Ally Browning is currently our only other full-time US based employee outside our President, Riley Fuller. If you’ve been following Humanity and Hope for a while you’ve definitely seen her on our social media page. She is in constant contact with our volunteers and trip participants. We could not do what we do without her, so we wanted to make sure you got to know her too!
How did you hear about H&H?
I heard about Humanity and Hope United back in 2015 when Ben Higgins was on the Bachelorette. In 2014 I had actually applied for a job with another nonprofit who does work in Honduras, so I was interested in checking out the work H&H was doing.
Why did you decide to go on a trip?
When I went online and saw there was a trip during NYE (which is my least favorite holiday), I thought, “this will be a great way to end 2015 and start 2016, doing something I love!” I really wanted to get back to helping others and was interested in getting out of my comfort zone, so I decided to go by myself. It was an amazing trip and I ended up meeting amazing people who are some of my best friends today!
What was the most eye-opening thing you saw or experienced in Honduras?
I remember one day we were in La Coroza had gathered the community together to make a special announcement. Riley shared that H&H would be offering home loans to the people in the community. We all assumed the people in La Coroza would respond with excitement and joy, but they didn’t. They had blank stares. Later that night, we asked Riley why they responded they way they did. He shared that H&H was about building relationships and trust, and we had more work to do. We had not earned 100% of their trust. He described how they often hear many promises from people that aren’t always delivered.
5 months later, I went back with H&H as an employee, and our trip focused on helping build homes in La Coroza. From there we had them sign their home loans. We didn’t give up on La Coroza and they didn’t give up on us either. It was an eye opening experience to see how listening to others, having empathy, and working together can accomplish so much. And not to mention building stronger relationships.
Tell us your favorite part about the trip as a whole!
My life completely changed on my first trip, so it’s hard to say what my favorite part was. The people in Honduras, the staff, and the volunteers were so kind. The relationships that were built on that trip will forever be part of my life. One in particular changed me… I met a little girl named Belinda who was only 7-years-old at the time and although we couldn’t speak the same language, we had an instant connection. She showed me her home, where she slept, taught me a few games, and we played near her school. She seemed so grown up as she was carrying her infant sister around and taking care of her most of the day. I wanted her to experience her childhood to the fullest. I wanted to be able to fight for her future, so she and all the other children in her community could have a better future — one with opportunities and the ability to dream. I wanted to be part of their story and help in any way I could. I began looking outside of myself and to others. I was being transformed. I can’t remember feeling more peace, joy, and happiness before my trip to Honduras. My life’s purpose became so clear after leaving Honduras. I knew God was asking me to refocus in many ways, but I had no idea the blessings that were going to unfold once I did.
Any advice (or encouragement) you'd give to someone who is thinking of joining us on a trip?
Just say yes :) and when you do, go with an open heart. Don’t have expectations of what you think it should be or what you should get out of it. Our main purpose is to love every person you encounter. You will become part of a community who seeks to love others and believes there is potential inside every person… potential to become the best version of themselves.
If you are on the fence, please reach out to me firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk through your doubts. I would love to get to know you, your passions, talents, interests and also share more about our trips. We have a whole team of volunteers who want to help make the process leading up to our trips easy and enjoyable. We are also available after you return from Honduras to hear all about your experience and process anything you are feeling if needed.
How has your trip impacted your daily life post trip?
Oh goodness, it has impacted every aspect of my life. Shortly after I returned, I started helping with H&H’s social media. I also challenged our team to give up lunch for one week, pack a PB&J (this is what we eat for lunch every day during our trips), and take time to reflect on the people we met and our overall experience. Then, at the end of the week we were to make a donation on the money we saved to create job opportunities for others. We ended up raising around $500! On Martin Luther King day, I received a call from Riley, where he shared that H&H was looking to hire someone as their Director of Engagement. He encouraged me to apply for the position. I was blown away and honored that I was even being considered for the position. I know God was opening up doors for me to truly refocus my life. May 2016 I began working full-time for H&H. My job as the Director of Engagement is to work with our volunteers, creating opportunities where they can use their skills/passions to discover their purpose. H&H is truly a community of people who want to be part of something bigger than us all. Together, we are creating a movement of bringing change to others by using our unique gifts and talents to serve one another. I absolutely love my job, and the people I get to work with and do life with!
What is your day to day life? (what do you do when you're not working with H&H; career, hobbies, life goals)
You can typically find me around people -- I love getting to know people and making connections. I recently moved to Denver so I am meeting a ton of amazing people. I also love exploring my beautiful new city -- whether that is going hiking, eating a new restaurants, or walking around Sloan’s Lake. I also love my introverted time, where I often find myself reading, listening to podcasts, or spending time with my goldendoodle Demi.
What are ways you plan to continue to be generous and offer hope in your daily life? (ie..hosting a fundraiser, charity ride, becoming a monthly donor). We'd love to support you too!
I would never ask a donor or volunteer to do something I wouldn’t myself. I sponsor a student who lives in Remolino and also am a committed monthly donor to our General Budget. I also try and host a fundraiser of my own every year!
What are your hopes and dreams for H&H?
I have many hopes and dreams for H&H! I hope for all the communities we are currently serving (and the many others in the future) to be thriving in all areas of their life. That parents have a consistent income and can provide for their families. That children DREAM BIG and have opportunities to achieve those dreams. For each community to have clean water, a safe place to sleep and play, the best schools, electricity, and adults wanting even more for their children’s futures.
H&H is a community that feels a lot like family to me. I believe 100% in my heart that the work we are part of is life changing. One of my biggest dreams is for H&H to continue to be a movement where many more people are experiencing change, discovering their purpose, and feeling surrounded by amazing people. This is what H&H has been for me over the last three years and I’ve seen many others experience it as well. I just want every person to have a life full of purpose and it would be pretty cool is H&H had a part to play in some way, shape, or form.