We are very happy to welcome our 2016 volunteer, Carly Roach, to El Salvador. Carly will be staying in the community of El Charcon (a sistered community with Binghamton, New York) and will also spend time in the Sister Cities national office, assisting us with projects in San Salvador. Read on below to learn more about Carly.
My name is Carly Roach and I’m from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I’m joining the U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities team as a volunteer from May to November this year and I’m very excited to be here. I recently graduated with my master’s degree in social work. I consider myself a life-long learner and I’m always looking for new and exciting ways to grow and learn. I’m particularly passionate about social justice, human rights, and learning about cultures and lived experiences that are different from my own.
In 2015, I visited El Salvador for the first time in April during a three-week social justice and solidarity focused study abroad trip with the Grand Valley State University social work program. We learned about the history of El Salvador, the detrimental impact of the United States government on the civil war, and about the reality of the country today. Once I returned to the United States to finish my social work degree, I continued to think about everything I had learned in El Salvador. I still had so much I wanted to learn about El Salvador and I also wanted to commit to something that would enable me to be in solidarity with El Salvador. After learning about Sister Cities through two of my classmates who completed a three-day site placement with Sister Cities during the study abroad trip, I learned more about volunteer opportunities by visiting the Sister Cities website and then began corresponding with Catie, Zulma and Victor. Together, we created a plan for me to return to El Salvador as a volunteer.
While I’m here, I’m excited to live in the community of El Charcon and to get to know the community. I’m grateful for the opportunity to return to El Salvador and I hope to learn more about solidarity, social justice, and how organized communities respond to issues facing the community and country; I also hope to learn more about the work of different programs in the community of El Charcon, especially with women, youth and environmental justice.