Q & A: Natalie Salas, RJI Program Manager

Natalie Salas first became involved with YCI’s Central American partner organization, Reto Juvenil Internacional (RJI), as field staff support to volunteers in 2002. After finishing her degree in Social Sciences and Massive Communication Theories in April 2009, Natalie moved into the role of Program Manager with RJI. Today, volunteers usually meet Natalie during their orientation in Costa Rica.

How did you get involved with YCI? I started as a group leader in 2002. I saw an advertisement in the newspaper about volunteering and working with youth and got interested in the position of group leader. After that, I got selected and went to my community development project in December. I loved the experience!!

Favourite part of your job: I love to get to know the community and the volunteers. What most inspires me is getting to know wonderful people and learn from them.

What motivates you? Motivating others to be better and make a change in their lives. It motivates me that after a YCI-RJI experience your world changes and you become a completely different person for good.

Most memorable moment: My exchange trip to Youth Challenge Australia and Youth Challenge Vanuatu. I had the opportunity to go to visit the staff in Australia and Vanuatu and learn from a different development experience compared to the Americas. I met amazing people the changed my life for good and confirmed my desire to work with young people and motivate them to be leaders and seek for their dreams.

Natalie during her exchange in Vanuatu

What youth issue most concerns you? It concerns me that the youth are losing the real meaning of life and are forgetting about values like respect and solidarity. We are facing times of changes when the teamwork and solidarity are even more necessary and the young people should be the positive leaders in the present.

What gives you optimism? Something that I have learned is that everything has a solution, you just need to ACT!

What else do you do? I love going to the gym and doing aerobics. Love traveling and going to the beach to relax and spend sometime with my boyfriend, family and friends. I finished my career in Communication Theories but would like to go back to school to do some complementary studies.

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