Sunday, April 10, 2011


these pictures were taken long before i started a blog, or even habitually surfed the internet, and definitely before i had a degree in nonprofit management. in truth, i have some amazing unforgettable memories from our time in guaymas, mexico, and some even more memorable regrets. 

it's a story told often in recent years, we went to work in an orphanage and an after-school program in a low-income community in an international location. our hearts were in the right place. but our volunteer work may not have had the best long term benefits.

we had no real training regarding childhood developmental psychology, childhood attachment disorders, or working with at-risk populations. we had no specific skills or abilities to offer that trained, paid, professionals in their own community couldn't have done better. 

knowing what i know now, i would have asked more questions. questions everyone should ask. first and foremost, we should have questioned whether or not the work we were doing would take a job away from a local community member. in most cases, the answer would have been yes. having untrained privileged college kids build a house in a poverty stricken area makes a hell of a lot less sense than paying professional local construction workers to do the same work. not only does the actual house turn out better, but the workers can now afford to pay their own rent/mortgages. likewise, paying trained and consistent childcare workers and social workers to support children throughout their critical developmental stages would have been so much better than a revolving door of untrained, naive, young adults.

ultimately, we should have asked, if the roles had been reversed... what would we want for our own community. what would we want for our own children. what would we want for ourselves.

i can tell you right now, i would have wanted a professional to build my house.

but we were young and beautiful and in love... there's a lot worse trouble we could have gotten into.

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