Conversations with Melanie
Melanie has been living in the Dominican Republic for a while before joining our team. As a Manager of Operations, she oversees all of the work that is happening across the island of Hispaniola.
We had the chance to ask her a few questions, and although she’s fluent in Spanish, she was kind enough to make sure to respond in English for all us non-fluent folks.
What drew you to working with LiveDifferent in your current role?
I was already living and working for another charity in the Dominican Republic before joining LiveDifferent. I had heard about the wonderful projects that this charity was working on and the fact that their head office is in Hamilton (my hometown) was an added bonus. When the role of Manager of Operations became available, I didn’t hesitate to apply and I am soooooo grateful that I did because I love being a part of the LiveDifferent family.
How do relationships and community play a part in your work?
It is the strong and long relationships that we have with our community leaders that allow us to do the wonderful work that we do. They are the true experts and we are simply here to lend a helping hand. Their insight in their respective communities is invaluable, as they guide us to focus our projects based on their needs and to support those who need it the most. We empower them to lead the way and what’s most important is that we listen to what they have to say. It’s a combined effort from beginning to end and we together take pride in our accomplishments.
In LiveDifferent, we have a very common saying that “life is about people”. What does that expression mean to you when it comes to your involvement with the volunteers and community members in the Dominican Republic?
We focus a lot on bridging connections between community members and volunteers. I can confidently say that in every Build, we accomplish this. By the end of each trip, everyone becomes one big family.