It is such an honor to announce that I will be moving to Sangolqui, Ecuador to volunteer as a Program Director for Manna Project International. MPI is a volunteer-driven non-profit organization that serves the impoverished communities of Ecuador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. From July 2015 to August 2016, my fellow Program Directors and I will work alongside local community members to respond to the community's needs and build upon its strengths. Some of our main areas of focus include health, education, leadership development, and economic empowerment. Our goal is to build programs that are holistic, community-inspired and owned, and ultimately sustainable without outside support. We will be living and working in the Chillos Valley in Ecuador, about 40 minutes outside of Quito, Ecuador's capital city.
It took me years, long after I had already aimlessly entered college to figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It wasn't until I stumbled into my first Economics course that I knew what I wanted to do. Along with my passion to help others, I decided continue studying Economics and pursue spanish literature and history courses. Many of my favorite classes from my time at Clark University were focused on theories of global development and what the future is going to look like unless there is widespread change. It was this path that I created for myself that led me to Manna Project International (MPI), where I served a 4 week volunteer in the summer of 2013. This past May I graduated from Clark University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with a focus in Latin America. Everyone hears Economics or Finance majors and it is automatically assumed that I will work in the finance world or in some office on Wall Street, but I'm a little different to say the least. I knew if i wanted to be happy I had to go with my heart. I kept going back to my summer 2013, a time when I was content with everything around me, but to when I was learning as much as I was spreading knowledge.
As one of the Program Directors in Ecuador, I am responsible for raising $8900. These funds cover housing, food, travel, health insurance, and programming for my 13 months of service. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will enrich my life in more ways than one. I hope that you can find it in your heart to support me on this journey by donating whatever you can. Please keep in mind that all donations ARE tax deductible. On behalf of myself and the Manna Project International and all the people we serve, I sincerely thank you for your support! If you would like any more information, please do not hesitate to contact me or go to www.mannaproject.org. I would be happy to answer any questions!
I am very excited about the year ahead of me but more importantly to return back to Ecuador. I am confident that the reward in the end will make it so worth it. Thank you for considering donating to my future and to the improvement of the world!
Thank you so much,
Melissa C. Picon
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