MEET AN AMIGO ~ Tim Havlat (2016-18 BECA Volunteer)

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Now in his second year of service, Mr. Tim is the current Program Administrator for BECA at the Amigos de Jesús Bilingual School.  Mr. Tim joined BECA last year as the 5th grade teacher at our school where his wide spread knowledge, passion for soccer, and relaxed demeanor made him popular among our students. His dedication to our children’s education and desire to create long-term systems in order to ensure the growth and sustainability of the BECA/ADJ partnership made him a great fit for the administrative position this year. In addition to all of the work he does for our school, Mr. Tim can also be found out and about in the ‘hogar,’ playing soccer with the 'jovenes', helping with homework, or talking about books, science, or world news with our kids.  

Read more about Mr. Tim in his interview below:

  1. Age: 30
  2. Hometown: Chicago, IL
  3. University: Carnegie Mellon University
  4. Degree: Chemistry

What is your role at Amigos? 

I am the BECA Program Administrator for Escuela ADJ, the bilingual school that is a part of Amigos.  BECA is a nonprofit organization focused on providing a high-quality education to children in Honduras and currently supports two other schools in Honduras besides the school here at Amigos.  As such, I work closely to communicate between Amigos volunteers and staff, the neighborhood students and their families, Profe Osman, the Honduran Director of Escuela ADJ, with the administrators at the other two BECA schools, and the entire BECA team.  Furthermore, much of my focus is on improving the level of support to the group of 7 volunteer teachers who also live here at Amigos and on improving the education and experience of our students.

How did you first hear about Amigos de Jesús?  

Mr. Tim helping students in his 5th grade class last year during the science fair.  They made bottle rockets and shot them off in front of the whole school. 

Mr. Tim helping students in his 5th grade class last year during the science fair.  They made bottle rockets and shot them off in front of the whole school. 

I learned about Amigos de Jesus through BECA – prior to applying for the BECA volunteer program I had no knowledge of Amigos.  I couldn’t be happier that I ended up volunteering at the BECA school here at Amigos last year and am grateful to be able to return for a second year.

What were you doing before you came to Amigos?  

Prior to Amigos, I worked for a handful of years in finance for IMC, a Dutch company that specialized in market making derivative products.  While I enjoyed many aspects in my role as a trader, I ultimately wanted to be involved in something that had a larger societal impact than solely generating revenue and to work in an environment that didn’t view the world as zero-sum. By a chance encounter at a 4th of July barbaque I heard about BECA, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Preparing the bottle rockets.

Preparing the bottle rockets.

What made you decide to stay for a second year?

While there were many reasons that I decided to stay a second year, there are two main components.  First, I saw a lot of parts of BECA that could be improved and wanted to help drive positive changes within the organization.  Secondly, I was inspired by all the amazing people here at Amigos and the sense of community that propagates through the school and 'hogar'.  While it is easy to focus on the students, who are more than deserving of all the recognition and love that they give and receive, I have an unbelievable amount of respect for the amount of support that is provided by each and every individual here at Amigos.  In teaching, consistency is a key aspect in any classroom.  I decided to stay for another year in order to have a sense of personal consistency for my time here in serving with and alongside everyone at ADJ.

Advice to future volunteers or anyone considering applying for long-term service with BECA/Amigos de Jesús?

Amigos is a special place.  But ADJ does not exist for the comfort or experience of the volunteers; it exists to create a home for over 100 individuals with their own unique personalities, pasts, triumphs, and aspirations.  I have grown immensely during my time here and have learned many lessons about service, privilege, and gratitude.  At ADJ, you will have the chance to love kindness, do justice, and walk humbly with God.  Come to Amigos with an open mind and an open heart and you will leave forever changed.

What’s something you hope for for your students? Or, phrased a different way, what’s your dream for your students?

As an educator, I always hope that all my students can master the learning objectives detailed in the curriculum.  But more than the individual lessons, I hope to see my students grow in their awareness, empathy, consideration, and confidence.  My goal for every student is that they leave the classroom feeling supported in their personal growth and that they are maturing in their individual identities while embracing a sense of community and responsibility with their classmates.

Longer term, I dream that my students have the tools to achieve their personal dreams throughout their lives as well as to have the awareness and ability to support the dreams of others.    

Mr. Tim with his 5th grade class last year. 

Mr. Tim with his 5th grade class last year. 

Mr. Tim, pictured on the left, with several of the Honduran and American teachers that work at the Amigos de Jesús Bilingual School dressed up for Día del Niño (Children's Day) this year. 

Mr. Tim, pictured on the left, with several of the Honduran and American teachers that work at the Amigos de Jesús Bilingual School dressed up for Día del Niño (Children's Day) this year.