Meet the Amigos ~ 2018-19 BECA Volunteers

 L eft to right: Miss Amelia (2nd grade teacher), Miss Bria (4th-7th grade teacher), Miss Pierina (1st grade teacher), and Miss Rachel (4th and 5th grade teacher), Miss Ana (Prepa/Administrator), and Mr. Eric (3rd grade) [not pictured: Mirian Paz (6th and 7th grade)].

Left to right: Miss Amelia (2nd grade teacher), Miss Bria (4th-7th grade teacher), Miss Pierina (1st grade teacher), and Miss Rachel (4th and 5th grade teacher), Miss Ana (Prepa/Administrator), and Mr. Eric (3rd grade) [not pictured: Mirian Paz (6th and 7th grade)].

We are very happy to present the group of seven BECA volunteers that have joined us for the 2018-19 school year at the Amigos de Jesús Bilingual School. This year’s group of BECA volunteers includes individuals from four different countries and is a combination of new and returning volunteers. BECA volunteers help staff our bilingual school and we are incredibly grateful for the hard work they put into giving our children a quality bilingual education. These volunteers teach ‘Prepa’ (Kindergarten) through 7th grade English, Math, Science, and Art, among other things. BECA volunteers live onsite at Amigos, meaning that, while their “official” job begins and ends with the sound of the school bell, the special student-teacher relationship they develop with our children extends behind the classroom and into the everyday home life of all of us who live at the ‘hogar.’ Gracias for your work BECA volunteers!

To learn more about BECA, check out their website and/or Facebook Page.

ERIC BUGGLIN-BORER, 2018-2019

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Graduated from The University of Delaware with B.S. in Biochemistry and minor in History

What were you doing before you came to Amigos?

I previously worked for Agilent Technologies in various sales roles. I was responsible for selling chromatography and mass spectroscopy instrumentation to clinical and biopharmaceutical companies. In my free time, I enjoyed travelling, rock climbing, and cooking.

What was your motivation for coming to Amigos?

I originally heard about Amigos de Jesús during Men’s Retreats with Father Dennis at St. Joseph’s in the Hills. The manner in which Father Dennis spoke of the hogar and the people inspired me to explore volunteering. He had thought about teaching before and found it was one of his favorite parts of sales, so I decided to focus fully on it.

Job Responsibilities at Amigos:

I teach Math, Science, and English to the Third Graders at Amigos de Jesús.

PIERINA CAMILO CARAM, 2018-2019

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Graduated From: Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE), Dominican Republic

Major: Early Childhood Education

What were you doing before you came to Amigos?

I was a preschool teacher in Dominican Republic, the country where I was born and raised.

What was your motivation for coming to Amigos?

I actually came through BECA, but in my interview process I showed interest in Amigos because I’ve always had a particular interest in vulnerable population. I know how important education is, and being part of these children’s growth and life-changing process will be very meaningful. In this past few weeks, I am assured that coming here is going to be even more life-changing for me than for the kids.

Job Responsibilities at Amigos:

First Grade Teacher and Third Grade Resource Teacher.

BRIA JACOBS, 2018-2019

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Graduated from New York University with a degree in Science and Technology Studies

What were you doing before you came to Amigos?

Before coming to Amigos I worked in New York City for two years as an advocate counselor and employment specialist at a high school for students who are deemed overaged and undercredited.

What was your motivation for coming to Amigos?

I wanted an opportunity to learn and walk alongside a different population of students in a different capacity, which is why I applied to volunteer with BECA.  I requested to live and teach at Amigos because I knew I would have the privilege of also spending time with the kids outside of the classroom.

Job Responsibilities at Amigos:

I am the Mathematics teacher for Fourth through Seventh Grade.

ANA SOFIA PINEDA MARTINEZ, 2018-2019

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Graduated from ULA VE with a degree in Modern Languages, International Organizations

What were you doing before you came to Amigos?

I was working in Santiago de Chile at a Hostel, and before the hostel, I was working as an English teacher in a public school in Punta Arenas, Chile.

What was your motivation for coming to Amigos?

I came through BECA and I felt like this was the place I should be in, based on beliefs and values.

Job Responsibilities at Amigos:

I am the BECA Administrator for Amigos and also the Prepa (Kindergarten) Teacher. I am in charge of the group of BECA Volunteers at Amigos (six volunteers total) among other responsibilities.

MIRAN ARGENTINA PAZ, 2018-2019

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Graduated From The Leadership Center, Honduras with a degree in Business and Leadership

What were you doing before you came to Amigos?

I was working in a company from the United States that fundraises money for different causes. I ended up quitting my job, because I found that the company was not managing the funds in an ethical way. I had worked with BECA before, and so I decided to come back to BECA and work at one of the schools, Amigos de Jesús.

What was your motivation for coming to Amigos?

I think that my values are the ones that drive where I am right now. I always am open to new changes and new opportunities to learn more about myself and about life itself. I also am very passionate about being a change agent. Since I live in Honduras and know the life here, I realized I have a lot of opportunity to grow as a person and make changes in my country.

Job Responsibilities at Amigos:

I am the Sixth and Seventh Grade English and Science Teacher at Amigos de Jesús.

AMELIA CHRISTIANE SIERRA, 2017-2019

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Graduated From Mississippi State University with a B.A. in Educational Psychology and a double minor in General Psychology and International Studies

What were you doing before you came to Amigos?

Before my first year here with BECA, I had taken some time after graduating university to live back at home and spend time with my parents. I worked both as a substitute teacher for my hometown school district as well as a Secretary/Translator for a local attorney focusing in immigration cases. I used the time to develop a healthy post-grad routine, invest in myself, and spend as much time as I could with my family and friends...and my dogs!

What was your motivation for coming to Amigos?

When I came in summer of 2015 for Escuelita despite all the challenging days, I just felt so at peace and so sure of where I was. I prayed for that to be a feeling from God, a feeling that was to guide me into spending more time living and learning at Amigos. I struggled when I returned back home to adjust back to life at home and just being so far away from the kids and everything Amigos. I felt strongly, however, that IF I was meant to return it would be at the right time. So, I focused on my studies, motivated to learn all that I could in my last 2 years of university in order to bring it back to Amigos and be better equipped to share in what I had learned and to have a wider depth of knowledge to pull from as I learned even more. “Making the decision” to commit to a year with BECA at Amigos de Jesus wasn’t really even a decision- just more of a conviction. In reality, there were a lot of “motivators” in my “decision” to come to Amigos, but the clearest answer I have is that the biggest motivator was God, and my desire to follow where HE leads. I’m so thankful this is where he’s lead me.

Job Responsibilities at Amigos:

Second Grade Teacher // Instructional Lead - with our BECA program

RACHEL YOUNGBERG, 2018-2019

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Graduated From The Catholic University of America with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education

What were you doing before you came to Amigos?

Before Amigos, I was enjoying my final year of college in Washington, D.C. I played on the ultimate frisbee team (Nun Betta!), danced on the dance team, and took advantage of all the cultural and artistic events DC has to offer.

What was your motivation for coming to Amigos?

I’ve always known that I wanted to do some sort of international service during my lifetime. I hoped to combine my teaching career and Catholic faith with international service. I struggled to find an organization that set my heart ablaze, until I came across Amigos. Once I found Amigos through the Catholic Volunteer Network, I couldn’t stop researching everything about it!

I first came to Amigos in 2017 as an Amigos Volunteer. During this time, I worked as the English teacher for EducaTodos, supported the photography and social media lead, and acted as the librarian. Although I loved my time as an Amigos Volunteer, I wanted to teach more frequently. Now I am volunteering with BECA (Bilingual Education for Central America) so that I can continue my life here at Amigos, but also work as a full-time teacher.

Job Responsibilities at Amigos:

I am now the English and Science teacher for Fourth and Fifth grade and loving it!

 The BECA Community at the Amigos Festival de Canción, August 2018

The BECA Community at the Amigos Festival de Canción, August 2018

 Dressed up for Día del Nino, September 2018

Dressed up for Día del Nino, September 2018