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Teresa

Author Description

About Teresa

Hi! Welcome to our website!

About a year ago, I decided to leave a job that I love, to take my kids, Jennifer, Alex and Bella, and my best friend’s daughter Meagan, on a year long adventure around the world to volunteer in various non-profits, experience the world together, and learn what other organizations are doing for people in need and what we can do to help.

The project has evolved into something much more!  I started thinking that as long as we are volunteering, why not try to raise some money for the non-profits we would visit.  Then I thought about how little many of us (including me) know about the rest of the world, and we could use this opportunity, not only to learn about the world ourselves, but to share that with others.

My significant other has been very encouraging and we ended up getting some friend and colleagues together and starting a non-profit called “Round the World with Us”.   You can read more about our education initiatives and our projects, including a day care and community kitchen in Peru, a school in Cambodia, a reading room in Vietnam, and a peer-to-peer health and sex education program in India on our about and projects pages.

The trip will be a challenge for us in many ways – not the least of which are the drastic changes of suddenly having no home, no job, and no schools, figuring out how to spend as little as possible on travel, food and lodging, and the fact that my two youngest kids don’t actually want to travel around the world :-) I am hoping they will change their minds in a big way once we begin.

Right now, I work for the Archaeological Institute of America.  Doug Tilden (my significant other), Ben Thomas and Samantha Stein, who – with several other key people at AIA and hundreds of volunteers – have created and funded one of the best programs in the US to educate kids about other cultures and countries. We are at one of our AIA Archaeology Fairs – where my daughter Bella (one of 5,200 who visited) “excavated” more than her fair share of chocolate – learning how to record each find properly.

Even though I love my job, I am leaving because I have always wanted to do something to help people in need – especially those in developing countries. I also find, like so many other people, that I work too many hours (in addition to a three hour a day commute), so the idea of spending 24/7 with my children for a year is great!

I came up with the idea of this trip while on a plane on my way back from Peru, where I was speaking at an international responsible tourism conference. Even though I am the Executive Director of an international non-profit, it was my first time out of the US! I was there on Palm Sunday and experienced a bit of the holiday with some of the people of Peru – who were full of spirit and enthusiasm. Amidst this celebratory atmosphere, a very young boy asked me to buy a pack of gum to help support his family. Outside the city of Trujillo, I drove by a huge number of makeshift shelters that people called home. Seeing that kind of poverty first hand had a big impact on me.

I was also going through a tough time in my life.  The trip will serve many purposes, but one of them is to show that people can reach for their dreams and create something good, even when things don’t go exactly as planned.

Please explore our site, enjoy traveling with us (we leave August 1st!) and learn a little more about the ways others live on our little planet, while helping to do some good in the world.  Just visiting our site helps, as one donor has pledged 5 cents per web visit per day.

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Videos

Teresa's Blog

Xunantunich-Mayan
Video – teens at Maya Sites Xunantunich & Cahal Pech

Teens visiting Belize to excavate a Maya pyramid take the weekend to see some spectacular Maya ruins including Xunantunich.

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Belizean countryside
Video – US teens arrive in Belize to work with local teens & excavate Maya pyramid

Teens from all over the country arrive in Belize. They will team up with 9 Belizean students to excavate a royal Maya tomb and do community service projects in the US and Belize. They choose and manage the projects themselves. Teen power!!

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Service learning, Workshop, Sacred Heart College, Belize teens, paper tower, leadership training
Belize Day 2 – discovering hidden talents

at 2am I awake to the sounds of bird call and jungle noises, but I can’t appreciate them. My brain tortures me with doubts about my workshop the next day. You don’t even know these teens, what if they are bored, what if you can’t project or print anything, what if… I get up at 3am to over-prepare…the workshop begins…the kids get it. They are learning and I am too. Their talents stand out, the gain more confidence. This is why I LOVE service learning!

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at the Belize City Airport
Belize Pyramid Excavation and Service Learning Project – Day 1

We touched down in Belize yesterday afternoon.  Stepping off the plane, we were greeted by the summer heat…which for me was actually a welcome change from our summer in San Francisco, which can actually be quite cold. On the way from the airport, we stop at a grocery store to buy snacks for the service […]

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globe cover cropped
Did you see us in the Boston Globe?

This year we’re continuing to support high-impact projects in developing countries – and putting together a program for kids in the US. YOU can help! Doug Tilden has stepped up to DOUBLE donations between now and September 15th. Join us now and double your impact!

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Belize Succotz School 24
What’s new for this year?

Projects for next year? – you bet! But this year is also about connecting kids from across the globe so they can learn about each other, have fun, even tackle projects together. I can’t think of a better way to improve this little world of ours! We’re also developing a on-line resource library in case you want to get out there and volunteer yourself.

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Belize school celbration4
Wow! Look what you accomplished in just one year!

how many trees got planted?? new school libraries? a school? how many teens in Calcutta got potentially life-saving health education? guess how many Thanksgiving dinners you made possible? Read this blog to find out…

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Teresa with braids cropped1
Six things I've learned after circling the globe with 4 teens

Six things I’ve learned after traveling to 23 countries with four teenagers, living with people from all backgrounds and circumstances, jumpy from a bungee platform, snow skiing in the desert, teaching English to kids living in the slums of Calcutta, etc, etc

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Belize Succotz School 24
Building a school roof in Belize (and having a blast!)

How can you put a new roof on a school, integrate technology with laptops and wireless, create a library and conduct a cultural exchange for very little money? Great partnerships and community involvement! Find out what students in NC and Belize did to make their world a better place.

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ready to step out in SF after an all night flight from China
traveling HOME…well, sort of

Traveling is fabulous…but there is NO PLACE LIKE HOME!!

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