AMIGO OF THE WEEK ~ Jeff Cook

Jeff with his daughter, Jasmine. 
Jeff has been a part of the Amigos de Jesus family for many years now. He began serving ADJ as part of a short term mission trip with his school. After graduation, Jeff served as a long term volunteer for two years and now sits on the board of directors for Amigos de Jesus. Jeff always looks for ways to support the ADJ family from attending the fundraising events hosted in September, to spreading the word at college fairs to prospective volunteers. We are so grateful Jeff has continued to devote his time, skills and love for the children of ADJ!

1. Name: Jeffrey Cook

2. Occupation: Structural Engineer 

3. Hometown: Netcong, NJ

4. Years you were a volunteer with ADJ: 2006-2008

5. How did you first hear about Amigos de Jesus? I attended an engineering service learning trip to Amigos de Jesus while I was a student at Villanova University.

6. Why did you choose to volunteer with ADJ? After my first trip to Amigos de Jesus, it was clear to me that it was a very special place. I attended three more trips prior to graduation.  Each time I visited Honduras and spent time with the children, I felt compelled to return. While finishing up graduate school, I knew that ADJ was the right place for me to go, where I could utilize my engineering background and serve as a mentor for the children of Amigos.

7. What is one of your favorite Amigos de Jesus memories? I can recall countless memories of playing games with the younger children, helping the older children with math and science homework, or just giving a big hug to a child that was having a difficult day.  These memories are all priceless. Every child that comes to ADJ has had a very difficult life for a multitude of reasons.  They often arrive sad, angry, and/or fearful.  During my two years as a volunteer, it was incredible to watch these children smile, laugh, and learn to hope as they developed mentally, physically, and spiritually at ADJ.  Observing and contributing to these transitions first hand are some of my favorite lasting memories.

8. What is something you learned while being a volunteer at ADJ? So many things…  Daily interaction with all of the children helped me to better develop and understand the virtues of patience, respect, and love.  Daily interaction with ADJ staff and local community members taught me a lot about hard work, dedication, and selflessness.  So many life lesson learned at ADJ have helped me to be a better person.  Working with Ubil and many skilled workers on many construction projects has also helped me to be a much better engineer. 

9. What is your role with ADJ now? I am a member of the ADJ board of directors.  Currently, I am involved in the design of the chapel and other construction projects taking place.  For the past three years, I have also served as an advisor for several groups of engineering student that have worked on the structural design of past and future projects.  It has been a great pleasure for me to join the board and continue to be actively involved with ADJ.  

10. If you had a piece of advice to give to the current volunteers, what would it be? Be a progressive role model for all of the children and staff you encounter.  All of your actions will have influence.  All of your time and talents are very appreciated by the entire ADJ community.  Enjoy every moment and day that you spend with the children.  It is a blessing to be able to share a year of your life interacting with and having a positive influence on each child at ADJ.  ADJ is a very unique and special place that will change your life forever! 


11. If you could send a message to one of the kids, who/what would it be? There are so many kids (now young men) that I fondly remember from my time as volunteer.  I wish all of them the best, and I hope that they are all able to serve as positive role models for their younger brothers and sisters at ADJ and in the community.  Adonisito, I wish you continued success in school and in life.  During my last visit, about a year and a half ago, it was very special to see what a kind and gentle young man you have become.
Jeff with Adonisito during his time as a volunteer at ADJ.