AMIGA OF THE WEEK ~ Audra Hoffmeister

Audra, who is 23 and in her second year at Amigos de Jesús, has lovingly and diligently stepped into the challenge of becoming the first On-Site Volunteer Coordinator that Amigos has had in recent years. With her bright smile, calm demeanor, and knack for organization, she ensures the volunteers feel supported, so that they in turn can do their best supporting the kids. Audra's strong faith and kind presence are a gift not only to the volunteer community, but to the entire 'hogar.'

Learn more about Audra in her interview below:

  1. Age: 23
  2. Hometown: Hudson, Ohio
  3. University: The Ohio State University
  4. Degree: Major in Civil Engineering, minor in Spanish
     
  5. Role at Amigos: In my first year as a volunteer (2015-16), my responsibilities mainly consisted of working at the Amigos de Jesús Bilingual School. I taught two levels of math for students in our EducaTodos program in addition to running the library and computer lab, assisting with computer classes, and providing technology support when needed.
    This year (2016-17), I am serving as the On-Site Volunteer Coordinator. I serve as the liaison between the volunteers and staff, school, as well as other volunteer groups, and assist with volunteer administration, management ,and support. I will also continue to teach math to the 6th graders of our EducaTodos program until they graduate this December!
     
  6. How did you first hear about Amigos de Jesús? After a week-long service trip to Honduras over Spring Break of my sophomore year of college, I felt a tug in my heart to give myself fully through international service. About 6 months later, I received a message from a friend with a few long-term service opportunities, and Amigos de Jesús was first on the list. I looked it up and followed up through the Catholic Volunteer Network. And now here I am!
     
  7. What were you doing before you came to Amigos de Jesús? Before coming to Amigos, I was a college student. I graduated from Ohio State in May 2015. In addition to my studies, I was actively involved in campus ministry as well as other service-based organizations.
     
  8. What is your favorite part of your job? My favorite part of my job is the challenge. In a place as special as Amigos de Jesús, with such special kids, I am pushed outside of my comfort zone on a daily basis and encounter many situations and realities I would have never been pushed to confront in other circumstances. While at times it can be exhausting, I learn far more than I am able to teach and gain far more than I am able to give. The kids and their resilience push me to grow and become a better person. 
     
  9. Do you have a favorite memory from your time at Amigos de Jesús? Oh gosh, there are way too many! If I had to pick one memory, I would probably go with the time that I was praying a rosary at the Cross with a couple of kids and some other volunteers. As we started the rosary, one of our teenage boys got down on his knees on the concrete at the foot of the cross. When one of the ten-year-old boys who was with us saw him do this, he got down on his knees to pray, too. Later on  that same little boy led a decade of the rosary for the first time, and the older boy helped him through it. It's these types of memories that allow me to recognize what a privilege it is to be here working with these kids.

Audra and other volunteers with the some of the kids.