This year Tui'k Ruch' Lew is happy to welcome its first ever Princeton in Latin America (PiLA) fellow. PiLA fellows are selected through a rigorous application process and then paired with nonprofits throughout Latin America. Elijah comes to TRL after finishing his BA at Oregon State University with 1 year of nonprofit, project management experience. Before arriving at TRL he spent 9 months in Chile where he worked and traveled. He has taken the positions of Communications Director and Fundraiser. Get to know our fellow!
Elijah was born in Charlottesville, VA and raised in Washington, DC. The son of a nurse/case manager he was always close to community based work. In high school Elijah was selected from a group of his peers to serve as a House Congressional Page for the Honorary Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D, District of Colombia). House Pages work in the House of Representatives assisting Congressional Representatives with day-to-day tasks. Pages also attend a special boarding school run by the House of Representatives where they live and study for the duration of their term. Elijah graduated from the House Page school in 2010 and from School Without Walls high school in 2011.
After graduating from high school Elijah traded east coast for west when he elected to attend Oregon State University. There he majored in Political Science and minored in Anthropology and Spanish. Elijah's dreams of traveling internationally were realized for the first time in 2014 when he was accepted into the School for International Training's (SIT) program Development, Politics, and Languages based out of Quito, Ecuador. He spent a semester in Ecuador refining his Spanish language skills and completing a month long research project entitled "Construyendo Ushay: La Politica de CONAIE-Pachakutic en el Gobierno Parroquial de San Lucas" which analyzed the indigenous political influences on development projects in the town of San Lucas, Ecuador.
Upon returning from Ecuador, Elijah volunteered as membership coordinator for the Corvallis branch of the NAACP where he helped coordinate a cross-cultural Police training workshop; the first minority led initiative of its kind in the country. The following year he was inducted into the Oregon State University chapter of the National Political Science Honorary Pi Sigma Alpha. After graduation Elijah relocated to Eugene, OR to work for the White Bird Clinic, a small clinic dedicated to helping Lane County's most disadvantaged residents. It was at the White Bird Clinic that Elijah first became directly involved with the Latino Community and harnessed his Spanish language skills as a bilingual medicaid application advocate. He began to volunteer for the Civil Liberties Defense Center, a nonprofit dedicated to civil rights. At the Civil Liberties Defense Center Elijah worked as a translator for the "Know Your Rights" training which aimed to educated immigrants of their rights when interacting with the various types of law enforcement in Oregon.
In October 2017 Elijah relocated to South America and applied to Princeton in Latin America with the hopes of becoming a fellow and gaining valuable international experience in the nonprofit sector. After traveling from Quito to Santiago, Chile he settled into life in the city and worked as an English teacher while awaiting placement with PiLA. in July of 2018 Elijah began his one year of service with Tui'k Ruch' Lew/Helping the Earth. He is beyond excited for this new challenge and has enjoyed the unique needs of the organization. TRL offers fellows the opportunity to make their position their own by using all of their previous experiences to bring lasting change to the organization. Elijah is most excited about the possibility of expanding the ONIL stove project to other areas of the Lake Atitlan region and for the pilot project to bring sustainable biodigesters connected toilets to the lake communities.
When he is not working at TRL you can find Elijah playing soccer at one of the many local fields, filling up on a good burger, or enjoying the views from his wonderful home in Pachavac. You can follow him on instagram @jollyanthman.