Hi fellow SU alumni! I graduated in 2008 with a double major in Spanish and Philosophy. I was able to volunteer as a translator for the Professionals Without Borders Club on two trips to Managua, Nicaragua. The trips were amazing, and after graduation I felt compelled to return to Nicaragua. So in September 2009, I moved from Seattle to Managua. I currently work with the Asociacion Familia Padre Fabretto, a non-profit organization that was founded by Catholic priest Father Fabretto in the 1050s. Fabretto works to break the cycle of poverty for Nicaragua children and families in both urban and rural communities.
I work at a center called Nica HOPE, that is located next to the municipal trash dump, known as La Chureca. Workers in La Chureca sort all day in the sun and heat looking for recyclable goods to resell. Respiratory and skin disease are rampant, lead poisoning common, and there is a high level of domestic and sexual abuse of women and children. Workers generally earn less than $2 a day. I run a vocational jewelry program for youth and single mothers from the dump community. Instead of working at the dump, the students in our program come 2-4 times a week and learn how to make beautiful pieces of jewelry. We sell those items in country, online, and through partners in the US. This year we were able to work with 102 students from the community and sold $60,000 in jewelry items, with half going directly to the students.
Without my experiences at SU, I don't think I would have ever made it here. Before the trips, I didn't know a thing about Nicaragua, and without my Spanish skills I don't think I would have been able to be as helpful at my center. I thank SU for helping me develop leadership skills and the confidence to move to another country and work for a cause I truly believe in.
Mallory Erickson, ’08.