PiLA Blog

Open Letter to PiLA 2018-19 Fellows

David Atkinson
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Dear PiLA fellows of the 2018-2019 class,

 

My witnessing your recent orientation program in Princeton, so beautifully organized by Sarah Town and Michael Stone and supported by Kim Gordon of the FAC and other alums, served to reaffirm the motives for my commitment to PiLA: you give me hope for the future. 

 

The Doer Mentality

Emilia Rybak
Thursday, June 21, 2018

I was just about to leave my office to get lunch on September 19th, 2017 when the building began to shake violently. Within a few seconds, panic began to set in as I realized this wasn’t a minor tremor like the one I had felt 12 days before. I had been in Mexico City for just 4 weeks and had experienced the strongest earthquake to strike the city in 32 years. But rather than be deterred, I went out to volunteer alongside my neighbors and coworkers.

Introducing La Brigada Verde

Angie Neslin
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

“¡Angie! ¿Hoy vamos al huerto? ¿Hoy vamos a reciclar? ¿Hoy vamos a hacer Parlamento?” Hearing this daily chorus always brings a smile to my face, because these are the programs I work on at Fundación Abriendo Camino. Our mission is to provide alternatives for the protection and education of children, youth and families in a vulnerable urban sector, the barrio of Villas Agrícolas in Santo Domingo. These alternatives include the urban garden, 3R (recycling), and student parliament programs I’ve helped to develop during my two years here.

President Oscar Arias celebrates Princeton in Latin America

Friday, November 3, 2017

Former President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987, delivered the keynote speech at the celebration of PiLA’s 15th anniversary at the Princeton Club of New York on the evening of November 2 and spoke highly of the organization and its fellows.

“PiLA became a trusted partner and friend of the Arias Foundation. PiLA fellows joined what seemed like an impossible mission that the Foundation undertook in the 1990’s … they believed and they rolled up their sleeves and for that I am eternally grateful.”

Reflections on Life in the DR: Hope in the Face of Challenges

Luisa Nilan
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

It’s hard to believe that I’m nearing 7 months here in Cabarete, working with the Mariposa DR Foundation. I’m saddened by the prospect of having to leave this beautiful place in just 4 months. My time here has been invaluable, as I’ve had so many opportunities to experience both personal and professional growth, to meet so many different people, and to really be convicted about my desire and responsibility to serve.

Valentines, community service, and carnival in Nor Yungas, Bolivia

Nora Harless
Friday, March 9, 2018

Feliz dia del amor from post-Carnival Bolivia! My name is Nora Harless, and I am the current fellow working at the Unidad Académica Campesina (UAC) in Carmen Pampa, Bolivia in the region of Nor Yungas. Here are a few impressions of my experience working as external relations coordinator at the UAC deep in the Andes mountains.

Una vulnerabilidad mutua

Nicole Hardy
Monday, March 5, 2018

La semana haciendo experimentos científicos fue algo inolvidable porque encarnó la diferencia en el concepto de servicio comunitario con DREAM y servicio comunitario para DREAM. Los estudiantes en el grupo de Cape Cod, no querían ser solamente unos “salvadores,” proveer útiles escolares y después salir olvidando de los que dejaron aquí a “pudrir.” En lugar de eso, ellos querían una experiencia de vulnerabilidad mutua y deseaban involucrarse en la comunidad y aprender de ellos igual que los estudiantes pueden aprender de los voluntarios.

ADISA: A closer look at inclusion

Jesse Moore
Friday, February 9, 2018

My work at Adisa has made me think more deeply about the meaning of inclusion. Adisa's motto: "Por una comunidad inclusiva" (for an inclusive community) is much more than just a slogan. It is the motivation and foundation for our work. Whether it be our healthcare, employment, education, or empowerment programs, or just daily interactions, Adisa strives to create a community based in inclusivity. 

Infinite Impact in Rural Guatemala

Yihemba Yikona
Thursday, February 8, 2018

When I guide visitors through the Starfish Impact School, I do my best to convey how special and revolutionary it is to see nearly one hundred young indigenous women sitting at school in Guatemala at an age when many would no longer have the opportunity to continue studying due to lack of financial resources or cultural pressure.

As Communications Coordinator, a huge part of my job is storytelling—whether that is telling the story of Starfish to visitors in person, or communicating with a broader audience through online media.

What do I say?

Education, Leadership, and Community Development in Lima

Alexis Álvarez (Building Dignity, Peru)
Thursday, March 24, 2016

Working alongside a resilient community in the outskirts of Lima continues to transform my outlook on development.Villa El Salvador, where Building Dignity works, has a proud history of fighting for recognition through movements to formalize its settlements. This legacy continues as community members continue to struggle to access basic amenities from the state, quality education and the now-deteriorating opportunities to participate in Peru’s evolving job market.

Women in the Workforce in Rural Nicaragua

Grace Galloway (Comunidad Connect)
Wednesday, March 16, 2016

While driving home after meeting with community leaders about a new water project, community health worker Marta Eliza, program supervisor Yarisleidy and I discussed the challenges of being a woman in Latin America and a woman in the work force. In this case, each of us is both.

“A veces creo que se equivocaron conmigo.”

Innovative Food Assistance in the Andes

Sarah Balistreri
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Sarah and friends in Quito

When friends and family from the States talk about Ecuador, they often mention the beauty of the Galapagos Islands and the snow-capped volcanoes of the Andes. Very few think of the prolonged armed conflict taking place in Colombia and its impact on Ecuador. Before I began my fellowship at the UN World Food Programme (WFP) last July, I also knew little about the effects of this conflict on Colombia’s smaller southern neighbor. Since 2000, approximately 175,000 people have petitioned for asylum in Ecuador, and the country currently hosts the largest refugee population in the region.