When I left the U.S. two years ago, I thought it was very possible that I would not return for many years. I had my eyes set on Cambodia to help educate and empower women there.
I guess I didn’t see then what I see so clearly now, that the people in the U.S. need my help first.
After years of working on my own self-love and self-empowerment, I feel stronger than ever that I have to help empower other women, and continue to empower teenagers, to use their voices and work to make this world the best possible place for all living beings. I want to fight for women’s rights and access to education and equality all around the world, but I can only do that once I know my own country, and all of its people, are strong.
Therefore, I have decided to take a break from the traditional high school English literature and composition teaching role and put my energy into empowering women and teenagers on Native American reservations around the U.S. In doing so I hope to gain the perspective I need to make a long term impact on the world of education and women’s rights.
For the next leg of my journey, I will travel around the U.S. with my best friend, Lindsey, to volunteer our time to the Natives on various reservations (to be determined). After Lindsey joined the natives in their important work at the Standing Rock protest in 2016, she has become more and more entrenched in the work and missions of the Natives, and I am excited to join her in working to support this community.
Lindsey and I believe that a major part to self-love and independence is confidence and strength of mind and body. She is a self-defense trainer with an amazing ability to connect with people and know just what she can do to help them. She and I are going to do whatever we can to empower Native women and teens on the Reservations.
I don’t yet know exactly what my role is going to be there, but I can see myself doing many things. Volunteering at the schools, offering after school programs like drawing and cooking and practices in mindfulness, and supporting the self-defense training however I can (until I also become trained) are things I am looking forward to. I will learn everything I can to best be able to serve the needs of these communities as I get to know them.
And, as with all great tasks, I am going to need the help of my communities, my family and friends and fellow peacemakers to be successful.
I am hosting a fundraiser here in Sao Paulo on June 9th. I will be donating all of my artworks, on which people can make a bid to purchase. It will be a silent auction, of which all proceeds will go towards this self-love and self-defense mission. I will use the money to buy supplies, food, and transportation around the U.S. as I venture from place to place.
If you live in the states but would like to make a contribution to my journey, you can make a private donation on my GoFundMe page. I will also post a link to my artworks in case any of you really love a piece and want to have it shipped to you.
I still have every intention of making it to Cambodia someday to teach and/or volunteer, but I have realized that serving my own country is my priority right now, and I am honored to be able to return home and begin this work very soon!
Thank you for all of your love and support!