Pedro Carrera, our Executive Director, traveled abroad for the first time to Mexico City, at age 9, to play football with his school team. Originally from Ecuador, he was fascinated by the idea of flying to another country with some of his friends to do something he was (and still is!) passionate about. From that point on, he learnt that he should always take with him a pair of football boots on his travels in case there's a chance for some tiki-taka.
His college years in Spain taught him the wonders of world travel and human diversity. However, his years working in Korea and South East Asia opened his mind and a brighter path for personal growth. His next destination is India and Nepal.
Pedro has volunteered in national park rehabilitation programs in Ecuador, and in child care centers and marine conservation in Thailand. He is presently making things happen at TVB with the rest of the staff. This was a project he envisioned two years ago as an opportunity to keep traveling the world while supporting and learning from its communities.
Vida Mikalcius, our Program Director and Editor, was born and raised in Chicago, USA, but has spent much of her time abroad. One of her first memories of traveling was in her motherland of Lithuania where she split open her head on a swing and had to shamefully wear a babushka for a couple weeks.
Her studies in writing and additional volunteering experiences allowed for stints in Prague, Czech Republic, Florence, Italy, Vilnius, Lithuania, and for the past two years in Thailand. Throughout her travels, she's found that the most meaningful experiences have come from becoming involved with the community.
She has volunteered in her hometown of Chicago at animal shelters and at a non-profit creative writing and tutoring center where she led story building workshops for primary and secondary students. She's volunteered across Europe, with fond memories of a children's home in Lithuania. In Thailand, she's used her teaching experience with children and adults, as well as lived out her life long fantasy of working with elephants.
Through becoming a part of TVB, she hopes to promote responsible travel and the exchange of stories and dialogue. She is a strong advocate for the environment and conservation. Even though the next destination on her list in India, her dream is to be a part of a research expedition in Antarctica, and to travel from South Africa to Kenya by land for TVB.
Aydin Nuno Isitemiz
Aydin Nuno Isitemiz, our webmaster, is originally from Istanbul, Turkey. At the age of 26, he became tired of the hustle and bustle of the big city life, and decided to move abroad to Thailand despite the fact never having been abroad. Aydin was looking for a change to his quality of life. Rather than living simply to work, he now spends his time choosing projects he cares about in his work and life.
Back in Turkey, Aydin was involved with several social development projects during his college years. He has experienced how volunteering has helped shaped his identity and allowed him to feel like an individual, rather than just becoming a nameless face in the crowd. He understands that he, as well as every other person, has a use in this world, and can contribute something of value through volunteering.
The excitement of TVB's projects, led him to become a member of the TVB Team. He is responsible for allowing thevolunteerbay.com to be accessed by online users across the globe. Through working with TVB, he has had the opportunity to explore some of TVB's programs.
Leanne Joy, our on-site coordinator in Thailand, has spent the past nine years of her life living and teaching in Thailand. Upon arriving to Thailand, she spent six months in the jungle as a volunteer teaching children English. Since then, she has opened her own pre-school in Phuket, and works to bring many disadvantaged children free English classes across the island. Her years of teaching has made her an expert in early childhood education./p>
Leanne, as a nurturer by nature, brings forth an air of trust and expertise that helps all the volunteers she works with transition into their roles with grace and ease.
Surya Pariyar, our on-site coordinator in Nepal, has dedicated his life to bringing opportunities to the people of Nepal through eco-tourism projects, education, and sustainable development. He has navigated his way through a sometimes tricky and unstable environment with the help of international volunteers and donors. What started out as discussion amongst youth two decades ago, grew into a movement to promote health and sanitation programs, educational awareness, and income generating projects to the rural poor.
Surya and his family have welcomed many volunteers into their home. Time and time again, volunteers reminisce and yearn to return to their Nepali family.