Nonprofit Spotlight: Changes For A New Hope Founder Turns A Personal Goal Into A Full-Time Pursuit

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Nonprofit Spotlight: Changes For A New Hope Founder Turns A Personal Goal Into A Full-Time Pursuit

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Nonprofit Spotlight: @Changes4NewHope founder makes helping #children in #Peru a full-time pursuit http://is.gd/H8EdM4
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 2:00pm

After twenty years of working in sales, Baltimore native Jim Killon was so moved by the poverty in South America that he spent his life savings to start an organization to improve the livelihood of Peruvian children and permanently relocated to Huaraz, Peru.

When he first arrived in Peru in 2008, Jim was not intending to start his own organization. But when he began working as a volunteer coordinator at an NGO, he was immediately disappointed with the way the organization was run. Disillusioned with the corrupt way funds were allocated and the volunteers who seemed more interested in partying than helping, Jim decided that he needed to do more.

"I was not content to help a handful of children with their homework and send them on their way…These children wore rags; shoes were literally falling off their feet. They were suffering from malnutrition. Their hair felt like straw," Jim recalls.

So in 2009 he began Changes for New Hope, a nonprofit organization focused on providing Peruvian youth opportunities and hope for a better future. "We had to start from scratch," he says. "Respect for themselves and each other became part of the program. Those who arrived simply for the hand-outs left as soon as they realized this was more than a give-away program. We were left with children who wanted to develop themselves into young men and women one day."

As a start-up nonprofit in a foreign country, Jim faced challenges that to most people would seem insurmountable. "I had no idea how to read a menu or make a phone call," he says. "The culture and customs were all alien to me. When people told me they eat guinea pigs as food I thought they were kidding. When I found a chicken foot in my soup I was sure it was a prank... I was told I could never succeed."

For Jim, the solution to the challenges he faced was passion. "My tenacity drew others to the project and we developed a solid base," he says. "Spanish can be learned, obstacles can be overcome. Naysayers go silent in the face of determination and success." Continue reading…

Click here to read the rest of Jim's storyRead more stories of engagement & social change

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Keywords: Volunteerism & Community Engagement | Changes for a New Hope | Education | Peru | Social Change | Social Media | VolunteerMatch | nonprofit | volunteer engagement | volunteering abroad | volunteering with children