In 2010, Cutrona kicked off her international volunteering with an alternative spring break trip to Costa Rica where she worked in a medical clinic, and then moved on to Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Bolivia for backpacking adventures. Cutrona’s love for travel and volunteering ultimately led her to the Omprakash Partner Voluntario Global.
Cutrona spent four weeks with Voluntario Global in Buenos Aires, Argentina teaching English to elementary students and working in the community center, Los Pibes, as a tutor. Cutrona is currently volunteering at a medical clinic in Honduras.
Please enjoy our recent interview with Cutrona.
Omprakash (Omp): Why are you inspired by working with children?
Taryn Cutrona (TC): I am inspired by working with children because of the energy and vibe that they spread to the people around them. They are always willing to learn and help each other out, [and] I always enjoy their company and enthusiasm. After my first week of volunteering I would enter the building and would be immediately smothered with hugs and kisses, [and] they would run up to me and tell me what they did in school that day, or what game they wanted to play. I loved getting to know them and form a trusting and respectful relationship.
Omp: What is your favorite memory of volunteering?
TC: It’s difficult to pick just one memory, but there is one time that will always stick out. There was one family of four children ages 5 to 11 that I loved getting to know. Unlike other kids, this family had to take a long bus ride at night from the more dangerous town of La Boca, all the way to their house. One night, I ended up catching the bus with the four kids and the youngest children insisted that I sit close to them and they told me stories and jokes for the entire 30 minute ride, until it was time for them to get off. Although it was hard to believe that these kids had to travel so far at night by themselves, I was so happy that they trusted me and that I was able to keep them company. And I could tell that they felt the same way about me.
Omp: Who is your role model when it comes to giving back?
TC: I don’t think I could pick one person. The people who motivate me are the people I serve. Whether it’s a group of kids who want to color, a mother worried about her sick baby, or a family who doesn’t have enough money to eat a meal every day, I always look up to them. [Even] as they look to me for support, they have no idea the impact they make on my life. For example, while teaching a man who works all day in the field to drink more water to prevent him from having chronic headaches, he teaches me to have patience, to put life in perspective, and to develop an appreciation of living simply and peacefully, which is something that I think we all can easily forget.
Cutrona’s big goals are to address malnutrition in Latin America and keep traveling. She’s passionate about sharing her stories, through written word and video, with volunteers and organizations around the world. Join her by tapping into the laughter and energy of kids, and get involved today!
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