Jenny Sagastume is one of our newest additions as a Community Outreach and Fundraising Intern for the summer of 2015. She is from Guatemala and is one of the many who have traveled internationally to become part of our team. She believes an internship with the American Autism Association is a great opportunity for her to help expand her reach in helping families around the world. Although Jenny loves Miami, she aspires to bring the knowledge and experience she gains to share it with the people of her country.

Guatemala is a developing country in which over half the population lives in poverty. A country where violence has high rates, but employment and education rates has low ones. Lack of nutrition and unstable living conditions has forced children to begin working at an extremely young age. All of these tragic circumstances inspired Jenny to want to make a difference. Jenny is fortunate enough to attend school at Universidad Francisco Marroquin, and receive an education that will help her contribute back to her society.

When entering college, Jenny decided to pursue a major in International Relations. This was the perfect education she needed to help her country move away from the crippling effects of violence and poverty. Jenny believes “That in order to change the country, it’s not one man or woman that can make all the difference; but a community of strong people who want to work together for a better tomorrow. With that, we could change the world.”

Jenny believed that in order to help her country and its people in the future, she had to look outward to gain new experiences. In March of 2015, she decided to apply to an internship with the us. She didn’t have a lot of knowledge on the subject of autism. She had never heard of an organization with similar aspirations in Guatemala. Jenny thought that the unfamiliarity with what we were doing would help her in finding that distant experience she was looking for.

She believes that all experiences are important because you always learn something. Jenny found herself shocked during training to learn about our International Autism Help Hotline, learning about the impact autism has on families across the globe. Jenny said, “I found myself thinking about the children in Guatemala. How many children and adults could be living with autism, and not be receiving the proper care? My drive to learn only grew.”

After her summer in Miami with the American Autism Association, Jenny hopes to go back home to Guatemala and share all the knowledge she learned during her internship. She wants to help raise awareness about autism and assist those with developmental disabilities in Guatemala to get the proper care, resources, and information that they deserve. Jenny believes that “Autism is something that the world just can’t ignore, we have to fight for people with autism to be accepted!”

The American Autism Association has hosted interns from all over the world interested in raising awareness for our cause, and pushing our efforts to an international basis to achieve our mission. Her enthusiasm to learn remains constant, and we’re more than lucky to have her as a part of our team. If you’re interested in learning more about our internship program, please visit our website.



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