Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Do you know a Layla House Volunteer??

(written by Susan Poisson-Dollar, AAI Director of Development)

Sorry for the lag in blog posts here but I've just returned from a week in Ethiopia to work on planning the AAI Return to Ethiopia 2010 trip (more on that later but save the dates of June 20-27 and plan to come along). I had the privilege of staying in our volunteer house and getting to know the current and absolutely fabulous group of young people working with our kids. Not only are they "doing good" but they are also having a wonderful time so it's a win-win situation! Our volunteers participate in every aspect of life at Layla House from tutoring students, teaching classes, cuddling babies, assisting with field trips, embassy visits, helping adoptive families, etc. etc. Not to mention playing lots and lots of soccer! They are the chief reason why many of our older children surprise their new parents with the amount of English they speak and understand. Volunteering at Layla is truly a life-changing experience.

Below are some photos of the volunteers. If you would like to learn more about the program, visit this link or contact Brooke Cole, AAI's volunteer coordinator. Although all of the current volunteers are college-age, we accept volunteers of any age and can tailor opportunities and experiences for those with specific skills.

(left to right--Patrick, Amanda, Molly, Alex and Jessica, our current
volunteers extroardinaire)

(Jessica and Alex helping me prepare to escort these two cuties to the USA)

(you can always find Patrick mobbed by a gang of kids. By the way, he's also an "AAI uncle" to two boys recently adopted by his sister)

From a volunteer's recent journal entry:
.........without this first-hand experience, and the bonding brought on by time, one can never fully understand the beauty of these children after everything they have gone through. Truthfully, this knowledge is what keeps me afloat and has blown apart all of my expectations, while leaving my doubts in the dust. Even with only about a quarter of my trip over, I know I will never forget the children and the lessons they never knew they taught me.

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