Olancho Aid Spotlight: Jess Santavy
Hometown: Greensburg, PA
University: Gannon University, Erie PA
When did you begin working with the Olancho Aid Foundation?
I served as a volunteer with Olancho Aid back in 2007-2008. In March of 2016, I was hired as an employee.
How did you first hear about Olancho Aid?
When I was about to graduate from college, I debated between graduate school and service abroad. When I was seeking programs that might be a good fit, a campus minister directed me to the Catholic Volunteer Network, which is a great resource for anyone considering domestic or international service.
What is your role at Olancho Aid?
Director of Advancement
How has your role changed since you began at Olancho Aid?
I am Olancho Aid’s first US-based employee, so from the start I have felt like this role is constantly developing. Over the last two years I have had the opportunity to connect with our supporters and mission teams, to be a part of volunteer recruitment, and to work directly with students traveling to the US. Every day is different and I love that.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Without question, the best part of my job is getting to learn about so many different topics. On any given day, I might be involved with projects from web design to scholarships to fire alarms to connecting a one of our Nazareth students to a US medical center.
Do you have a favorite memory of your time at Olancho Aid?
So many good memories. One of the best is from when I was volunteering; teachers were required to have uniforms made. We were given fabric and could choose any style as long as we wore the correct fabric – top and bottom – on each day of the week. A friendly teacher helped us new volunteers find a seamstress – I won’t even get into the details of that process. In the end, some of the outfits looked absolutely ridiculous, but we wore them, every single week. There was actually a framed photo of my roommate, Colleen, and me in the worst of the terrible outfits. (It was lime green and aqua blue.) I saw it again years later when I visited the volunteer house. They must have thought it was funny enough to keep, even though they didn’t know either of us.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
The three things I bring home from every trip to Juticalpa are Chile d’ Olancho, coffee, and Natura’s frijoles.