Continuing with the blog series “Where Are They Now”, today we are talking with one of our dearest former volunteers, Veronica Chin who stayed with LLI for a year, Jan 2013-Dec 2013. Veronica was the Program Development Manager, which at the time, encompassed developing the math, biblioteca, and chess curricula; working with Lara to start a girls’ adolescent empowerment group called SURF; planning all field trips and events for the kids; organizing the anniversary; and maintaining LLI’s social media outlets.

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Hi Veronica! tell us something about yourself.

I graduated 3 years ago with a double degree in Math and Chinese from UC Berkeley. I lasted 6 months in sales management when I decided volunteering abroad would be much more exciting. That brilliant idea brought me to LLI for a year. Since being back in the States, I’ve worked at an ice cream parlor, toying with the idea of starting my own parlor, got my feet wet in neighborhood emergency preparedness and workshop facilitation for inmates, and ultimately found myself working at an environmental health nonprofit.

What’s keeping you busy these days? 

Being Program Associate at a small nonprofit called The Green Science Policy Institute in Berkeley, CA. Our mission is to facilitate the responsible use of chemicals to protect human and ecological health. Salsa dancing on occasion too. 🙂

What’s your favorite memory from LLI days. 

I have so many, how can you ask me to chose a favorite?! But if you insist…the December 2013 Top Performers’ field trip is pretty high up. I planned a scavenger hunt for the kids and it was sooo much fun watching them speed around Lima’s Plaza de Armas searching for all the answers. The Zone D girls cutely pestered a police officer, the young boys bickered over what to write Lara’s mom in a postcard, then proceeded to bicker over who got to put the postcard in the box, only to decide they would all do it together by holding a corner of the card (hah!); the Zone Z girls somewhat disgruntled dawned funky hats in a souvenir shop; and I caught Henry and Willy, two typically untamable troublemakers, share a tender moment of ice cream flavor swapping. Everyone was exhausted on the bus-ride back.

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young boys bickering over what to write Lara’s mom in a postcard 🙂
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Zone Z girls dawning funky hats in a souvenir shop
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Henry and Willy, two typically untamable troublemakers, share a tender moment of ice cream flavor swapping.

Do you feel your experience with LLI has helped your career path or your personal development? If so, tell us how!

Most definitely. It has taught me flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to more calmly approach unexpected problems. Things like late people, long lines, and disorganized systems don’t get to me as much. I also witnessed and experienced some of the most warm, yet simple, interpersonal interactions while in Peru, moments that are harder to catch in the States. I have yet to hold another woman’s baby on the bus here in California, or be invited by a taxi driver to enjoy a home-cooked meal at his home.

Are you still in touch with any past LLI volunteers? 

Yes, intermittently. Of course with Lara. And on occasion, email or skype exchanges with Kim (2012-2013 English manager), Bekah (English teacher 2013), Adrianna (June-Dec 2013 Women’s Program Manager), Elle (2013-2014 teacher), Michael (2013 teacher), Theo (2013 teacher), Sarah Renkert (2011 House Manager), Beth Weeks (2013 teacher), and Beth Balatti (pre-Adrianna Women’s Program Manager).

 Would you like to give a shoutout to a dear friend from LLI and leave a message for them to read on our blog and make their day? 

Shout out to Elle and our dog adventures and random dance parties. TREASURE! Also a shout out to the girls of SURF. I miss them dearly and know they’re growing into beautiful and strong young ladies.

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In 5 words describe your experience with LLI.

You’re just asking for cheesiness, aren’t you?? I’ll give you 7 words: So far, best year of my life.

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Five random facts about yourself 🙂

–I eavesdrop on all Spanish-conversations within earshot (gosh I’m rude)

–I still want the churrero’s secret recipe (if anyone manages to get it from Churrero Luis on the Quince corner, write me!)

–I like going through long drive-thru car washes because it makes me feel like the toys in the Toy Story 3 incinerator scene, but in a good way.

–I really want to learn Bhangra dancing

–I’ve always had to pay the hospital a visit when traveling in a foreign country 😦

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