At the outset, we should clarify how our volunteers operate. Obviously, being volunteers they are unpaid workers who contribute their time out of their own passion to serve others. Most of our programs came from the imagination and then hard work of volunteers.
We have not specifically brought any volunteers to Santa Rosa to work with us. All of them have come to town with other organizations and have migrated to our center. The Peace Corps program pays a nominal amount to its participants for food, travel, clothes, etc. and provides housing. AFS, on the other hand, charges its participants and then places them in host families in the community who provide food and acomodations based on the expectation that in the future they may send one of their children to participate with AFS in another country.
The following volunteers have played key roles in making La Roca tick. They are the ones who spend hours with the youth, often walking from downtown and then back at the end of the day come sun or rain. It is not possible to say thank you enough to each one of these.
Eljse (Els) is our founding volunteer. What more can we say. Else came to town with AFS from Belgium and everybody in Santa Rosa was in love with her. Els started coming to our neighborhood before the center was finished being built to spend time playing soccer, arranging Mother's Day fiestas, bringing a dentist for checkups, etc. While missing a picture, Karla was a friend of Els who also accompanied her on many of her trips to our little corner.
Mary Anne was an initiator of the first degree and did just about everything. She volunteered with us while serving with the Peace Corps and taught English, cooking, Flamenco dance and health issues.
Drew is another product of the American Peace Corps project. Drew was officially assigned to us and was another volunteer that dealt with several programs. He launched the health club that taught health, environment, sports & community involvement. Drew launched the youth's newspaper, the computer class and also taught the kid's English classes.
Kelly was one of the earlier volunteers when we were jus launching the formal programs in our facility. Kelly came to Santa Rosa from Canada with the AFS program in which she assisted in the arts programs as well as soccer.
Chad was an ex marine who came to Santa Rosa to work with the Hector Emilio Medin Bilingual School. When he wasn't busy with school work, he volunteered as an adult English teacher and launched the math tutoring program.
Monica is a Swiss volunteer who was the first person to launch any type of art program at La Roca. She spent time with kids of all ages, making paper mache crafts, balloon popping parties and everything else in between. Monica came with AFS and came to La Roca after she finished her assigned duties twice a week.
Laura also came to us from Canada with the AFS program. Laura started with us in the drama program and then became the key to making the math (and jewelry) program take off.
Cesar has been with us from the start. Cesar lives in Santa Rosa de Copán, being a Panamanian who marrie a local girl. Cesar helped out launching soccer, assisting in dental sessions and you name it. He is also the pharmacist of choice for our medical brigades...
Lola is the other Canadian who came with AFS. She left AFS to teach at the same bilingual school as Chad and helped us out with soccer and also the math. She was here at the same time as Laura.
Orin and his brother Connell came from Ireland. Orin came on his own apart from any organization. He spent a lot of his time at an orphanage and a rehabilitation center working with Els and got us started on drawing programs (he's a drafter / architect type of person). His brother Connell came to visit for a few months and helped out with Kelly in the soccer department. Certainly 2 of our funner volunteers...
Mike is another American with the Peace Corps. Mike was pursuing a garbage management strategy with the municipality and helped us out with recycling seminars and a small program for organic recylcing. At times, Mike also covered English class and helped out occasionally with the arts programs. Mike was the key to obtaining our first welder to help with construction and teaching.
Fran is another local, originally from El Salvador, who managed a local radio / TV station. Fran helped us out with a public speaking program for the older youth.