There is a new face in Safe Passage’s Yarmouth, Maine Office.
Matthew Wolcott is the newest member of the Safe Passage community, and our new Director of Development/U.S. Director.
We sat down with Matt this week to ask him a few questions and are thrilled to share our interview transcript with you! In addition to his excitement about the Safe Passage mission, we spoke about Matt's passion for youth education, why he'd like to learn how to fly a plane, and his greatest inspiration.
Safe Passage: Hi Matt, thank you for agreeing to participate in this interview! Our readers will enjoy the opportunity to get to know you more.
Matthew Wolcott: You're very welcome! I'm very happy to be a part of the Safe Passage community.
SP: Great! Let’s start with a few background questions. Do you have experience working with international communities?
MW: Yes. For nearly a decade I volunteered on mission trips to the Dominican Republic where I helped build a hospital for Haitian refugees. We also helped run health clinics in the bateys for the Haitians. When I was living in Providence, I mentored Dominican youth as well.
SP: Your experience spans many years in many places. What makes Safe Passage stand out to you?
MW: It starts with mission. When I trace my own life, both personally and professionally, there are two strands woven throughout – youth and education. So when the opportunity arose to blend these interests along with my interest in developing nations, it was a natural fit. When you see the extreme poverty that our students and their families live in, and then understand the eternal hope that lives in these children, how can you not be inspired…just like Hanley was.
SP: Absolutely. What do you see as Safe Passage’s most valuable asset?
MW: Clearly it’s the people who devote themselves, both here in the US and in Guatemala, to the students and families of the dump community. They are totally committed to our mission.
SP: You mentioned earlier that youth and education are an important part of your life. Have you always had the desire to work with youth?
MW: Yes, although I didn’t always realize it. Since I was a student, I seemed to have always volunteered in some capacity with youth. Whether it was leading an inner-city Scout troop, teaching kids how to ski, or mentoring at-risk teens, I always seemed to gravitate toward working with kids and sharing with them the very things I enjoy most. As a parent now, it's magnified!
SP: How old are your children?
MW: I’ve got three kids – 2, 6, and 8. They’re all unique and yet they all demonstrate a curiosity and wonder that we, as adults, all too often lose sight of. I learn from them everyday.
SP: Speaking of learning, who do you admire most in life?
MW: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sounds cliche, but rarely are there individuals whose influence is so significant who continue to make an impact knowingly in spite of obvious danger.
SP: Let’s talk a bit about your personal hobbies! What is a skill you would like to learn and why?
MW: I would like to learn how to fly a plane. I love the preparation, the freedom, and the thrill.
SP: Aside from answering Safe Passage emails, how do you spend your free time?
MW: When I’m not answering emails, I love to spend as much time outdoors as I can. We ski, hike, bike, and sail. I also like to just putter around the yard.
SP: One last question before we go. What are you most looking forward to as Director of Development/U.S. Director?
MW: Connecting the dots. We have a tremendous opportunity (and responsibility) to address a tremendous need. We have smart, committed people on all sides who want to see Camino Seguro students succeed.
SP: Thank you, Matt, for spending some time with us today! Welcome to Safe Passage.
MW: Thank you for the opportunity. I'm thrilled to be a part of the team here in Maine and to have the opportunity to serve the children and families of the Guatemala City dump community.
You can reach Matt by email or by calling our U.S. Office at (207) 846-1188.