We like to think your time at HOOP can have a big impact on who you are and where you’re going. For some people at least, volunteering is a time when you are working out what to do with your life – or getting experience in something you already know you want to do forever. We wanted to find out more about what some of our past HOOPsters are up to. So we started a new blog idea: ‘Past HOOPsters: Where are they now’. In the first part of this series, we asked Rose Kramer from the U.S., who volunteered in 2013, what she’s been up to since HOOP, and how volunteering helped shape her life.
“I volunteered at HOOP about 2 years ago and while I was traveling Peru for the first time. I’ll never forget walking into the room full of four year-olds to be greeted by a chorus of “Teacher, teacher, teacher!”.
One of my favorite moments was being able to carry out a donation wish from a woman in the U.S. Before I left she told me that she couldn’t give much but wanted to help the children. She handed me $50 and told me to treat the students to whatever I thought they would most enjoy. After being there a week, I realized that the colored pencils were wearing down to a nub. So I bought a case of colored pencils and a pencil box for every child in my class. The next day I told them about a nice lady that wanted to give them a gift. They giggled and squealed in excitement. When I revealed the colored pencils they all began to scream and jump around with enormous smiles on their faces! We took a video and the woman brought to tears when I sent it to her.
Another unforgettable moment was teaching the kids “The wheels on the bus” and performing it for the end of the month assembly. They were such good performers and remembered the hand motions and everything! I realized through this experience that I will forever be a teacher.
As soon as I returned to the U.S., I realized I needed to find a way to get back to Peru. I applied to the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant program and was finally accepted after a long application process. I was placed in Lima and am currently teaching English at a local university. Apart from teaching in Lima, I’m also helping a woman from a low-income area to open a small business, a mini-market. We raised $9,000 through the crowdfunding website Indiegogo! It’s been a long hard process but it has also been extremely rewarding to see a family being lifted out of poverty little by little.
Rose is currently teaching English at UNIFÉ University in Lima.
My time at HOOP helped me realize that being adaptable and open to change are the most important skills that a person can learn. Before traveling to Peru, I always needed to have everything perfectly planned and would often become frustrated and upset when things didn’t go according to plan. To be a good teacher I needed to learn to relax, enjoy my students and make changes according to what the day brought. This has changed my life incredibly and I am a much better teacher since learning to “let go” at HOOP.
During my time at HOOP I realized that I would always feel a sense of accomplishment and community as a teacher. The students love every teacher that passes through HOOP whether it’s a few short weeks or many months. Their love and appreciation is endless and this helped me realize that I wanted to pursue a Master of Education in English as a Second Language. Students learning English are a special bunch that always seem eager to learn and connect with others. I knew this going in to HOOP and my time there set it in stone! When I return to the U.S., I will begin graduate school with the skills I learned teaching in Arequipa. It’s an indescribable feeling to realize how much my time at HOOP has impacted my life and my future!”
If you’re a past HOOPster and you’d like to update us on what you are doing now, let us know – just email email@example.com – we would love to hear from you!