We spoke with Jen, who is based in Maine. Her experience with Safe Passage has ranged from volunteering, leading Support Teams, and sponsoring a student. Here’s her story:

How and when did you first hear about Safe Passage?
I first heard about Safe Passage not long after I moved to Maine in 2006. I read about Hanley’s tragic accident in the paper, and had assumed that meant her organization would close as a result. I was amazed when I realized a year later that Safe Passage was still thriving.

How would you describe your involvement with Safe Passage?
My first experience with Safe Passage was on an Open Support Team in 2015. It was a profound week, and also when I met Yancy, who would become my sponsored student. I returned for another Support Team week the following year with a friend, and then volunteered for a few months in the Maine office. I now work in the Falmouth Schools am lucky enough to bring a group of 10 high school students every year to Safe Passage as a Support Team. Dream job!

Jen with her Falmouth Support Team

Why is supporting Safe Passage meaningful to you?
There are an infinite number of organizations doing so much good work around the world. What keeps me so engaged with Safe Passage is the focus on the root causes of the challenges in the Guatemala City dump community.

What do you hope your Falmouth high school students get out of visiting Safe Passage?
There is so much for the high school students to absorb while we are there. I hope they leave inspired by what a difference one person can make. And perhaps more importantly, believing that they, too, can have that type of positive impact on the world. Safe Passage does an excellent job telling Hanley’s story to Support Teams and I am grateful for that.

How would you define success for our students?
I define success as being safe, happy, and ultimately self-sufficient.

Jen with her sponsored student Yancy

Experience your own profound weeklong introduction to Safe Passage by joining a Support Team. No team, no problem – you can join an Open Support Team! For more information, e-mail our Support Team Coordinator at teams@safepassage.org.