Ellen serves as program coordinator for Therapy Abroad’s Belize program. She has over 14 years of experience working in domestic and international special education, including applied behavior analysis, public awareness and child advocacy. Belize holds a special place in her heart as it was the site for her 27 month service in the United States Peace Corps.
What is your favorite travel memory?
My favorite travel memories are definitely on Caye Caulker with my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers while we were serving in Belize. Lots of laughs and great memories were shared on that sweet little island. Late nights, long talks, and dives in the deep blue sea were some of my favorites. It was the perfect recharging station where we could meet up and spend a couple days relaxing with friends.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
Working for Therapy Abroad has allowed me to continue the work I was doing while in Belize as a Peace Corps volunteer, but on a much larger scale. I really enjoy working with the teams we bring down and the fact that we're now in country about 6 months throughout the year aids in our ability to ensure our program's sustainability.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
I love hearing students' individual stories of how Therapy Abroad has broadened their scope. For a lot of our students, our programs are extremely eye opening experiences and sometimes their first opportunity to travel outside of the United States. It's most impressive to me their courage and determination to take on a hands-on learning opportunity in an unfamiliar environment.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
Our company just started a program in the Dominican Republic and I would love to check it out. It would be my first time visiting the DR and I would be interested to see the similarities and differences between there and Belize in terms of services offered for children with special needs and everyday life.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
I think the importance that both the founders of Therapy Abroad and myself put on the sustainability of our programs makes our company unique. As returned Peace Corps volunteers, sustainability is one of our highest values. We seek to work in countries and with partnerships that WANT to work with us. We put a high priority on professional trainings to ensure carryover.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
I believe the biggest factor in the success of Therapy Abroad in Belize are the relationships and connections we're building with not only professionals in the field there, but also with the families and communities we're working with. It's these relationships that create the foundation for change that we hope to see within country's services for their special needs population.