Rachael Salamone is a volunteer of many talents. During her 20 months at Amigos, she has served as 'hogar' photographer; preschool, computer, health, and P.E. teacher; staff fitness instructor; After School Activities Coordinator; and most importantly, loving friend to the kids. No matter the role she is taking on, Rachael carries with her an unmatched sense of energy, dedication, and love. Rachael's most well-known position has probably been that of photographer -- almost all of the pictures you see on the Amigos Facebook page are hers! She has played an essential part in organizing the way we take, store, and share photos of life here at Amigos. We are so sad to say that in one short month, Rachael will be leaving us to return home to the U.S., but we feel blessed for the time we have shared with her here in Honduras.
Learn more about Rachael in her interview below:
- Age: 23
- Hometown: Buffalo, New York
- University: The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
- Majors: History and Media Studies
- What have been your main roles at Amigos de Jesús since you arrived in July 2015?
Last year, I had a large role in the Amigos de Jesús Bilingual School. I taught preschool, Physical Education to grades 1-4, and computers to EducaTodos levels 1-3. In addition to these responsibilities, I also was the head photographer for the 'hogar,' as well as on the social media team.
This year, I am the head photographer and on the social media team again, as well as the 'hogar' health and fitness instructor. At the school, I am the After School Activities Coordinator, the preschool teacher, and the health teacher for grades 1-5 and all three levels of EducaTodos.
- How did you first hear about Amigos de Jesús?
I first heard about Amigos through the Catholic Volunteer Network and a former long-term volunteer who was an alumnus of my university.
- What were you doing before you came to Amigos de Jesús?
Before coming to Amigos, I was a college student and a soldier in the U.S. Army.
- What made you decide to stay longer as a volunteer?
This might sound cliché, but I felt deep down inside that my time here at Amigos was not finished; August was not my time to leave. Coming to the end of my six months, I can truly see why I stayed. I have learned so much in my final six months and I have enjoyed myself more than I ever could have imagined.
- What is your favorite part of your job?
Wow, what a hard question! I love so many things about what I do here. If I was to choose one thing, it would be that my job never really ends. Some days it is exhausting to be on and to be working 24/7, BUT the opportunity and privilege to volunteer at such an amazing organization and to be an intricate part of the kids' day-to-day lives here is a huge gift that I will forever be thankful for.
- What is a favorite memory you have of your time at Amigos?
Some of my fondest memories have been doing Zumba with the kids. The connection and happiness music and dance can bring to a group of individuals, regardless of who you are or where you come from is one of the most beautiful things I have been able to witness. The kids here love to dance, they love music, and they love singing, so to be able to enjoy some things they really love with them has created some of my best memories as a volunteer.