For a short while, now, I’ve been sitting on some big news and struggling with how to properly share it. With blogging, or anything else really, I never want to sound narcissistic, pompous, or full of myself. But after starting and restarting several attempts, I decided to stick with the old band aid approach. So here it goes:
I am excited to share that for the next year, through July 2017, I will be working with the nonprofit organization, Plant With Purpose, as a field communications fellow in the Dominican Republic!
Now what exactly does this all mean? Let me begin with the organization:
Plant With Purpose, based in San Diego, California, empowers farming families and communities around the world to overcome rural poverty and environmental degradation. More specifically, this holistic transformation occurs through sustainable farming and reforestation, microfinance savings and loan groups, and local church partnerships, among other country-specific avenues.
Most impressively, since its founding in 1984, Plant With Purpose members have planted over 15.5 million trees across seven country programs, and over 21,000 participants currently hold over $1.6 million in microfinance group equity. And it will only continues to grow from there.
To share this exciting impact, the organization decided to pursue a brand new international fellowship program. And that’s where I come into the picture.
As Plant With Purpose’s first ever field communications fellow, I will be interviewing farmers and community members, sharing their encouraging stories of transformation, capturing photos and video, assisting the local staff with fundraising, and serving as a liaison for anything else between the US and Dominican Republic office.
Since declaring my undergraduate major in writing, this is everything I have worked for over. This is my dream job.
I fell in love with Plant With Purpose and its mission as an intern during my senior year of college. Through my classes at university, internship, and recent fellowship orientation, I’ve continued to learn about international development, nonprofit communications, and my role for the next year. As with anything else in life, though, there’s so much that can’t be gained except through personal experience. And that’s what excites me the most.
I’m thrilled for this opportunity to further expand my writing, photography, Spanish, and nonprofit experience. I’m overjoyed to witness Plant With Purpose’s work firsthand and interact with the staff once again, now including the international staff and donor network. But most importantly, I’m grateful to serve rural Dominican farming families and communities.
But in the excitement of preparing for this new experience, especially one that’s long-term and international, I forgot about the pre-departure limbo of nostalgia that comes with having to say “goodbye.”
I’ve said goodbye to my close friends and family for the next year, and it finally hit me how much I’ll miss them. I’m excited to finally achieve my dream job, but I’ll have to miss many events and the life and time that continues to pass in between. And that got me thinking about having to say goodbye to parts of myself.
Just as Plant With Purpose transforms the lives of its partners, mine is no exception. These new experiences, situations, and relationships will no doubt transform my own values and beliefs.
But I know that it’s all for something much better and necessary. So I’ve found that with saying goodbye comes comes something I find far more significant.
I get to say hello to a new country and home. I’ll have plenty of opportunities to say “Hola, me llamo Taylor, mucho gusto,” to my new coworkers, my host family, the farmers and community members I’ll come to know and serve, and (hopefully) new friends. Just as importantly, I will begin recognizing and saying hello to the yet unknown aspects of myself that I’ll meet as well.
In this following year I welcome any and all challenges, frustrations, marvels, and successes that I know will come. I look forward to each of these opportunities to learn, grow, and enrich my life, while supporting others in any way I can.
And to all the friends and family who have helped support me in this transitional period, I’m extremely grateful. Thank you for seeing me off all the way through the goodbyes, and I look forward to our next hellos.
So as I say hello to the many new people, places, and experiences during this next year, I invite you follow along on this site, to follow along in my journey, and come say hello with me.
The wonderful people at Plant With Purpose also enjoy making new friends; so perhaps stop by their page and say hello!