Sean Kelly (a.k.a. "Mr. Sean") is the dedicated and enthusiastic administrator of the BECA (Bilingual Education for Central America) program at the Amigos de Jesús School this year. Sean is in his second year as a BECA volunteer at Amigos. Last year, he served as the 2nd grade teacher, where his positivity, hard-working attitude, leadership skills, and love for the kids showed he was a perfect fit to be administrator this year. We are so thankful to have him as part of our team again and as a role model for all of our students at the Amigos de Jesus School!
Read below to learn more about Mr. Sean:
- Age: 23
- Hometown: Ashtabula, OH
- University: University of Rochester
- Major: Cell and Developmental Biology
- How did you first hear about Amigos de Jesús?
Throughout college, I went on service trips to Honduras with Students Helping Honduras (SHH). When it came time to graduate, I decided I wanted to spend a year teaching in Honduras and I applied to BECA after it was recommended to me by a past SHH volunteer. It was during my second interview for BECA that I heard about Amigos de JEsús and I felt like I was give a very real and genuine perspective about how my life here might look. After that interview, I expressed interest in ADJ and was luckily placed here!
- What were you doing before you came to Amigos de Jesús?
Before I came to Amigos de Jesús, I was working toward my degree in Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Rochester. Outside of the classroom, I was an undergraduate researcher in a lab that studies aging and cancer, a member of the university's competitive cheer team, and I was dedicated to our chapter of Students Helping Honduras at the U of R.
- What made you decide to stay a second year at Amigos?
The idea to stay a second year started pretty early on during my first year as a teacher. I immediately fell in love with the community of Amigos de Jesús as well as the partnership between Amigos and BECA, and those two aspects sparked my interest. The difficulties of teaching proved to be a greater challenge than I could have imagined, but the evident personal and professional growth felt very motivating and I realized I still had much more to learn from my time here, so when the opportunity arose to move into a leadership role while spending another year building connections with the children, Honduran staff, volunteers, and other community members, I couldn't imagine a more fitting experience.
- What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the job is that it requires me to talk to so many different people. In any given day, I could be planning a staff meeting with the principal, explaining our scholarship program to a parent, joking with a student during recess, arranging transportation with a bus driver, or providing feedback to a teacher; the list goes on.
Not a single day this year has been the same or monotonous in any way, which keeps the job exciting, as well as a bit stressful at times. I know that this experience will serve in so many ways beyond my time with Amigos and BECA, and my hope is that my time here has been even half as beneficial to the community as it has been for me personally.
- Do you have a favorite memory of your time at Amigos de Jesus?
Hands down, my favorite memory from my time here would have to be the huge rain shower we had back in April. Up until that point, I could have counted on my fingers the number of times it had really rained last year and around that point the daily heat index had been reaching 115. On this particular Saturday, the BECA volunteers and myself had planned activities for the kids centered around a "field day" theme. We had Tug-O-War, relay races, and other friendly competitions. We made it about halfway through our second activity when it started to rain, like REALLY rain. The entire 'hogar' (home) must have let out cheers of pure excitement! The relay races quickly turned into rainy games of tag and muddy faces everywhere (both children and adults). The 'pilas' (washboards/troughs of water used for washing clothes) were overflowing with water and the kids were using the excess water to dump buckets on us to get the mud off of our clothes. There was just such a sense of joy, laughter, and relief all around Amigos.
- Any advice for future volunteers?
If you're thinking about becoming a volunteer, DO IT! The work of a volunteer is no joke and you will give more of yourself than you ever thought you had to give, but these kids will give you purpose. In the end, you'll leave with so much more than you could have ever thought you had to gain.