Genevieve is a unique and beloved member of the Amigos de Jesus family. She arrived at Amigos in October as a long-term volunteer and plans to serve for a year. Though independent from the larger group of long-term volunteers (they arrived in August and are largely in their twenties), Genevieve has carved her 'niche' within the Amigos family and has been a tremendous help to all of the staff and kids. Her backgrounds in non-profit work, education, and long-term service (she and Amigos director Amy Escoto met serving together in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC)!), as well as her Spanish, writing, and organizational skills, have been tremendous assets to the 'hogar.' Her love, faithfulness, and flexibility have been a wonderful example for the kids.
- Name: Genevieve Volpe
- Hometown: Wheeling, West Virginia
- What did you do for a living before coming to Amigos de Jesus? I worked for The West Side Community House, which is a community center (settlement house) in Cleveland, Ohio. I worked with youth and families, which included youth with severe behavioral issues or mental health issues. The program's focus was on community-based mental health care to help support the youth and their families. One of my main jobs included helping the youth and families work through their issues, difficulties, and find some peace and success.
- What made you decide to serve as a long-term volunteer at Amigos? A couple of years ago, I visited the directors Amy and Wilson here at Amigos de Jesus, and I really enjoyed my visit. I knew there was something very special about this place [Amigos]. I was ready to move on from my previous job and to walk in a different direction. Before coming to volunteer at Amigos, I left my job and moved in with my sister to help here with her premature newborn twins. I lived with her for about two months. I knew I wanted to come back to Amigos and hopefully be of service in some way for a longer period of time. I wanted to utilize my skills and abilities in administration, education, and social work, so I thought, what better time then now? I also have always wanted to live in a Spanish-speaking country, and more specifically in a Central American country.
- What is your role at Amigos?
- First, I help in the office. My main project has included implementing a new training manual for the trainings that will be given to the staff, teachers, and caretakers here at Amigos.
- Second, I am helping put together a case management system for every child at the ‘hogar.’ The case management will include individual meetings with every child and all those who see the child on a daily basis. The meetings will include the child’s caretakers, teachers, and other people in their lives, to talk about what is going on with the child mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and behavior-wise, both in the ‘hogar’ (home) and in the classroom. In addition to what they need help with, talking about the child’s goals and needs in order to come up with a universal way to act with the child - across teachers, volunteers, and caretakers - to help us help the child be successful, happy, and move forward into adulthood.
- Third, I also help with other duties needed around the ‘hogar’ when necessary. I substitute teach sometimes at school, I help organize the storage space in the ‘hogar,’ and I am available to help as a caretaker in any of the ‘hogars’ when necessary. (She forgot to mention that she has also been writing lovely pieces on each of the kids, which we have been using in 'Amiguito of the Week' features).
|Genevieve and Juan de Dios|