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Getting to know our global community: Kallie Haas

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Kallie Haas, and I became involved with HOH when my best friend forwarded me a Facebook post by another HOH member. I reached out to that person, who then got me in contact with Amy. I told her, “Sure! I can fly down to Mexico in July (2018) and teach English. Why not? I don’t know anyone or really anything about this program, but it sounds legit :)”

Tell us about your past experiences with Hands Offering Hope.
For two summers, I have taught the first half of English classes at the Institute. I have shared the English teacher role with the lovely Kim Johnson. My goal during the first two weeks is to get the first years as comfortable as possible using spoken English in order to build confidence towards conversation. During the first week of the Institute, I review basic spoken and written English to prepare the Fellows for their work with Miss Kim. In January 2020, I had the honor to be a part of the Winter Conference for Educators in Kantunilkin! I presented a workshop on innovating and engaging classroom strategies to 100 community teachers! It was an incredible experience! I have grown in so many ways, thanks to my time working with HOH.

What did your involvement look like this year, and how did going virtual affect it?
This summer I helped create virtual English lessons for the Institute students. This role was fun because it caused me to stretch my creativity into a new arena, but I am very sad that I won’t get to teach our students face-to-face. I love sharing meals with them and hearing about their lives. Teaching is more than giving information to someone. Teaching is about community and relationship building. I will miss the relationships the most.

Tell us about someone who invested in your own leadership. Why did their investment in you matter?
My high school class council sponsor, Mr. Chuck Powers, invested in my leadership development. He allowed my creativity and drive to set all kinds of events in motion. He facilitated but never directed my efforts. Mr. Powers gave me free reign for fundraising, community service projects, and outreach. If I could dream it up, and find the volunteers to make the work happen, he was behind me. He gave me the confidence to believe I was mighty. Without Mr. Powers, I might not have had the strength to overcome peer pressure or home life stress. I still carry the attitude that I can make things happen simply because Mr. Powers told me so when I was 16 years old. I pray that I am continuing to make him proud as an adult, and that I am living out his legacy through my work as an educator.

Do you have any encouragement for students?
There are so many people in this world you may never meet but they are all supporting you! They want you to succeed and are rooting for you every step of the way! You will be stronger leaders and agents of global change for tackling and overcoming the extra challenge pandemic-era Institute! Keep going! Stay strong! We love you!! You are worthy!