COLLEAGUE YEAR: 2013
PLACEMENT: Whitworth Costa Rica Center
CURRENTLY: Bilingual Wish Manager, Make-A-Wish Foundation Alaska and Washington
Five years after her service placement in Costa Rica, Lauren Davies is in Spokane with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
As its first bilingual Wish Coordinator, she makes dreams come true for dozens of families each year whose children face critical health challenges. Families who speak Spanish turn to Lauren when they have questions or need support during the complicated wish process.
Her skill in navigating culture barriers began at the Whitworth Costa Rica Center, where she helped students grasp the experience of living outside their country. Friendships with neighbors taught her “the value of relying on my own strength and the power in relying on the strength of others and of God to help get through hard times.”
She used her grant to learn to teach English to speakers of other languages, and spent another year in Costa Rica teaching English to adults. Hired by the Make-A-Wish Foundation a year after returning from Costa Rica—a year when applying for 50 jobs made her seriously doubt her worth—Lauren sees herself as an advocate. Promoted to manager, she lobbied to hire another bilingual person to cover the eastern Washington counties she served.
Observing “the inequity in the health system for families whose first language isn’t English,” she plans to get a certificate in medical interpreting to better give her families “hope, strength, joy, and resilience to continue their fight.”