2018-2019 Volunteer Team

Meet our 2018-2019 Volunteer Team!

Where are they from?
This school year BECA welcomes our most diverse team ever. For the first time ever the majority of our volunteers are from the Honduras (10)! We also have volunteers from the United States (8), Dominican Republic (1) and Venezuela (1)!

Santa Monica Bilingual School

Katie McClave is a born and bred Midwesterner. A Kansas girl at heart, she attended Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where she graduated in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology and Spanish and a minor in Political Science. Since graduating, she has served as a long term volunteer in various capacities, first with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Harlem as Tenant Organizer, and second as an elementary ESL and Art teacher with the Olancho Aid Foundation in Juticalpa, Olancho, Honduras. Each experience brought community, growth, and lots of adventure. Katie is a lover of languages and culture and is excited to continue her journey in Honduras, this time in Cofradia, as the Program Administrator at SMBS. She is looking forward to seeing more of the beautiful country she’s grown to love, and getting to know her new community. Katie cherishes time spent with others and is looking forward to building relationships with students, parents, and fellow volunteers this year. She also loves dancing, McDonald’s French fries, dinosaurs, reading, and traveling wherever life takes her.

Leticia Villarreal was born in Harlingen, Texas and raised in Bedford, Ohio. She graduated from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies. She currently works as a Case Supervisor at the K&L Center for Autism and Related Education where she provides 1:1 Adaptive Skills Training services for children and young adults with special needs.

In her spare time, Leticia enjoys creating original works of art, discovering new music, traveling, reading, writing and spending time in nature. She is passionate about women’s education and looks forwards to working with BECA to help educate the next generation of community leaders in Honduras.

Amir is a traveler at heart with a burning desire to cause a real impact on the way his home country is developing. He strongly believes that proper education is the best long-term solution to poverty, violence, and other social issues. He has spent a lot of time exploring Honduras, embracing and getting to know more of his own culture. Throughout his trips and adventures he has learned to always see the best in people and how great they can be. Most importantly, Amir knows that if everybody is given the opportunity to access quality bilingual education, it can lead to a very positive change in our society. He’s very excited and grateful for the chance to volunteer with BECA at Santa Monica Bilingual School. As the 3rd and 4th grade teacher he hopes to motivate and inspire the kids like he was many years ago. Encouraging leadership, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity, curiosity, and problem solving skills are some of his main goals for this 2018-2019 school year.
“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” - B.B. King

In May 2018 Erin graduated from Miami University of Ohio with a BA in International Studies concentrating on Latin America. She has always loved to travel and made her first trip out of the country when she was 13 years old with her family to Honduras. Since then, she has been to many different countries and quickly fell in love with learning about new cultures and languages. Once she discovered BECA, she became captivated by its mission and decided that volunteering with such a wonderful organization is exactly what she needed to do. That being said, she is incredibly excited to start this new journey teaching at Santa Monica Bilingual School and creating meaningful relationships with her students and the other volunteers through cultural exchange. In her spare time, Erin loves to listen to music and dance as well as practice yoga when she can.

Nely was born in San Pedro Sula and raised in Cofradía, Honduras. She is 21 years old. She went to San Jeronimo Bilingual School (SJBS), and graduated from 9th grade there in 2013. She then attended from high school at Centro Cultural Sampedrano (CCS) where she graduated in 2015. Nowadays she is studying to get her degree in Art Education at the Francisco Morazán National Pedagogical University. Nely is excited to be working as a volunteer teach with BECA. She will serve as the Prepa teacher at Santa Monica Bilingual School.

Susan was born in San Pedro Sula. She has lived in Cofradia for 18 years. She studied at San Jeronimo Bilingual School from Prepa to 9th Grade. When She graduated from SJBS she entered to Cofradia's Bilingual School (CBS) for 10th & 11th Grade. Now she is preparing to study at the Universidad Pedagogica Nacional Francisco Morazan (the National Pedagogical University). She is so excited to work with First grade this year at SMBS!

Carina is an enthusiast that considers herself to be both from Chihuahua, Mexico and Colorado, USA. She was born in Colorado, but has spent most of her life in Mexico. She’s lived in the USA for the last 8 years where she graduated from Colorado State University with a dual degree in General Psychology and Communication Studies. During her undergraduate career she became passionate about different cultures, traveling, and social justice. She is very excited about teaching 2nd graders at Santa Monica since it combines all of those three passions. In her free time, Carina loves to dance, practice yoga, and read in addition to building meaningful relationships.

Oscar Fajardo was born in Honduras and raised in Cofradia, Cortes. He is 22 years old. He is graduate from SJBS and then studied at the Pedagogic University Francisco Morazán, in San Pedro Sula. He is currently a Masters student and volunteering with BECA as the Middle School English Language Arts teacher.

San Jeronimo Bilingual School

Ashley was born and raised in Greeley, Colorado. She completed a bachelors in Psychology with a concentration in mind, brain and behavior at Colorado State University. During college Ashley was very involved and got to participate in a variety of service trips in Samburu, Kenya and Portland, Oregon. She also had several jobs working in SLiCE (Student Leadership, Involvement, and Community Engagement) and Respite care, throughout her college career .

In her spare time Ashley enjoys various outdoors activities (especially hiking), reading (of course), and dancing. Ashley is passionate about learning and looks forward to share her excitement of literature with her students as this year's middle school English teacher.

Cassandra Benavides was born in San Jose, California but raised in Meridian, Idaho. She graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia with a double major in Psychology and Spanish. During college she was able to study abroad in Madrid, Spain and on multiple occasions visited family in Mexico to practice Spanish. While in school she volunteered with the sisters of Saint Joseph’s teaching beginning English classes and has volunteered at bilingual schools in the area. She also worked at the Kinney Center for Autism Support and Education for several years where she developed a passion for working with the special needs community. Cassandra has a passion for traveling, music and education and she can’t wait to start teaching with BECA and contribute to this great program.

Nicolle was born and raised in Cofradía Honduras. She graduated from Cofradia’s Bilingual School (CBS) in 2008. After CBS, she attended and graduated high school in Cofradía.
Nowadays she is studying both Psychology at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras Valle de Sula (UNAHVS) and she is getting a certificate in Early Childhood Education at Francisco Morazan National Pedagogical University. Nicolle is excited to be working with BECA to improve education in Cofradía. It’s her first year teaching and she’s the happiest working with pre-K.

Irma was born and raised in the beautiful town of Cofradia, Honduras. As a kid she studied at San Jeronimo Bilingual School and eventually graduated in 2014. After SJBS she attended and graduated from high school in San Pedro Sula and is now studying to get a certificate in Early Childhood Education at the Francisco Morazán National Pedagogical University. She is very thankful to SJBS for teaching her about values (RESPECT) , different cultures, and, of course, English. She claims that those were the best 10 years of her life and can't wait to return to SJBS as a the kindergarten teacher.

Andres was born and raised in Cofradía, Honduras. He graduated from San Jeronimo Bilingual School (SJBS) in 2012 and went on to attend high school and university, earning a degree in Education from the Francisco Morazan National Pedagogical University, before returning to BECA as a full-time classroom teacher. When Andres was a student at SJBS he was really inspired by the volunteer teachers and always wanted to be like them. It was a dream of his to teach with BECA. Now it’s great for him to be a part of this team because he can experience BECA from a different point of view and have the opportunity to meet great people from diverse backgrounds. Andres is a proud SJBS graduate. He considers SJBS “one of the best schools in Cofradía because they didn’t just teach me English, they taught me about me about another culture and new things that I wouldn’t have learned in another school.” According to Andres, Honduras is a great adventure full of wonderful people and beautiful places with so much to give to people that haven’t yet visited. He wouldn’t have wanted to grow up anywhere else since there’s no place like Honduras.

Natalia is thrilled to be back at SJBS as the Program Administrator! She can probably be found playing with her students, eating with their families, adventuring on the weekends, or working out at one of Cofradía’s new gyms while she’s not at school. Natalia was a BECA camp counselor in 2010 and 2011, the Administrator at ADJ from 2014 to 2015, and the Administrator at SJBS from 2015-2016. She said a tearful goodbye to her students and their families in 2016 and moved to Tucson, Arizona, where she worked for the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project on the children’s team until her return to BECA. Through her work in Arizona, Natalia learned about the immigration system in the U.S. and worked with children and families from Central America. Natalia has long been interested in education, child welfare, and social justice and youth justice issues. She graduated from Clark University in 2013 with a BA in International Development and Social Change, and in 2014 with a MA in Community Development and Planning.

Amigos de Jesus

After spending a summer serving black and latino youth in the South Bronx at a free summer day camp, Bria had obtained a new perspective of service, one that looked at the strengths of individuals and shined a light on the assets of a community. While attending the engineering school of New York University, she constantly found herself seeking ways to compliment her education with diverse experiences as a mentor, senatorial intern, big sister, tutor, and orientation leader, and along the way developed a genuine love for simply walking alongside others.

Since graduating in 2016 with a degree in Science and Technology Studies, Bria has facilitated life skills classes for young girls at a local library, sought out financial partners for the creation of a new summer camp in the low-income communities of Boston, Massachusetts, assisted with youth programming at her church, and planned cultural initiatives within her most recent role as a high school advocate counselor. When she is not doing those things, you can find her reflecting, writing music, watching the newest superhero movie, or spending quality time with friends and family.

These past years have been nothing short of a beautiful journey, but she knows it is just a glimpse of what life could look like when you find your ‘spark’. Now that she will be teaching in Honduras for a year, she is excited to finally feed her curiosity of Latin American culture and create moments full of living, loving, laughing, and learning.

Pierina is a former teacher in Dominican Republic, the country where she was born and raised. She graduated from UNIBE last summer and received an Early Childhood Education degree. One year after she entered college she started working in a Reggio-inspired school. There she has learned to offer children meaningful experiences through play, respecting their nature and stage of development. She sees both education and children as powerful paths to change society. She is passionate about helping others, especially those who haven’t had the best opportunities in life. In her free time she likes to share with her friends and family, bake, and look up decor ideas. She’s eager about this new chapter in her personal and professional life and is looking forward to take the most out of it.

Ana was born and raised in Venezuela. She studied Modern Languages in the Universidad de Los Andes in Merida, Venezuela; and focused on International Organizations. Ana found a deep love for everything related to the cause of fighting for, and advocating for, Human Rights, specially Women’s Rights; as well as animal rights. She loves reading and music. She spent one semester teaching English to kids from public schools in Chile. She is looking forward to be part of the BECA team for the 2018 - 2019 school year, and she’s ready for the adventures and new experiences waiting ahead!

Eric graduated from University of Delaware with a BS in Biochemistry in 2011. During this time, he visited Honduras for the first time as a volunteer with Global Water Brigades. Afterwards, he sold analytical instrumentation and consumables for Agilent Technologies to biotech and biopharma companies in the Boston area. Eric will be teaching math, English, and science at the Amigos de Jesus location for the 2018-2019 school year. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, hiking, brewing, trying new foods, climbing, and learning salsa and bachata. He´s excited to practice Spanish, learn to cook new foods, and experience Honduran culture.

In May 2017 Rachel graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC with a degree in Early Childhood Education. During her time in DC, she fell in love with ultimate Frisbee, service, and her Catholic faith. Shortly after graduation, she jumped on a plane to Honduras to do a year of service with Amigos de Jesús!

While volunteering with Amigos, Rachel taught various levels of EducaTodos (a Honduran mandated educational program where struggling students are pulled out and put into a classroom that is more focused on a slow pace and individualized attention), worked as the librarian, and helped with social media and photography. Throughout this last year, Rachel has fallen in love with Honduras, its culture, and the children at Amigos de Jesus. She is excited to be staying at Amigos for another year, but this time around as a BECA volunteer!

In her spare time, Rachel enjoys a variety of activities. She will never back down from a chance at a friendly competition whether it have to do with sports, games, or anything you can imagine! She enjoys exercise of any kind, being outdoors, doing puzzles, travelling, singing, dancing, doing crafts, and anything that could be considered an adventure!

Amelia is a recent graduate of Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Educational Psychology and a double minor in General Psychology and International Studies. She has volunteered at Amigos de Jesus (ADJ) before through their short-term volunteer program and is ecstatic about being back for a second year at ADJ working in BECA’s school. She loves to travel and learn about languages, cultures, and foods different than her own. She is passionate about the welfare and education of all children as well as equality and social justice throughout the world. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, being outside with her two sweet rescue doggos, planning events, and relaxing with her friends. She hopes to continue her studies in Educational Psychology and International Studies by attending graduate school and interning with organizations that focus on the safety, education, and holistic well-being of children in conflict environments.

Mirian is a 23 years old Honduran citizen. She studied Business Leadership at a non-profit organization called The Leadership Center (TLC) in Honduras and through TLC, she found BECA. She was a BECA volunteer during the 2016 - 2017 school year, and now she has returned to BECA because she loves the mission. Mirian tells people from her hometown of Azacualpa, Santa Barbara that this is the type of system we need implement in every single school in Honduras so that bilingual education is accessible for every kid! Mirian is very passionate about high quality education because of the lack of access to education and even more limited access to high quality of education. BECA is playing a very significant role in our country. My hope is that other schools see BECA as a model and implement BECA's mission and vision. I think that having access to high quality of education in Honduras is a powerful and an advanced tool and that we have hope to change so many things in this country starting. BECA is awesome!