By Cherelle Williams, a member of the SkillCorps Dominican Republic Feb. 2017 team
When I first heard of SkillCorps, I honestly didn’t know what to make of it. I am a person who loves to travel, loves working with children with autism, and loves meeting new people. I thought SkillCorps was the perfect mash-up of all these things, so I just had to apply! It wasn’t until the second day of orientation that I began to develop a deeper understanding of SkillCorps. We don’t just travel to meet people and play with children, we travel to change the current understanding of what it means to give and to contribute a part of yourself to something much greater. After being in the Dominican Republic for a week, the work of SkillCorps has finally revealed itself and the vision of the Global Autism Project has become much more clear. I have had the opportunity to observe staff at Aprendo, to help them to identify strengths and weaknesses, to provide interactive training workshops to meet their needs, and to build a working relationship that allows them to continue to grow on their own. SkillCorps does not simply provide you the answer. We provide you the means to determine the answer for yourself. As a result, you become the creator of your own success.
So, what truly is the SkillCorps experience? In sum, it’s not seeing the change you are making in the moment. It’s learning about yourself through the perspectives of others. It’s learning how to compromise and put others first. It’s having a family meal with partners to build rapport. It’s inspiring others to establish best practices. It’s being stopped on the street by a local to be asked about autism because you’re wearing a Global Autism Project t-shirt. It’s wandering around without a plan, getting lost, and somehow finding your way. It’s trying to order takeout without speaking the native language. It’s sleeping in the bed with a stranger. It’s travelling with people you just met who may not also know what they are getting themselves into. At the end of the day, It’s what you make it!