Brie Latimore had the opportunity to leave her hometown of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and spend seven weeks in the small town of San Joaquín de Flores in Costa Rica with a welcoming host family. During her stay, she took classes at the Instituto de San Joaquín de Flores in both Spanish Grammar as well as Communication for Medical Professions. These classes enabled her to participate in local clinic and hospital visits, receive weekly talks from members of the Costa Rican medical community, learn appropriate medical vocabulary, complete in-depth research about Special Education in Costa Rica, as well as sharpen her Spanish skills. While abroad, Brie received the opportunity to volunteer weekly in both the local clinic in San Joaquín as well as in the public kindergarten entitled Jardin de Niños. It was there that she worked alongside a speech language pathologist and helped administer speech therapy to the children, gaining exposure to common speech disorders prevalent in Costa Rica. While Brie placed education and cultural immersion as top priorities in Costa Rica, she also found time to snorkel in Cahuita National Park, zipline over the Arenal Volcano, swim in a crystal clear waterfall at Rio Celeste, and even take Zumba classes with her host sister and niece. Brie describes her study abroad experience in Costa Rica as the trip of a lifetime and is diligently working on a way to return to her mama tica
CEE Title: Fittsburgh Shares
Throughout all five study abroad experiences, the members of Fittsburgh Shares developed a heightened awareness for how a lack of resources negatively affects the well being of communities. We were also cognizant of how the resources that were available disproportionately went to boys over girls. After our arrival in Pittsburgh, Fittsburgh Shares realized that the conditions of poverty, and especially for women and children in poverty, are not so different here than the struggles of women and children abroad. Fittsburgh Shares aimed to reach out to the Pittsburgh community through the Hazelwood YMCA to address the lack of resources for healthy lifestyles in young children. The Hazelwood YMCA has been the heart and soul of the Pittsburgh community for generations. A disconnect was found when many resources were needed for the children in after school programs which the Hazelwood YMCA could not provide. Fittsburgh Shares asked both the University of Pittsburgh community as well as greater Pittsburgh area to donate new or gently used sporting equipment to benefit the youth at the Hazelwood YMCA. Fittsburgh Shares engaged the community by informing the children about healthy lifestyles and self confidence through stations and outdoor activities.