by Ambar Picazo, a member of the SkillCorps DR October 2015 team

Leading up to this trip, I had a plethora of ideas of why I wanted to be part of the SkillCorps experience.  The usual suspects were always on the forefront of my mind when I was asked this question: I wanted to travel and help others in a different part of the world.  Joining SkillCorps was a great opportunity to do both.

Leading up to this trip, I was incredibly excited about all of the experiences I would be having, the people I would be meeting and the change that I would be helping to affect internationally, starting with the one small part of the world that I was going to.

Leading up to this trip I prepared by reviewing where we would be staying, looking into the center we would be working with, looking into the online presence of the people I would be traveling with and thought, yeah, I’m totally ready and I’m really going to make a difference!

Leading up to this trip, I was feeling pretty self-satisfied.
It was not until I stepped into orientation on the first day that I thought…what am I doing!?  As I sat through introductions and got a feel for the five women I would be spending the next 18 days with, I began to worry that I had grossly overestimated my abilities and myself.

Then Molly Ola Pinney, the CEO of the Global Autism Project, spoke.  She explained to us how the Global Autism Project began.  Then Sara Costello, Director of International Partnerships, spoke. She regaled us with tales of her the first ever SkillCorps trip to Africa and the many other trips she has been on since then. Then Teresa Day, our trip leader, spoke. She shared some hilarious and candid tales of the different trips she had been a part of and spoke about the type of work that her team did on their previous trip with the treatment centre in Santo Domingo, the same centre we would be working with.

I realized through the self-exploration and sharing that occurred during orientation that I was in a room with like-minded professional women, each feeling in one way or another, the same as I was.  We were all there to help.  We were all open to what this experience was.  We were together in this.
In the span of a couple of hours, my initial feelings of apprehension and inadequacy vanished and were replaced with a sense of excitement.  Not the superficial, self-serving type of excitement I had been feeling before my trip to New York City for orientation, but a deeper, more genuine feeling of excitement filled with a profound sense of gratitude for the very real experience we were about to be embarking on.  The type of excitement that I can only imagine would make me flap my hands and jump up and down if I was born with a different set of abilities.

The truth of the matter is, and for a lot of reasons, I needed SkillCorps, not the other way around.

And we are here.


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