Coordinator, Education and Training Dept.
I came to YAI in 2005 as the Administrative Assistant in the Education and Training Department, moved on to Project Specialist and up from there.
I've always been attracted to working with people. Honestly, while living in South Africa and volunteering at an orphanage for children affected by HIV/AIDS, I found myself bonding most closely with the young children with developmental disabilities, who were seen as the hardest ones to connect with and care for. I remember an 8-year-old boy who suffered from a stroke when he was younger and as a result became paralyzed on one side of his body, non verbal and non ambulatory. He passed away two years ago. Another young boy, was 3 at the time, and had been born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome which caused developmental delays. I've heard that he has been thriving at a school for children with developmental disabilities. Then there was a 2-year-old girl who died while I was there, because her development had been so stunted from lack of care. I remember trying to help her develop the skill of sucking, she was so malnourished and not able to take in food. A few days after I met her she went into a coma. I stayed with her in the hospital for three days before she passed. I guess my experience with these children may have had a hand in attracting me to the field.