Krystina Irvin is the Director of Experiential Learning at Texas A&M University in San Antonio, TX. She is lovingly known as Teacher Krystina by our students in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic and is remembered by many in the Outreach360 community as the incredible Team Leader with the contagious laugh. After serving on our leadership team for a couple of years, Krystina continues to support our students in the most incredible of ways, including giving monthly as a Touch the Future Sponsor.
How did you first get involved with Outreach360?
I was looking for an opportunity to contribute to international development on a longer-term basis, and I came across a job posting to be a Team Leader for two years with Outreach360. I went to check out the program for a couple of weeks, fell in love with the community and the kids, and signed up to be part of the program for two years (from June 2012 to July 2014).
What motivates you to continue your support?
Knowing how hard the students are working to give themselves a life of choice. They face so many challenges, yet they continue to persevere. Even though I can't always go in-country to dedicate my time and energy, I can at least find it in my budget to make sure that the students and the program have the funding they need to equip themselves with the tools to succeed.
How has Outreach360 impacted you and your family's life?
We make a regular commitment to contribute financially to the program, and to stay up to date on the progress and successes of the program. When my kids are a bit older, we will definitely take a family trip to volunteer in-country so that they can make connections with kids from a different part of the world and see how much they have in common.
How has the feeling of being part of the Outreach360 community stayed with you?
I think about the kids and the people of Outreach360 all the time, and the connections I made. From the generosity of the ladies of the black pottery cooperative to the kindness of the kitchen staff to the hard work and determination of the students in the program; each of them reminds me how to be a better person.
How is Outreach360 unique from other non-profit organizations you do/could support? Outreach360 is volunteer-driven, and certainly, donor-supported. It approaches the work in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua not as a charitable act towards unfortunate people who need outside help, but as a partnership in which everyone has something to learn and gain from the experience, and that everyone has a hero within themselves.
What would you say to someone considering supporting Outreach360 in this way?
It really is an incredible program, and although not everyone has the time or money to commit to a week of serving alongside the community, a regular financial contribution can help keep the program thriving.
What message would you like to share with the students?
That they are AMAZING! They have so much potential and work hard to achieve their dreams, and they will do it! (Also, I think of them all the time!!!)