I was at Richmond Vale Academy for almost 2 years. (end of 2007 until feb 2009).
That was to say the least, the best experience of my life. When I arrived I came across a academy with people of different nationalities and different languages.
At the beginning I found it very challenging, since the participants themselves managed the academy routines, through common meetings and groups. Tasks were divided and all participants were encouraged to do their part making the whole community work.
I learned a lot with this methodology, I became a proactive person and I carry this with me to this day, in the various work positions that I took on.
Something I miss a lot is the inclusive environment with different possibilities for the development of life skills and sharing knowledge and ideas with everyone.
Learning to live in a community was difficult for me, but it was a flow of inspiration, because from the moment we live in a community, we feel part of it, we do everything to make it right. That was my feeling with all the other participants.
My job at the Academy was to promote and enroll new volunteers. I had a coach, who taught me a lot and in a few months I had already enrolled several Brazilians. The skills that I learned I carry with me to this day.
I visited other countries holding information meetings and engaging participants, in Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia and various places in Brazil; I believe I contributed a lot to the Academy.
Regarding building maintenance, well-being and living space, it was as if it was our own home we took care of, decorated, created, painted, repaired as well as creating a welcoming environment for chats, playing games, studies, holding common meetings and sharing meals.I often met with the residents, the Chateubelair community, they are friendly and there is a great potential for working with children and adolescents and creating a change within the community.
Finally, Richmond Vale Academy was an excellent opportunity for me to grow as a person, professionally and emotionally. If I could, I would come back and do it all over again taking coffee at the peak of La Soufriere, for the rest of my life.
Ricardo Luiz de Assis
Organizer, Child Aid Tucano
Humana People to People, Brazil