Review of The Light and Leadership Initiative by Shelby O'Brien

on 08/01/2016

Definitely volunteer with LLI

Well, where do I even start. The impact that this organization has had on my life is way too vast to relate in a short review, so I'll try to highlight some of the main selling points.

1. Something I really value about this organization is that we live right smack dab in the community that we work in. If you are looking for an immersive cultural experience, you can definitely get that here. You live with volunteers from all over the world, so you learn so much about the world just from the at-home living situation. Living and working in Huaycán immerses you in Peruvian culture and really makes you feel like a part of the community. This also helps build trust and comradery between volunteers and program participants, and it makes the work we do that much more impactful.

2. The people that work in our house are awesome. LLI is a small, grassroots non-profit that really feels like a family. The peruvian employees that work in our house (security guards, cook, woman that helps clean) always have your back and are super helpful and patient when it comes to improving your Spanish, getting travel or cultural tips, or just having a nice chat.

3. We have organized and clear goals, and you do REAL work. Something I've noticed in other similar non-profits is an extreme lack of organization in curriculum, tracking of program development, and clear roles of the volunteers. This isn't the type of place where you just kind of show up and are given nothing to do, and then leave feeling like you didn't really change anything. Every single volunteer, no matter short-term or long-term, will make a difference in the lives of our program participants, and will help the organization to move closer to bigger goals.

4. Total transparency in all regards. You know where your money is going, you know why you are doing the things you are doing, and if you have any concerns, we talk about it. Lara (founder/directer of LLI) is extremely open and approachable, and all the volunteers regularly meet to discuss progress, new ideas, issues, etc.

5. We have programs for kids, teens, and adults, in a huge range of subject areas, so you are really given the chance to use your talents and knowledge in the way that will make the most impact for you specifically.

I could go on and on, but just volunteer with LLI and you'll find out for yourself why it's so awesome. And if you do, definitely eat lots of mangos. And arroz con leche.