Meet an Amiga ~ Miss Genevieve
Project and Operations Coordinator
Miss Genevieve is a beloved member of the Amigos de Jesús family who wears many hats in her role here. From helping ensure visitors are welcomed and cared for to managing the bodega to coordinating special projects and supporting the volunteer community, she is kept busy!
She has a special relationship with the boys of Hogar San Juan el Apóstol, and you will here the little ones calling out after her as she is crossing the Hogar. If the little ones aren’t chasing after her, the older boys will be asking when they can have a “convivencia” to bake cookies with her again. Her intentionality and desire for authenticity has allowed her to form deeper friendships with Honduran staff. She is a trusted adult in the lives of many of the older boys as she has walked with them in their journeys to becoming the young men who are setting examples for the younger members of the family.
Read more about Miss Genevieve in her interview below:
Hometown: Wheeling, WV
What is your role at Amigos and what roles have you previously held? What job have you enjoyed the most? Right now, I am Project and Operations Coordinator. I’m in charge of visitors, donations and storage space, new projects and initiatives like implementing fire drills and a teacher observation program.
I was a volunteer for 9 months before becoming an employee. During that time I wrote articles for the Amigos website and Facebook page, helped out in the kids’ homes, substituted at the school, and basically helped out wherever I was needed. I loved writing portraits of the kids for the Facebook page. I felt like I got to know them a little better and appreciate all their wonderful little quirks and characteristics.
Now I like seeing a project that many people have contributed to come to fruition and being able to move onto the next project.
How did you first hear about Amigos de Jesús? I’ve been friends with Madrina Amy and Padrino Wilson for a number of years, so I heard about Amigos through them.
What made you decide to make Amigos your home for more than a year? I wanted to be a more consistent presence in the lives of the kids and young people.
What is your favorite part of your job? The flexibility—no day is ever the same. And of course, having the opportunity to spend time with the kids while working as well as in my free time.
I know it’s hard, but can you share a favorite memory? The first year I was here, it hadn’t rained in months. Finally one day in May or June the kids were all outside playing in an organized game tournament. When the sky opened, the kids went crazy—there were water fights, mud fights, dancing in the rain. Everyone was completely soaked and extremely happy, even those of us covered in mud.
What’s something you’ve learned as a volunteer/employee and what is something that the kids have taught you? I’ve learned that planning is overrated, at least here in Honduras. The kids have taught me the unbelievable power of resiliency, love, and forgiveness.
Talk about someone that you’ve seen change and grow during your time. Julian* arrived about 2 years ago when he was 18 months old. He was delayed in speech and behind in some behavioral milestones. Now, at almost 4 years old, he is a great communicator and has caught up significantly in developmental milestones. He’s affectionate, quick to learn, and more than a bit mischievous!
Can you talk about how you've seen the Hogar and kids change during your time at Amigos? The hogar has changed tremendously in the few years I’ve been a part of it. The school has expanded and grown, the chapel has been finished, our programming in the hogar and at school has developed exponentially. But most of all, so many of the children have grown into bright, capable young men and women before my eyes.
What’s something you hope for the kids of Amigos de Jesús? I would like for them to be able to grow and thrive in Honduras, and for them to eventually be able to help Honduras grow and thrive. More than anything, I want them to love themselves and be happy in this life.
What is something you are looking forward to this coming year? Being more involved in supporting the volunteers. They bring tremendous energy and enthusiasm to the Hogar, and I want to be a part of their support system here so that they can be healthy and continue to bring that light and positivity to our community here.
Can you talk about a way that Amigos has changed you during your time here? I am much more aware of my privilege as a white North American than I was when I first arrived, as well as the consequences of that privilege. I am a much stronger person mentally and spiritually since I came to Amigos. I have been challenged more than I ever thought possible, but those challenges have molded and shaped me into a stronger and healthier person, hopefully one who has an even great commitment to loving service.
Can you share about a specific relationship you have with a child/joven and how that has shaped your time here? I treasure my relationships with the young men and older boys, especially Miguel, David, and Adonis, because I feel like their respect is very difficult to earn. I feel blessed that many of them have allowed me to be a part of their lives in a small way. I appreciate hearing about how they are doing in high school and at the university, what they are studying, their hopes and goals for the future. I am awed by their ability to stay the course and keep going despite facing many obstacles that are out of their control. I learn something from them every day and am grateful for their example.
What have been some of the challenges and joys of living in another culture? Hondurans are very affectionate and love to open their homes to everyone. But they are also slow to trust, which is extremely understandable given the level of corruption that permeates every aspect of their society and daily life. At times it’s been difficult not to be able to connect on a deeper level with more Honduran adults. However, this challenge makes the relationships I have been able to build here all the more fulfilling.
*Name changed to protect privacy