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  • Writer's pictureAna Sofia Chamorro

Vivir, Inspirar, Amar, Enseñar

Senior Andrea Velasquez takes the first steps to make a difference among underprivileged girls

VIAE is a club that strives to promote girls with poor resources with humanitarian aid that will change their lives. This club was founded two years ago by our own senior, Andrea Velásquez, who was moved by the situation so many Nicaraguan girls were in and decided it was time to take action

Andrea Velásquez was inspired by the need of these girls to have supporting figures to teach them important values and life lessons. As Andrea says, “These girls go through a lot, and time is so valuable that they also have the right to enjoy and most importantly learn life lessons that will be their weapons in the future.” To take action, she and the officers of VIAE (Sofía Quadra, Karen Velásquez, Maria Alejandra Peñalba, and Verónica Zavala) recruited students to go on Saturdays to the dining hall where they visited, taught, and mentored these girls.

Andrea Velásquez began visiting the girls when she opened the club in 10th grade.

However, since COVID-19 struck in February of 2020 they have not been able to visit the girls. Andrea states that the greatest challenge given the circumstances is that they haven’t been able to see them, therefore, failing to provide enough character-building activities for them to adapt and properly form themselves. Still, as the club reopens this year, she hopes enough people join VIAE so that they can restart activities to promote and secure the wellbeing of these indigent girls.

Despite being swamped with school work and college applications, Andrea continues to work diligently on VIAE. She says, “The truth is that once you love helping and caring for the ones that are around you, it is difficult to realize that it is time-consuming.” Moved by her love for helping others, the VIAE members developed a deep affection for these girls and this has taught Andrea to value the little things in life. For example, by watching these girls’ huge smiles simply for receiving a slice of pizza or learning to count in English she has learned to value education.

This image shows the joy the girls experience when CSA students visit them and plan fun activities. Image from VIAE’s Instagram, VIAE_CSA

Andrea, however, is much more than just the founder of VIAE. She is a daughter, friend, and inspiration to her sister Karen, who ‘looks up to Andrea’ for taking the initiative to start a club that strives to make these girls’ days a little better. Karen is a ninth-grader and an officer of club VIAE and is extremely proud of her sister’s accomplishments. She tells us that Andrea is the type of person who always offers a helping hand and who speaks words of encouragement to everyone around her. Karen is deeply saddened by Andrea’s soon departure to college because she feels she is losing her best friend who’s known her from the day she was born. But for the time being, she spends as much time with Andrea as she can, mostly baking, making jewelry, and talking.

This year I joined VIAE because I think it will show me to be more human and compassionate. I also want to be able to share all the things I know with these girls who need it.

Nicaragua is full of people who need our help. As Tony Robbins said, “Knowing is not enough. You must take action.” How will you help?

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