My name is Amanda Dettmann and I live in Yarmouth, Maine. I have just graduated with the class of 2020 from Marist College and am headed to NYU this fall for an MFA in poetry. I volunteered in-country with Outreach360 in Nicaragua in Summer 2017 for one week. Our group had over 50 volunteers, and it is one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
I heard about Outreach360's Remote Internship Program through an email from Coco Barrett, the Country Director of Outreach360 in Nicaragua. I had just completed the Virtual Volunteering Pilot Program months prior, teaching students during quarantine in order to help with their TOEFL exam. Additionally, CEO Tom Eklund reached out to me with his excitement for this new online summer program.
I knew that I had time right after I graduated to teach for the next month and I thought this would impact more students than any other opportunity. I was also eager to reconnect with any past students I had taught three years ago. Not only would this internship test my own leadership and teaching skills, but it would provide more opportunities for students from Jinotega to learn remotely during the pandemic.
I know my time every day as a volunteer made a difference in widening students' knowledge, but also their confidence in and outside the classroom. Even virtually, Outreach360 volunteers provide hope, love, and support. Some of the strongest, lifelong connections have been created from this program, from students to teachers to other remote interns. We all learn from each other and bring so much positive energy in an uncertain time.
From working with Outreach360 students virtually, I am a more confident, patient, and supportive teacher. I feel I have gained greater organization skills from creating two new and unique lesson plans every day, as well as creativity I didn't know I had. I am now a teacher that wants so much more than to just teach English. I want to impact my students to the best of my ability even in the shortest amount of time. I have realized every day is an opportunity to grow, as both a teacher and student myself.
I can honestly say Outreach360's Leadership and Social Change class opened my eyes. To how many views, beliefs, and backgrounds all of us have on this planet. To how we must communicate with open hearts before judging someone or something. I now call myself a Leader, and I have never done that before in my life. I feel this class has given me the tools of listening, sharing openly, and enacting positive social change on a deeper and more human level.
Do not doubt this opportunity. This is an indescribable experience that will shape you into a stronger person and allow students to grow beyond belief. I only see benefits from this program because both teachers and students come away with a greater perspective in terms of understanding diverse cultures, expanding empathy, and developing drive in our passions as human beings who fully support one another.
For more information on Outreach360's virtual internships, please visit www.outreach360.org/virtualimpact.