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I believe in the power of education to empower youth, transform communities and change the world.

I’m often amazed by what my classmates are able to do with their Boston College degrees. But what’s even more impressive are those who achieve and inspire change despite their subpar education. I believe that education should be a right, not a privilege, and I believe that we could see this real shift occur within our lifetime.

I want to use my background to pay it forward to kids who weren’t born into such lucky circumstances, and Mama Hope’s Global Advocate program has provided me an outlet for this energy. As a Global Advocate, I will develop skills over the next 9 months to leverage my passion for change into a career in international development.


Mama Hope and Glorious have formed a joint-venture partnership to continue to grow the impact of our collective efforts internationally. They partner with local leaders around the world to build sustainable communities through childhood education. Education is the center of this global development initiative where children, their parents, and members of the community can access education, job opportunities and more.

This summer, I will travel to Panajachel, Guatemala to work closely with El Árbol del Niño, a holistic education center, and support their community park project. The center was founded by Ingrid Villaseñor, a woman who, like me, believes in the youth as powerful future agents of change in their communities across Guatemala and the world.

I grew up in an area with ample green space to run around and explore. This ignited my love of nature and without it I wouldn’t be the person I am today. That is why this project is especially close to my heart—I know it will change these kids’ lives and their relationship to their land.

My name is Tessa. But for as long as I can remember, my dad preferred to call me “Miss T.” Anyone who knew me when I was that age could attest that these three photos below are a pretty accurate summation of my childhood.

And from what I remember it was pretty much as fun as it looks here—even though I still awkwardly don’t understand many late 90s/early 2000s pop culture references due to my parents’ serious “Go play outside!” mentality.

I am convinced that this upbringing fostered my love of nature that is still central to who I am. As often happens, I took my lush, green Pennsylvania home for granted before moving to Boston for school. The Jesuits at Boston College taught me to “Find God in all things,” yet I still found myself homesick in the suburbs—louder and more artificial than I anticipated. I learned to cherish time at home to recharge, where I could see more stars and the quiet kept me awake instead of the T(rain). I was appointed the “crunchy” one of my friend group and that part of me was sustained by occasional day hikes and annual family vacations (characterized by being not the least bit relaxing).

Coming home after graduation last month was hard, but it sure is good to be back in the woods. Even as I sit here writing this post from my parents’ backyard, I am stunned by how the evening sun lights up the oak and the willow trees, the bugs shimmer and the chorus of birds sings. No matter how many cities I will live in I know I can and will always come back to this part of me.

So, “T” is a homage to that best version of myself. The other half of my blog name has to do with the nature of the work I’ll be doing in Guatemala (and maybe much longer!) and why I’m suited for it.

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