Carly and I are lucky enough to say that we feel loved and appreciated by over a hundred little girls on a weekly basis. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of inevitable chaos that goes along with large groups of excited girls, but despite the madness there is never a lack of hugs and kisses and the occasional dog pile. Just one kiss hello and goodbye is never enough from these crazy little balls of energy! Recently, I started calling one Monita (Little Monkey) because she crawls up our legs and dangles from our backs. From the rare calm kiss on the cheek to the sneak attack, there is never a dull moment with these Chicas Dinamicas… and we love it all!
Before we get too carried away in the excitement of the upcoming year, Carly and I would like to thank Kat and Kaitlyn for a great year and for getting us into the swing of things. It’s an honor to follow in your footsteps! We also thought it would be good to introduce ourselves.
Profe Ali: Buenas! My name is Ali, and I am from Washington, DC. I grew up juggling as many sports as I could handle until college. I attended Fairleigh Dickinson University on a volleyball scholarship. After graduation I moved to Panama where I spent about two years teaching English. My experience in Panama sparked my interest in international education, so I returned to the states in pursuit of a masters from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS). I have finished my coursework at MIIS and my work with GSW serves as my practicum. I graduate in December, but will stay on with GSW through summer 2015. I am so excited to be working with the girls and to be able to watch them grow. I gained my confidence through sports, and I hope that through my time here I can help these girls do the same–and more!
Profe Carly: Hola! Working with GSW is my dream job. I get to live in South America, play sports, and work with youth, which are three things that I love! I grew up playing an array of sports and played lacrosse in college at the University of Rochester. After college, I moved to Brooklyn, NY and joined the amazing and huge ultimate frisbee community there. I worked for two non-profits in NYC over my three years. First, I helped provide free legal services to low-income New Yorkers at The City Bar Justice Center, the non-profit arm of the New York City Bar Association. I helped young immigrants apply for a form of short-term immigration relief in that job, which sparked my love of working with young people. Subsequently,I worked as a Regional Director for Strive for College, a nationwide non-profit that recruits and trains college students mentor low-income high school juniors and seniors through the college application process. I’m thrilled to be working in Peru with GSW and sharing my love of sports with the girls!
So there you have it. We are so excited to have be working and bonding with the girls. It’s difficult at times to express what it is really like to interact with the girls every day, but moments like this absolutely highlight our week:
Carly and I are sitting in a circle with the girls at the end of class listening to the chicas discuss what they learned and how it could be applicable to their daily lives. WIthout realizing it, I start blowing into my hands to warm them from the cold. A little girl sitting next to me leans over and whispers into my ear “Tiene frio, Profe?’ (Are you cold, Profe?) and then takes my hands and starts rubbing them with her own to warm them.
It’s moments like these when I realize that Carly and I are definitely not the only profes sitting in the circle. This is a learning experience for all of us and I can’t wait to watch us grow together!