Arequipa has a way of drawing people back again and again. And for the past two weeks at HOOP, we’ve been lucky to have one of our good friends Eddy Chen volunteering with us. It isn’t his second or even his third time here. In fact, Eddy has been in Arequipa every year since 2010. So in this week’s blog, we thought we’d shine a spotlight on this volunteering veteran.
Eddy is originally from Taiwan, but now lives in California, where he qualified as a psychologist. After graduating with his doctorate, Eddy decided to take a vacation to South America, where he stumbled upon the (amazing) city of Arequipa. It was the start of love affair with the White City that has seen more visits from Eddy in the past five years than his home country of Taiwan!
Joining HOOP in its early stages, Eddy initially volunteered from August 2012 – January 2013. With his background in psychology, Eddy was able to identify high-risk kids and provide them with the extra help they need. We are incredibly lucky to have Eddy back with us for a couple of weeks and took the opportunity to find out more about him…
Q: What is your favorite thing about volunteering with HOOP?
A: My favourite thing about volunteering with HOOP is being able to know the kids, parents and the families. Seeing their change, growth and sharing their joy and sorrow as part of the community is incredibly rewarding.
Q: What is your specific role within HOOP?
A: I started as a regular volunteer and taught English in the monkey class. Later on I became more involved in community diagnostic survey, mental health screening for the school kids and consultation for the psychology students after we had more and more volunteers on board.
Q: What is HOOP Taiwan?
A: HOOP Taiwan consists of a group of people from Taiwan who previously and/or currently work with HOOP and feel connected with the community we work with. We conduct fundraising in Taiwan for HOOP and link HOOP with available resources from the Taiwanese community in Peru. Current projects include registering HOOP as an NGO in Taiwan to simplify the channel for donation and school rebuild.
Q: How has volunteering with HOOP changed your life?
A: I’m a psychologist from Taiwan and now settled in Los Angeles. The six months volunteering with HOOP connected me and this country which used to be far away from my imagination and made me now see it as my third home.
Q: What advice would you give someone who is considering volunteering for HOOP?
A: Be present and open to all the experiences you will encounter, and you will receive more in return.