird may be my spirit animal because I was surprised how comfortable I became soaring in the sky.