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Spring Arbor University social work intern, Dayanara, reflects on her experience

“To be in the work of opportunity”

Common Hope had the privilege of hosting Dayanara Dennis, a student from Spring Arbor University, for a three month internship in Guatemala. She first came to Guatemala in 2015 on a semester abroad program to study Spanish and fell in love with the country and the people and knew she wanted to return. The director of her semester abroad program suggested that based on her skills and interests, Common Hope would be a perfect place to do her social work internship. And it was!

Dayanara worked directly with the Antigua social work program, supporting with house visits and database entry. She also actively participated in our Nurturing Parenting and the Reading Promotion Programs. She received hands-on experience accompanying affiliated families while also having an opportunity to practice her Spanish.

Dayanara reflects on her experience: As my time comes to a close here at Common Hope, I am so very grateful for this opportunity I have had here with an awesome team doing amazing work in Guatemala. I have met so many amazing people here full of passion for their work and such kind hearts for those around them. Through interactions with Guatemalan families and colleagues, I have been reminded of the passion I have for people and for this work. People are so fascinating and even though modes of communication vary, the desire is the same: to be heard. People want to be heard, to feel like they matter, and to know that someone cares. Everyone desires this and expresses this in their own way. It is a privilege and an honor to be the one who listens to the deepest cries of their heart. It is an even greater honor to be the one to walk with them on the journey of bettering themselves. Seeing someone have success through such means that they achieved for themselves is a beautiful thing. To see opportunities open up for them and to watch them grab ahold of them. It is a sight that my eyes and heart will never tire of seeing and experiencing.

I feel privileged to be in this line of beautiful work. To be in the work of opportunity.

I am so grateful to all of the families that have shared a bit of their lives with me these past three months. Thank you for trusting me with your worries, but also your successes. Thank you for opening up your homes to me and letting me join you on your journeys.”

Dayanara graduated at the beginning of May, completing her degree in Spanish and social work. She now hopes to return to Guatemala and find a job working for a nonprofit. Her dream is to one day be the director of a nonprofit working with women in Guatemala.

Thank you Dayanara for all your work during your time with Common Hope! We wish you the best in your future plans!

You can read more of Dayanara’s reflections from her experience in Guatemala on her blog:


Common Hope appreciates all of the individuals who are part of this “work of opportunity,” helping to open doors and create opportunities for children and families living in poverty in Guatemala. If you are interested in sharing your time and talents, you can find out more about becoming a short-term or long-term volunteer.

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