My name is Jessenia Gaviria, and I am thrilled to be a new member of the Casita Copán family as the Communications and Development Coordinator! Now that I have you here, I would love to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit more about me.
Since I was a kid, traveling has played a significant role in life and how I was raised. I was born in the Bronx, NY to Colombian immigrant parents. A few years later, my father decided that he wanted to raise his children with all the Colombian flavor and culture. So, we moved to South America when I was just five years old. As expected, I was raised dancing Salsa, speaking Spanish, and eating traditional Colombian foods like Pandebono. Overall, the Colombian culture and the pride of coming from such a fantastic place has never left me.
Of course, like many countries, living in Colombia had a few downsides. At the age of 12, we moved back to the U.S., this time New Jersey! This was indeed a transition. I could no longer walk to the corner mini-mart or play ding dong ditch with my neighborhood friends. I also had to relearn English and adapt to a new school system. However, I was closer to family and adjusted quickly to this new way of life.
After high school, I moved to New York City to study Graphic Design and Photography. It was an exciting new experience in a city full of life, art, and beautiful chaos. I also studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain, giving me insight to a whole new artistic world. During my studies I discovered my admiration for photojournalist and documentary photographers that brought awareness to social injustices. I knew then that I wanted to be more involved in alleviating social issues. After graduating with my Bachelor of Arts I decided to get my Master of Social Work. I entered the field of Social Work, concentrating in International and Community Development, with the intent to marry my passion for the arts with social action. This proved successful as I explored volunteer and internship opportunities at several nonprofits in both New York City and New Jersey. My Graphic Design experience evolved into Marketing and Communications, and I began to learn development strategies for NGO’s.
However, I wanted to extend my experience internationally, which then led me to Casita Copán. As I read through Casita’s mission and model, I was instantly inspired! Casita’s mission to help reduce child abandonment while fostering the well-being of kids through education, health, and nutrition resonated with my passion of becoming a social worker.
Once I saw the Communications and Development position that was available, I knew that I wanted to be a part of this team. A month after my initial contact with Emily, Casita’s Executive Director, I packed my bags and moved to Copan Ruinas, and I am now a proud member of the Casita family! I will be leading all communication efforts, as well as contributing to fundraising activities and donor relations. I hope to bring my professional and personal experience to help in all aspects of Casita’s operations. I am very excited to be here and help Casita develop further so we can impact more lives!
Feel free to reach me should you have any questions or to say hello!