5 Opportunities To Work With LLI!

Have you been looking at LLI and wondering a bit more about our positions? Are you looking for ethical volunteering opportunities? Though we have a wide range of positions available in Huaycán, Peru, this blog post is going to dive into 5 positions. Check them out – one of them could be the perfect fit for you!

1. Teen Center Leadership Program Facilitator

This is a super cool position in which a volunteer is directly involved with one of our most exciting and important programs – our Teen Leadership Program! Volunteers facilitate leadership classes and assist in developing leadership curriculum and leadership projects! If you are passionate about leadership, have advanced Spanish skills, and are looking to make at least a 6-week volunteer commitment – this is the position for you!

Meet Yara, our current Teen Program Manager:

“The Leadership Program is the most integral part of our Teens’ Program, that’s why it is so important to have someone in charge of this area. This person will develop the curriculum for the classes and their evaluations, facilitate them, and, most importantly, follow day by day the teens’ projects to improve the community and the Teen Center. Additionally, we now have a Committee governed by the teens, however, this needs more preparation and meetings to allow teens to increase their leadership skills.
Daily tasks could change depending on leadership classes, meetings with the committee, assemblies, events, projects, etc. All these tasks will require energy and tons of commitment.” – Yara, Mexico

Saturday Night Event at the Teen Center: Smoothie Night!

2. Kids’ Program Assistant Volunteer

Have high intermediate or above Spanish skills and looking to work directly with program participants? The Kids’ Program Assistant Volunteer position is ideal for college students or grads who are looking for a diverse non-profit experience that includes program development, front desk work, administrative support, participant registration, special event facilitation, and even space for teaching a class if desired! Commitment requirement: At least 6 weeks.

Meet Brynn, our current Kids’ Program Manager:

“A KP Assistant Volunteer would not only be an asset to the manager herself in immediate KP related tasks, but they would also be an invaluable set of extra hands in in the center working directly with the kids. The KP assistant should be looking to work in a team environment as well as independently. They should be creative, kind, energetic, motivated, and approach their tasks with a can-do attitude! The KP assistant would help the manager with the daily responsibilities that keep the center running. This position is also an opportunity to learn more about the coordination and organization of a program within an NGO.  I am really looking for someone who can help me with the responsibilities of running the Kids’ Center on a day-to-day basis as well as complete some behind the scenes administrative work. I am always looking for new creative ways on how we can keep improving the Kids’ Program.” – Brynn, USA

Art Class at the Kids’ Center

#3. English Teacher

One of our most requested classes from participants: English. We have kids and teens with a range of English abilities who are looking to improve their skills. Our English program caters to both volunteers with teaching experience (we’ll talk about implementing your own ideas and experience!) as well as new or novice teachers (we have existing lesson plans and curriculum!). This is a great opportunity for those who have no Spanish (some Spanish doesn’t hurt either!) and are willing to make at least a six week commitment to volunteering in Huaycán.

Meet Jana, our current English Teacher!

“Being a part of the LLI organization and becoming one of their members was a really challenging experience. I am so thankful that I could participate here in Huaycán as an English teacher because you are not only teaching, you are also learning for yourself. As much as you are here because you want to help the community, in the end you will see that the community and all of the great people here also helped and influenced you. Even though I had no experience with teaching before, LLI warmly welcomed me in their small but gracious family.  If you are willing to help, even if you have no experiences with volunteering, I recommend you to come to LLI. They will take care of you and help you with everything from the very beginning.” – Jana, Slovakia

4. Short Term Volunteer

Want to be involved but can’t meet the 6 week requirement for a lead teaching position? We are always looking for shorter term commitments who get a diverse view of LLI’s programs by being classroom assistants, helping at our front desks, and assisting administratively! Still want some teaching experience? We can organize a workshop or special event while you are here.

Meet Lakeim, a current short term volunteer!

“I will be volunteering with LLI for a month and despite having a basic level of Spanish, they still found useful and meaningful things for me to do. I’ve assisted in English lessons, which has been great as it has let me interact with the teens of Huaycán. The highlight though was being able to do a workshop in social media marketing with the Women’s Program participants. It’s something I want to do in the future so I’m so grateful that I was able to incorporate one of my interest within the programme!” – Lakeim , UK

Women learn to open a facebook account for their businesses in Lakeim’s social media class
Lakeim shares social media knowledge with the women of Huaycán

5. Huaywasi Fashion Design and Business Development Intern

Interested in working with the seven women artisans we partner with at Huaywasi? Contributing your thoughts on designs to upcoming collections, as well as developing our social media and business plans? At Huaywasi: A Fair Trade Project, our interns work under the main designer to collaborate with the artisans in order to produce ethically made, sustainable pieces.

Huaywasi intern Sarah sits with Elena, one of our artisan partners, in her livingroom

Meet Sarah, our current Huaywasi Fashion Design and Business Development Intern:

“As an intern with Huaywasi I have loved the opportunity to visit the artisans, talk with them, and observe their process. I have visited Gamarra – the largest fabric district in all of Latin America with Jill, our main fashion designer, to buy the materials we need. I’m learning about how to market, how to make and track purchases and develop a budget, and how the artisans are incorporating the beautiful textile history of Peru, from Tela Andina to ceramic toritos, into the collections. With my position, I have had structure in helping with the upcoming collections, but I also have some time to develop my own projects and ideas. For example, I have been developing a photo storytelling series about the seven amazing artisans here in Huaycan that work with Huaywasi. I am working on blog posts, helping choose designs, and have contributed ideas for Huaywasi’s new one of a kind, upcycled, pieces.” – Sarah, USA

If any of these positions sound like a good fit for you, contact us at vcm@lightandleadership.org


Emma Livingston MD: A Chat with LLI’s Managing Director

Edit photo
Emma Livingston, MD

As we kick off our new year, we want to highlight Emma, our Managing Director, daily inspiration, and master organizer. She has been with LLI since 2017, after graduating with an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. With the help of idealist.org, she found the perfect international development position where she could help grow and manage a grassroots organization focused on education – that’s us!

To learn more about Emma’s passion for LLI and her exciting take on the upcoming year, read on!

What do you feel is the most unique aspect of LLI?

LLI’s commitment to listening to the community, as well as our focus on forming community leaders are aspects that make this organization unique. When LLI’s founder, Lara, first came to Huaycán in 2008, she consulted with community members to gain insight on what was the greatest need for the community of Huaycán. Time and time again, she heard from community members that what they wanted for their children and what they lacked was high quality education. That is why, from the beginning, LLI has been focused on education.

Teens participate in Saturday night event – ‘Decorating with Plants’ run by teen program participant Edson E.

LLI continues to reach out to community members to make sure we are staying in touch with their needs. Each year, LLI organizes community forums where we can hear directly from community members about their perception of the work that LLI does in Huaycán and what additional activities or programs the community would like us to pursue.

LLI is a small and close-knit organization, which means managers and volunteers form strong bonds with each other, with local volunteers, and with our kids, teens and women participants.

What are some of your new 2019 goals for LLI?

At LLI, each manager sets 2-5 goals for their program or position during the year. The main goals this year are:

1) Improve class quality in the Kids’ Program by training teachers on our program objectives. Instead of just teaching a science class, for example, teachers will focus on using science to teach kids about creativity, leadership, empathy or critical thinking.

Kids’ program participants fascinated by mentos and diet coke science experiement

2) Increase parent involvement in both the Kids’ and Teens’ Program by holding parents’ days, where students present to their parents what they’ve been learning in class, and inviting parents to participate in program-wide events.

3) Implement new and improved Teens’ Leadership curriculum. At the end of the year, teens will launch a community service project to help better the community of Huaycán.

4) Apply for (and hopefully receive!) a grant to help expand our Women’s Empowerment Program. The Women Entrepreneurs course, launched last year for women who want to improve or start their own small business, was very successful and empowering for the women who participated. Our vision is to expand this program this year so that more women can take advantage of it.

5) Raise 10000 soles locally as a first step to diversifying LLI funding sources.

If you could give 1 piece of advice to an incoming volunteer what would it be?

Volunteers doing yoga on the roof of the volunteer house

Come ready to learn and grow as a person. The volunteer experience is not always comfortable. You may feel overwhelmed, scared, underprepared, bored, sick, dirty, lonely, crowded, unhappy, or like you’re not making a big enough impact. I encourage each volunteer to take on the experience as a challenge and as an opportunity to learn about a new culture, learn about how a grassroots organization operates, and learn about themselves as a person. If you come to Huaycán eager to get out of your comfort zone, I think you will have a really positive, eye-opening experience.

What has been your favorite memory of LLI?

I loved being a part of the Women’s Program First Annual Business Pitch Competition in 2018. I was so proud to see 9 women, who had started the program feeling very shy and intimidated, present their business idea in front of a panel of 3 judges and a huge audience of their friends and families. I could tell that the women felt proud of themselves, proud of what they’d learned throughout the course, and proud to have the courage to present their ideas in public. I think that was a moment where I could really feel the impact that LLI can have on the lives of our participants and how meaningful education can be.

Mujeres Emprendedoras (Women Entrepreneurs) 2018

What is your favorite Peruvian food?

I enjoy salsa criolla. It’s a very simple sauce of onion, lime, chile pepper, olive oil, salt and pepper that you can put on anything (salads, tamales, sandwiches, eggs) and make it taste so very delicious.

How do you hope to grow your local volunteer presence this year?

Local volunteer Pedro M. teaches teen program leadership 
class: The True History of Peru

Local volunteers are essential for helping LLI make a big impact on the lives of our participants and fulfill our mission of building local leaders.  I am working this year on a very exciting project led by our Education Program Manager, Yeni and supported by our Program Development Intern, Ian and our Volunteer Experience Coordinator, Ximena. We want to revamp our Local Volunteer Program so that it is on par with our international volunteer program – complete with trainings, certificates, and much more support and resources for our local volunteers. We want to make our local volunteers feel proud and excited to be part of Light and Leadership and help show them how important they are for our participants. Stay tuned to learn more about the progress we make on this important program throughout 2019!

Thank you so much to Emma for sharing her story and for being such a supportive, inspiring presence in the LLI community! Your passion for this organization (and Peruvian food) is infectious, and we are so lucky to have you. We can’t wait to see all these goals carried out in the new year, and are certain it’s going to be our best year yet!

Teen participant dreams out the window of the Teen Center. LLI’s programs strive transform the lives of our participants through education and develop the future leaders of Huaycán

2018: A Quick Review!

Happy New Year! 

Before we dive into 2019 completely, we wanted to take a quick look at some stellar stats from 2018 demonstrating LLI’s impact in the calendar year 🙂 A more complete re-cap of 2018 will be available in the coming months via our Annual Report, but until then, check it out:

We worked with 512 kids, teens and women in 2018.

ingles_eva (2)

In our Kids’ Program,  1567 books were read. :0

biblioteca (8)

Our Women’s Program launched a successful Financial Education Certificate Program, employing 5 part-time Peruvian instructors and impacting 54 women.

women's program (3)

The Teen Center opened its doors 229 times throughout the year, offering everything from special events on Saturday nights, guitar classes, leadership workshops and more.

Colombia Party (1)

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! We’ll have to wait until the Annual Report is released in the next few months to dig in deeper to LLI’s impact–so stay tuned!

Thank you to all of our donors and supporters who were with us in 2018. We look forward to continued success together as we enter 2019!!!

LLI’s Holiday Wrap Up

On Sunday, December 2nd, LLI finished out the year with a bang, celebrating the holiday season at our Education Center with over 100 of our children’s program participants and their siblings.

Our superstar teen volunteer was Angela, who planned and led an event for the entire day decorating Christmas trees with the kiddos:

!Angela with kids!

A rotating cast of teens helped with the second project: Decorating a Christmas bell. Here Dylan, one of our nearly 40 new kids’ program participants this year, is very focused on making the most beautiful bell possible:

!Dylan with cup!

And, of course, a Peruvian holiday party is not complete without panetón (fruit cake) and chocolatada (hot chocolate). Here, our ex-teen participant turned local volunteer with the most number of hours this year, Rildo, lovingly stirs the hot chocolate prepared by one of LLI’s longest serving staff members, Queta.

!Rildo with his hot chocolate!

Meanwhile, over at the Teen Center, parents also enjoyed fruit cake and hot chocolate with their littlest children while they patiently filled out our annual survey, which helps us gauge parent satisfaction with our programs and the impact our classes have on their children’s development. Some highlights from this year’s survey: 98.5% of parents said that LLI has helped their children perform better in school, while 76.9% of parents said they were ‘very likely’ to recommend LLI to a friend or family member.
!Hot hot chocolate!

After the survey comes the fun part: Choosing a Christmas gift for their sons and daughters who are participants in our program. This is a special moment for the parents and something that many of them look forward to all year round. We know it is not always easy for families to commit the time to attending weekly classes in addition to all their other responsibilities. The holiday party is our way of thanking the parents for the commitment they show to their children’s education and participating consistently in our classes throughout the year.

Of course, our teen participants play a big role here, as well: Helping the parents choose the gifts and then wrapping the gifts for them so their kids will have a surprise on Christmas day.

!Good picture of gift wrappers!

And, that’s a wrap! A special thanks to our event coordinator volunteer Catherine Thompson who organized the fundraiser for the holiday party that collected over $3000 (well above our goal!) The extra funds will go directly towards providing more high quality classes for our children’s program participants in 2019.

In addition, Catherine worked with our teen center participants to plan every aspect of our holiday party. She planned it so well, that even though she was sick during the actual festivities, the event still went off without a hitch.

Thank you to all of you who support LLI. With your help, we are working hand in hand with the community of Huaycán to develop its future leaders!

A very happy holidays from all of us here in Huaycán. ¡Felices fiestas a todos!

!Señoras con su regalo!

LLI’s #1 Sought After Program: English

When someone knocks on LLI’s (many) doors, they’re often seeking out a rumor or a tip they heard. “Quiero que mi hijo aprende ingles.” // I want my child to learn English. Ingles_Lisa (6)

Our English program has a longstanding history within the community: we’ve been teaching it almost 10 years and have offered thousands of classes. It was the first program we launched, again because those who wanted educational support always responded with “English” when asked what they wished to learn! Our mission has always been focused on responding to the needs of the community. This need was one we could help support immediately in 2009.

Why is English so popular? The English languages permeates many aspects of Peruvian culture and teens and parents alike often recognize it’s value: if you learn English, you might be able to get a better job–or communicate with someone from another country–or simply, understand one of your favorite songs. It’s additionally offered in schools here, though the quality of the instruction is often very lacking, so parents are seeking out opportunities for reinforcement for their kids. Moving beyond high school, universities require English skills and employers highly value the skill. Simply put, learning English is useful!

Don’t take our word for it. We asked Yeni, our Education Program Manager, her opinion on why our English program is important. Yeni is a licensed teacher and is local to Huaycan. She works with volunteer teachers (working in all programs) to help them craft an effective lesson plan, handle classroom management, and cross cultural barriers in the classroom. Here’s what she had to share:

For me, the English Program is so important because during my experience with LLI, what I have seen is that every week there are always teens and kids’ parents coming to our Education Center asking to be part of this program and to take clases.

First of all, I can understand why always kids and teens want to take English classes. It is because nowadays English is an in-demand language and also English classes from their schools aren’t taught very well and they do not have well prepared English teachers at school.  Second, English it is important for kids and teens because it helps them to improve their academic performance in this language at school.”

teacher mtg (6)
Yeni, who joined LLI’s team in January 2018, works with volunteers during a weekly teacher meeting.

We currently work with 93 kids and teens ages 7-17 years old within the program, offering free after school and weekend classes often taught by native speaking volunteers. Thanks to these volunteers, we’re able to keep classes going year round (with a short break in December). One of these teachers, Leslie, joined us in late August. We asked her why she decided to join us as a volunteer:

After a long career in business my retirement day finally arrived! What next?  It had long been an ambition to volunteer but how and where? First step was to take a Teaching English as a Foreign Language qualification as learning English is much in demand. Knowing some Spanish, and wanting to teach, Latin America seemed a good fit.  After searching the web (as everyone does nowadays) I was drawn to a volunteer position to Teach English in Huaycan. LLI had a photo of an ‘older’ volunteer on their website (not seen so often when checking out volunteer sites) so I thought ‘this is for me’.  And so it is. Signed up for a full cycle (term) it’s been a very fulfilling experience teaching kids from 7-17 English, wrestle with my lesson plans each week, live a more ‘communal’ life than usual, and on days off take in the wonderful sights in Peru. Even in later years stepping outside your comfort zone is very life affirming!”

Leslie working with our Kid’s English program, which operates after school and on Saturday and Sundays

English is a phenomenal tool for anyone who speaks a different language, though we recognize as an organización it’s not the only thing that defines our work nor is it the only need found within Huaycán. We consistently encourage kids and teens to explore our additional programs, like music, coding, and reading, plus take advantage of our homework help hours which spans all subjects!

Interested in joining us as a volunteer? We’re searching for volunteers for our English program to begin in January! Learn more and apply here!

How Two LLI Volunteers Keep Giving the Gift of Yoga…!

Yoga has made a comeback at LLI thanks to the Yoga and Wellness company Unlocked …and it’s amazing! Check out how it all came together…


LLI has been lucky to have a few dedicated companies who support us each year (check out our annual Alpaca Club list here to learn more) and thankfully this year, we’ve added Unlocked to the roster. Unlocked is a company dedicated to educating and empowering individuals through yoga, travel, wellness and self-study.  They host wellness retreats in the US and Peru, and collaborate with local and international non-profits (a-hem, Light and Leadership!) to raise money for projects in the communities in which their retreats take place. Unlocked also has an accessible and affordable online studio, the Unlocked Studio, where they offer videos on yoga, nutrition, meditation, sound healing and more.  Visit their brand new online studio here!

So what’s the connection between LLI and Unlocked, you ask? Meet Kari and Shelby, two former LLI Volunteers (and staff member) and owners of the Unlocked Studio:


Karilynn and Shelby, co-owners and co-founders of Unlocked, both spent time working with LLI over the past several years, starting in 2015. They were inspired by their experiences teaching yoga to children, teens, and women in Huaycán, and received great feedback from the community on the yoga classes and workshops. They decided to incorporate fundraising into Unlocked’s mission so that LLI would be able to hire a consistent yoga teacher, allowing Huaycán community members to continue their practice of mind, body, spirit connection through yoga.

We’ve been fortunate to have had volunteers who have come through our programs since Kari and Shelby left Huaycan to teach Yoga (like Lisa, this year! Thank you!), but thanks to funds raised by Unlocked, we were able to hire a consistent Peruvian yoga teacher, Nissa, for this final program session (September – December). This aligns with our goals of sustainability and hiring local–a win-win!

Now, meet Nissa!

foto 2With the donations received from Unlocked, we’ve hired Nissa part-time to teach yoga in our children’s program on Sundays! Nissa is a certified yoga teacher with several years of combined practice and teaching under her belt. She’s originally from the North of Peru, but moved to Lima after high school to pursue higher education.

“Estoy muy agradecida por la oportunidad de conocer a estos niños maravillosos,compartir con ellos y la organización. // I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet this amazing kids, share with them and the organization.” – Nissa

Nissa’s classes with kids are focused on the following:

1. Improving flexibility
2. Increasing strength
3. Strengthening muscles
4. Improving coordination
5. Discovering body awareness
6. Improving concentration
7. Learning to keep calm
8. Relaxing the mind
9. Encouraging a deep connection with the interior self
10. Developing an intimate relationship with the natural world
11. Developing empathy, companionship and friendship
12. Promoting respect of the environment, peace and love

Yoga is always a favorite class among participants and families and we’re excited to see how Nissa will continue to work with our participants! Bienvenida, Nissa!

Unlocked plans to continue to fundraise for LLI in 2019, so stay tuned for more yoga classes in Huaycán 🙂 🙂 🙂 ¡Gracias!

Chicago’s Leo Burnett Office Visits Huaywasi & LLI!

Volunteers listen to Alejandra, Huaywasi artisan, speak about her skill and craft outside her home.

Just a few weeks ago, LLI and Huaywasi (why-wa-si) had the pleasure of hosting four professional volunteers from the marketing firm Leo Burnett and public relations firm MSL Group, both located in Chicago.

Jumping way back to November 2017, the connection to both the companies came about thanks to LLI’s partner Unearth the World (UEW)–Kathryn Pisco, co-founder of UEW, was working on an idea for a volunteer trip abroad with Leo Burnett and together, Kathryn and LLI’s Executive Director Lara DeVries presented to the company what a potential volunteer commitment could look like through the lens of LLI/UEW. The result: a decision to move forward with a volunteer marketing proposal solely focused on Huaywasi, LLI’s fair trade artisan project, with Leo Burnett and MSL Group employees!

Moving way ahead to September 2018, four volunteers joined LLI in Peru for five days of learning, brainstorming and creating. Volunteers Colleen, Diana, Jessica, and Lily (all from Leo Burnett/MSL Group) started their time with LLI by assisting with our educational programs, like art, English, and more with kids’ and teens. This gave the group a wider view of what LLI does and also what Huaywasi supports (all profits from Huaywasi are filtered back into the education programs!).

Volunteer Colleen assists with Art class

The next few days were spent digging deep into the entire Huaywasi project, from meeting artisans directly and visiting their homes to learning first hand from our Executive Director the history of the project, including its strengths and struggles over the years. Volunteers then got to jump into the Women’s Program activities in the evening, including providing childcare for the program or participating in our business plan mentorship night. The week finished up with discussing next steps for Huaywasi and the continued collaboration between the volunteers and their respective companies.

A visit to the talented Herminia’s home showed off her own screen printing workshop.

A great big thank you to the four incredible volunteers and Unearth the World! Stay tuned for bigger changes for Huaywasi coming soon, thanks to the time and dedication from these volunteers!

Interested in checking out more from Huaywasi? Shop Huaywasi’s latest fall line now and use the promo code LLIBLOG15 for 15% off your purchase! Hurry though, this promo code is only good until the end of October 2018. Click on the promo code to have the discount automatically added to your cart! Limit one per customer.


Farewell, Anthony!

Our beloved volunteer program manager, Anthony, will be departing LLI to embark on another journey in Utah for the next year. Anthony has been such a blessing to LLI and our programs and he will be dearly missed.

We have all shared our favorite memories and well wishes for Anthony below.

“Anthony! Mi pata, mi causa. Has hecho de Huaycán mi hogar, me has hecho sentir una hermana, compañera de conciertos y de risas. Compartir contigo un año completo ha sido un regalo que atesoro. Te has preocupado de mi bienestar y del todos y cada uno de los voluntarios que han pasado por LLI con un cariño muy especial. Tu labor ha sido inmensa y serás recordado por mucha gente con mucho amor, incluida yo. Sé que nuestros caminos se van a volver a cruzar, quizás en un concierto de Cuchillazo, quizás en una playa en España, quizás en una manifestación en Lima, quizás en Huaycán de nuevo. Te quiero como al pollo broster. Sigue luchando, sigue sonriendo, nos vemos en el camino hermano!” – Irene

“Hi Anthony! I am so glad I was the first volunteer to offer you a Pisco already at the airport pickup. A kickstart for my 3 months in Peru, during which you where always there to help me. Like lending me your bicycle with which I went to ride the streets of Huaycan, battling with the dogs and mototaxis. And after few weeks of hesitation you got me playing soccer on Sunday nights. It was hard but it really did me good. It really helped me feel more at home in Huaycan. And then we went rocking in Vivo X El Rock! Cuchillazo es la bestia! All in all, I really admire you being so young and living life to the fullest. Keep on going, dude, hyvää työtä!” – Juha

Anthony Sandra and Juha en la puntaAnthony, Sandra and Juha doing an after work climb to “la punta”. “I consider myself to be in good shape but Anthony sure knows how to climb the hills.”- Juha

“Gracias por estos días en Huaycan, lo he pasado muy bien disfrutando de tu compañía. Cómo ya te conté fueron pocos días pero bueno. En mi país hay un dicho que dice: lo bueno si breve, dos veces bueno”. Creo que tu labor fue ejemplar des del primer momento, viniéndome a recoger al aeropuerto a las tantas de la mañana, siempre estando por la casa para resolver todo tipo de dudas… Estoy convencido que te va a ir muy bien en USA. Espero que puedas disfrutar mucho además de trabajar.
Lo pasé muy bien contigo subiendo el cerro, en la excursión a Matucana y jugando a fútbol. Me llevo unos lindos recuerdos a casa.
Un abrazo desde España,”
Igor Rodríguez-Acosta Docio
“Querido Anthony, te deseo con todo mi corazón que puedas alcanzar tus metas en la vida, y aunque no puedas, igual que seas feliz. Tienes un alma grande grande y el poder de cuidar las otras personas como si fueran hermanos. Los recuerdos más lindos que llevaré conmigo de todo un año de trabajo contigo, son las pequeñas cosas diarias pero que podían cambiar el trascurso de todo un día: las granadillas, la música, las canciones y la bulla que siempre venía de nuestra oficina, las bromas y las risas. No podía esperar en un compañero de cuarto más divertido! De aquí en adelante cada vez que escucharé Vilma Palma te pensaré! Jejejeje Un abrazo fuerte y mucha mucha suerte!” – Elisa
“Anthony! Thank you for making my time in Peru so special. You were the first person I met, and the first person so many volunteers meet. You welcomed us into the amazing country of Peru and made us feel so at home. I don’t know how you managed to be there for every volunteer in the house, but somehow you were there for everyone, whenever they needed you. Even though I was there for a short time, I was able to get so many memories with you. The Women’s March in Lima, Sunday night soccer, long talks around the house, and walking through town, were all moments I’m really grateful for. My favorite memory of our time together was when you walked with me to make sure that crazy dog Gringo wouldn’t kill me. Thanks for that! You made sure everyone was safe, and also made sure people explored the beautiful country of Peru. I couldn’t imagine my time there without you, friend! I know you will be greatly missed, but I’m also glad you’re coming to the States for a year!!! I’m ready for our road trip. See you soon”- Alyse
“Dear Anthony,
Thank you so much for the time we had together. You’re such an amazing person! Also I like your taste in Music. Not all of it.. but some..:)  I think our most funniest moment together was, when you clicked the toilet and no one realized until the whole first floor was deep in poop water! That was awesome.  You will make a great job over in the states! I truly believe in you! But don’t live there to long..you know they have this weird looking bird man, with the funny hair.  I hope you come to Europe soon so that I can take you to a festival!  Thanks for all your clothes at marcahuasi!”- Leni
“Bonjour Anthony, je suis tellement contente que tu puisses suivre ton rêve de retourner aux Etats-Unis ! Tu mérites les meilleures choses dans la vie car tu es quelqu’un d’exceptionnel. We’ve had a few adventures together that I will never forget and I will always keep those memories close to my heart. Me encanta conocerte y decir que somos amigos. ¡Suerte! Kisses to you both and the rest of the gang as well.” – Justine
“I remember a much younger Anthony when I first started volunteering in Huaycan. To see him mature into the individual who worked with LLI to help others was a very uplifting experience. I am _very_ proud to have worked with him, and I highly suspect that those fortunate enough to work with him in his new endeavors will feel similarly. Many congratulations, Anthony, for being one of the people who have re-affirmed my trust in humanity! You’ve made my life better in doing so 🙂 “— John
“Dear Anthony, thank you for the warm welcome and a good care, which you gave to me, when I arived to Huaycan! The 4hours trip from Lima’s Airport will stay in my mind for long time 🙂  All my best wishes to your future life, may it be rich in every way!!
Love, Auli”- Auli

“Antonio 🙂 – Aunque a veces puedas ser muy malo la mayoria de las veces sos muy bueno. Gracias por aguantarme estos ultimos casi 8 meses en Huaycan… aunque espero que Ximena me trate como la reina que merezco (y que me de mi arroz con leche una vez por semana..)… Ha sido todo un placer trabajar con vos y encima disfrutar de un monton de actividades fuera del trabajo juntos, sobre todo subiendo al cerro querido 🙂 Los primeros meses por unas razones fueron algo duros para mi, pero conociendo a gente buena siempre ayuda a uno levantar el animo. Y eso justamente sos, una persona muy buena. Ya se que vas a tener mucho exito en el futuro, no solo porque sos un chico inteligente y trabajador pero porque sabes crear tus propios oportunidades y aprovecharte de ellos. Vencer el miedo y aprovecharse de las oportunidades es algo que no todo el mundo puede hacer (eso sabemos nosotras las señoras…), y me alegra mucho saber que justamente es eso que vas a hacer, ir hacia lo desconocido en Estados Unidos 🙂 Gracias por el tiempo que pasamos juntos en Huaycan y ojala sigamos siendo amigos por muchoooos años más, Te voy a extrañar un montooon :)”  –Sandra

“Felicidades Anthony! Congrats on taking the next step! La segunda parte de mi tiempo trabajando en LLI cambio totalmente gracias a ti. Tu lo hiciste un super buen trabajo de bienvenir a cada voluntario que vino. No importa de donde pais son, o que idioma hablan, conectaste con cada persona.  Me siento muy afortunada haberte conocido. Your positivity and humor touches everyone everywhere you go. Thank you for being such a great friend and always correcting my Spanish!! I cannot wait to see you and Cindy in the US!  Un abrazo fuerte”-  Caro




“Hola, Anthony🤗❤
Te he conocido hace muuchos años “Enero del 2012” y ahora estamos “Septiembre 2018”.
Estoy muy feliz de conocerte, eres un joven maravilloso y humilde. También estoy muy contenta de haber compartido tiempo como en las clases y en el trabajo de LLI, lo cual me llena de mucha felicidad. Gracias por todo lo que hiciste en LLI. También, gracias por la paciencia y amabilidad que tuviste con todos nosotros que aún nos quedamos. Te deseo muchos éxitos en todo lo que te propongas hacer y cuídate mucho.
Te vamos a extrañar un montón mi querido Anthony.”
   😎 – Yeni DS
“Since the moment I started at Light and Leadership, you have been the first person I went to when I had a question, when a sink exploded or when a door wouldn’t unlock, basically to solve any problem, big or small. You are so caring and dedicated to the volunteers, always remembering birthdays, goodbye cards, organizing nights out or hikes up the mountain or football Sundays. Also, I am so happy with all that you have done to revitalize the local volunteer program. You have worked hard to make local volunteers feel more integrated with Light and Leadership and understand our goals and values. I think the relationships you have helped develop with local volunteers will continue long after you are gone.  It will be so hard to replace you, Anthony. I miss you already and I hope you have an amazing, incredible time in the US! Also, I couldn’t close without sharing with you my favorite memory of our time together: The time we rescued Bridget from the bathroom…I will never forget the look on her face when we finally got the door open 🙂 Un abrazo fuerte mi amigo. Y gracias por todo que has hecho para mí y para la organización!” – Emma
“Anthony, thank you so much for your incredible work at the Light And Leadership initiative. I felt more comfortable when you assisted picking up at the airport. We made some great memories and my favourite were playing football every week, singing at the karaoke bar and our camping trip with señor and señorita caca! I wish you the best in your future. Best wishes!” – Charlie


“Anthony! I feel so lucky that I got to know you and spend so much time with you during my time in Peru. My best memory I had with you are definitely all those times we spent watching Friends and Disney movies and just hanging out at the VH. Also I will never forget the day we spent in Mistura with Bryan eating all those samples of chocolate… I’m sorry if sometimes we made fun of you, but you know it’s only beause we u. (The house- and Huaycan-tour you gave me were unforgettable!!!!) Enjoy your new adventures in USA and thank you for all you’ve done for us volunteers. And most importantly, thank you for being a friend.”- Julia

“Oye bacteria! Gracias por tanto: basicamente siendo nuestro papá a todas nosotras chicas, cuidandonos, orientando los que están perdido por la 15, santa clara, chaclacayo, chosica y más, dandonos risa por lo que te importan de la casa (“frutas bien bonita arreglado en el bowl por favor”), y por tu elección de karaoke (“I’m gonna fucking tear you apart” *screaming*), apoyando a todos los voluntarios de LLI, y enseñandonos las jergas más importantes. Cheers for looking after us this year and for looking out for me the 5 months I was here, I wish you all the best in the USA, keep rockin’!!”- Lisa

“Anthony, thank you for being the most self-less volunteer and friend any of us could have asked for. Your determination to make sure that we all felt supported, understood, and happy was truly one of a kind. Eras una de las personas con quien me senti mas comoda y mas como mi misma durante mi tiempo en Huaycan. Eres super gracioso, y tus ganas de compartir tu cultura y aprender sobre otras culturas son unicas. LLI is lucky to have had you, and all of us who got to spend time with you in Peru are even luckier!! Se que no te gusta nada que siempre te diga esto, pero: YOU’RE THE BEST!” – Gia

“Anthony, I’m so happy that I worked with  you this year again, at once when picking me up at airport I felt like coming home to see good friends. Thank you for good conversations, teaching me Spanish patiently, letting me join you to go to the big market, listening stories with interest and especially every time we listened to Coldplay! I’m so sure this is not goodbye, just to see you later. Until then I wish you all the best in your future! – !Que tengas buena suerte en todas las cosas!” –Heidi

Anthony, our dear Anthony! You will be sorely missed here. I have known this day would come, but it’s hard now that it has finally arrived. You have been such an amazing team member and ambassador for LLI’s programs, I just can’t thank you enough. You are an excellent example to the kids and teens in our program, as well as our entire volunteer group and staff. You have given beyond what was asked for you within this position and took it on to be your own. I’m grateful for the extra hours you put in week after week and the “extra mile” you always go for a volunteer to welcome them to Peru.  I know I will see you many times again in the future, but wish you the utmost success in the U.S. and whatever comes after.  Thanks again and I’ll see you in Chicago!!!! -Lara

Thank you for all you have given to LLI, Anthony!  We hope to see you again in the future!

HUAYWASI SALE- Last Chance!!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of Huaywasi’s big summer sale and save on some of the gorgeous summer styles handcrafted by our talented artisans.  Here are some of my favorite picks from the sale!  Find yours before it’s too late!


Correa Tank- Only $25.00!


Victoria Jumpsuit- Only $40.00!


Alba Handwoven Headband- Only $16.00!

Find your favorites here and get them before the sale ends on August 31st! https://www.huaywasi.com

Did you know that all profits generated from Huaywasi go back into the Women’s Empowerment Program as well as our other educational programs for children and teens?


Want to learn more about the talented artisans behind our beautifully handcrafted products?  Check them out here: https://www.huaywasi.com/pages/the-artisans




A Heartfelt Goodbye and Warm Welcome

Today, we want to express our deepest gratitude and warmest wishes to two of our dedicated and cherished volunteers who will be leaving us this month.  Elisa and Irene have given countless hours over the past year, making a tremendous impact on LLI and our programs.  We’d like to highlight some of their work, share some of our favorite memories with them, and send them off with our best wishes!

Irene has served as the Kid’s Program Manager for the past year, not only taking charge of the day-to-day tasks, but also overseeing the major aspects of the Kid’s programs. Working with volunteers and staff to carry out programs like homework hours, chess, English, sports, reading, and more, Irene has had a HUGE impact on our organization, but most of all, on the amazing LLI kiddos we work with!


Elisa has been serving as LLI’s Volunteer Communications Manager. She joined LLI before this position even existed! She carved out a spot for herself on the LLI team, making her role now indispensable to the future of our organization and setting the tone for the next program manager. Elisa was the first contact for all of our volunteers since August and helped welcome them to Peru, and thus, making sure our programs continued without interruption. Plus, her lightheartedness and laughter made working with her presence on LLI’s team pure joy.


Here are some special memories and well wishes from some of us who have worked closely with Elisa and Irene!

Irene: You have an amazing talent with kids and I am ever grateful that you shared that talent with LLI. So many kids have been impacted by you, day in, day out. You’ve been an incredible addition to our team and I can’t imagine the E.C. without you now! A heartfelt thank you for what you have done for LLI and I hope to one day visit you in Madrid (si te encuentras por allá, ¡quien sabe..!) – Lara

Elisa: I will greatly miss your laughter and your incredible personality. You have added so much to our organization and I think we will definitely feel it when you are gone.  I am personally also grateful for the opportunity to work directly with you and the patience you demonstrated while creating this new position. You didn’t have much guidance other than weekly check ins with me and I am so impressed how you took the work on to be your own. Gracias por todo, ¡nos vemos en Torino, pues!- Lara



Irene, mi chula bonita:

Tu sabes cuánto te quiero y admiro. El impacto que has tenido en Huaycán, no es más que prueba de tu enorme presencia a donde quiera que vas. Nunca dudes de que tus huellas dejan marca, y nunca te  olvides de que lo que mejor sabes hacer, es dar amor. Para que lo sepas, tu personalidad, tus opiniones y la pasión con la que vives la vida, me han inspirado profundamente, y me han reconfortado y ayudado a seguir en tiempos difíciles.

Gracias por eso, por todas las pláticas en la azotea, las risas, los apapachos y confidencias, pero sobretodo, gracias por ser mi hermana de vida.

No sé que siga en tu camino, pero estoy segura de que las personas que te rodeen en la siguiente etapa, serán de lo más afortunadas por tenerte cerca.

Te mando todo mi cariño. A 25 horas en bus de donde te encuentras, hay una mexicana que te lleva en el corazón.

Te amo Irene. – Lorena 

Bella Elisa:

He sido muy afortunada de conocerte, aunque haya sido por un corto periodo de tiempo. Eres una mujer fuerte, hermosa y apasionada. Admiro mucho tu compromiso con todo lo que haces y tu enorme corazón.

Estoy segura que la vida te tiene preparadas muchas buenas sorpresas. Ojalá una de ellas sea que volvamos a coincidir jajajaja.

Un abrazo fuertísimo y que venga lo mejor.- Lorena

Irene: Muchas gracias por estos meses que pasamos juntas (Homeland sobre todo..), ya se que te va a ir muy bien estes donde estes. Adelante las feminazis 🙂 – Sandra

Gracias por toda la buena onda Elisa !  Va a ser muy raro sin vos aca. Que te vaya muy muy muy bien en el futuro 🙂 – Sandra

Amigas siempre y saludos de Finlandia- Paula

Irene, I am so grateful that you were here with me throughout my first year at LLI. You have been a wonderful coworker and I have learned so much from you. You have also, from the very beginning, been committed to the well-being and development of our participants and their families. I know that every single parent has felt how committed you are to the success of their children. I will never forget the last parent meeting we had when more than 50 parents filled the EC…you have truly increased the effectiveness of the Kids´ Program and especially the outreach to our families, and I believe your impact here will be felt for a long time to come. I will miss your honesty and your clear understanding of the importance of high quality education for the future of our participants. Also your radical feminism 🙂 I know you will find an incredible job that will take full advantage of all your skills and where you can make an even greater impact. –Emma
Irene, Leader of the Pack.jpg
Elisa: My favoirte Italian! I will miss your humor, your wild laugh, your positive attitude, and your unique way of looking at the world. I can´t imagine Luz y Liderazgo without you. My favorite memory with you is when you read those beautiful poems in Quecha during the talent show at the Teen Center.  You have such a sensitive outlook on the world and a nuanced understanding of culture and the ethics of international volunteering. I wish we could keep you around longer, but I look forward to seeing where you end up in the future…and also of visiting you in your native land! Ciao bella!-Emma
Elisa MC con Maria Puma

To you both: I am so happy that both of you were here when I arrived. I have loved watching your beautiful friendship and the way you interact together and I have so appreciated both of your support while I was learning about the organization and figuring out how to position Luz y Liderazgo for the future. You two are both very special people and I hope you keep your strong bond of friendship for the rest of your lives. -Emma

Girl power! That’s what these beautiful girls have brought to me, house and everybody!

Thank you Elisa for picking me up from airport. Thank you for Santa Clara visits and having lunch on a leaf there! Elisa you always help in everything! Thank you for morning walks on mountain down on vegetables field! And for teaching to buy small eggs from a lovely lady in the corner of 15. ♡♡♡

Thank you Irene for playing the best the Fish bowl and Game of resistance. You are my best partner within as we understand each other so well! Thank tou gir being the best of the best bosses for me at Kids centre in Reading, homework, games and chess!

I love you both, I will miss you so much if I can come to be part of the Light and Leadership again next year! Elisa & Irene; love and light and rainbows to you. -Heidi


Thank you again, Elisa and Irene!!!

We would also like to give a warm welcome to Ian and Brynn who will be joining us in Program Development and as our new Kid’s Program manager!

Interested in volunteering or interning with LLI? Check out our volunteer program here and apply online!