Please welcome Kelly Mitchell, the newest member of the Hearts of Gold team! Kelly brings her background from American University’s School of International Service where she received her MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution with a focus in Latin America, and from Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland where she studied Anthropology, Latin American Studies, and Spanish. Having always had a heart for indigenous movements and marginalized groups, these topics became real to her when she worked at a shelter in Cuenca for families impacted by domestic violence. She also served in a social work capacity working directly with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault at a small agency in Maryland. There she helped them confront trauma by providing emotional counseling and safety planning.
With the help of her colleagues, Kelly bridges the gap between Hearts of Gold and its partner organizations. Some of her goals as Program Coordinator are to strengthen the Community Assistance Program (CAP), create an orientation program, workshop series, and maintain more regularity with the partners in general. Inside the office, she provides services such as funding research and grant writing, organizing the CAP, and preparing documents Hearts of Gold reports. Outside the office, she does the site visits and meets with the directors of programs, collaborating on the development of new projects and monitoring the role of Hearts of Gold through program evaluation.
What drew Kelly to Hearts of Gold was her passions for indigenous movements, for conflict resolution, for helping marginalized groups fight the struggles that they face due to socio-economic circumstances. What keeps her here is the passion behind the work, the desire to make service the lifestyle, the mobility of the job that urges her colleagues to always ask, “Okay, what’s next?” Kelly is inspired by those actively contributing to the Cuencano community, such as a dedicated volunteer, Franny, who contributes her time and heart to CETAP-Lucy and an individual project to provide housing for a family in need.
It is clear that Ecuador has become Kelly’s home, with all of its unexpected weather, mountains, and delicious humitas. Hearts of Gold is thankful for the energy of the young, committed expat who has taken her passion to Cuenca.