Keene Police Officer Cristina Paterno will be heading to Antigua, Guatemala on December 3rd through December 10th, 2017. She is volunteering with IFRE which is a nonprofit international volunteer organization based in Dallas, TX.
Poverty, abuse and alcoholism have left many children in Guatemala without families, depriving them of the parental love and care they need. IFRE’s orphanage volunteer projects in Guatemala aim to change these children’s circumstances providing caring and nurturing volunteers to work and play with them.
In IFRE’s program, volunteers primarily help orphans with basic English skills and by organizing creative, extra-curricular activities such as game, singing, music, drawing, etc.
Officer Paterno will be living with a host family, sharing a room with one or two other female volunteers. She will be working in the orphanage Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until noon and taking Spanish lessons in the afternoon.
When asked why she wants to volunteer in an orphanage, Officer Paterno explained that her mother was in an orphanage in Portugal as a child for a few months. “If I can give back by leaving an impression on these kids in some way, whether that’s giving them hope or just being a positive influence, that would be gratifying”.