Investing My Life and Passion
Where I've Been
In 2014, I was working in Real Estate in Northern California. A close friend invited me to travel to Guatemala with him to teach art to at-risk children. I instantly fell in love with the country, the people, and the mission of Athentikos. After the trip, I decided to fully invest my passion in the mission, because I saw its power firsthand. It totally changed my life. Since 2014, I’ve taught at-risk children music and visual arts. In 2017, I focused on storytelling through video production. Over the last 4 years, I participated in 7 Guatemalan camps and 4 domestic projects, and it has been absolutely marvelous!
2017 was an amazing year! Athentikos helped transform the lives of over 600 kids, 50 adults, and 100 volunteers. We collaborated with 5 different partner organizations in Guatemala and the US, including orphanages, refuge homes for at-risk youth, churches, and inner-city ministries. I stepped outside my comfort zone and lived in Guatemala for 2 months during the fall of 2017, to prep for the camps and explore new potential partners in mission. I took on even greater responsibilities, working directly on every instance of the 2017 programming, and directing two separate video projects, one at each of the fall camps.
Viaje A Nibirus
At the Casa Bernabé camp, I led a workshop around the art of filmmaking. It was so inspiring to watch the children come up with their roles and content. When writing their screenplay, they decided on a suspenseful mood, and set the story on a faraway planet named Nibirus. Nibiru, by definition, is a supposed cataclysmic planetary event. The kids at Casa Bernabé named their wonderful short film’s imaginary planet after it. We walked through every step of production, from concept, to writing, to filming, and editing. The kids had a blast, and honestly, so did I! Here’s the result of all of our hard work. I am proud to present this short film to you on behalf of the children from the Casa Bernabé Orphanage.
At the Oasis Camp, I worked with another Athentikos team member, Kati Korosuo, who is a dancer. We came up with the idea of documenting a dance choreography video from the sky with a drone. The idea was similar to synchronized swimming, but on a soccer field with the perspective of a bird. Kati is an extraordinary dancer and worked well with instructing the girls. They worked out their choreography step by step and I captured the process with the drone, making sure the shots were as uniform as possible. It was fun to watch the process, and even more fun to celebrate with the kids during the art show by watching the edited video! The video below is a portion of the project. Due to security concerns for the girls at the home, I have edited this from its original form to blur the faces of the children.
These two projects continue to inspire me because they document the creativity and spirit of children who have painful pasts, but are celebrating their true identity as art of the Great I AM. These children carry traumatic memories, but these projects helped them build confidence, pride, and genuine joy … joy that overflowed to everyone around them.
Where Am I Going?
Join me on this journey! In 2018, we are leading 4 camps in Guatemala to continue the work of investing love and creativity into these youth that come from such struggle. You can make a difference by bringing your creative talents to work on projects with children and show them potential that no one believed was possible. Check out the link below to learn all the details!