Meet the Team

Mabel P. Almonte is a senior at Montclair State University with a double major in English & Justice Studies and a concentration in Para-legal Studies, and a minor in Pre-Law. She is the President of the Latin American Student Organization (L.A.S.O.) on campus. She loves to travel and see how the people of different cultures, which is why it was so important for her to become involved with Team Nicaragua. "It is necessary that the American students of my generation become involved in the global community, and realize how much we take our lives for granted."

Jess Bergman, is going into her Senior year at MSU as a Health and Physical Education Major. She is also a member of Sigma Delta Tau. The main reason she applied to be part of Team Nica is because her dream is to join the Peace Corp. after she graduate and work Africa regarding HIV/AIDS education, prevention and awareness. Jess views this opportunity as one step closer to her dreams. She also realizes that this will be a great learning experience, with a chance of seeing another culture and a way of life completely unlike my her own. "I really feel like this could be a life changing experience…and I can’t wait."

Charlene Clarke is a senior at Montclair State University. Her family is from a country in South America called Guyana. Similar to Nicaragua, it is underdeveloped and in great need of help. "Giving back to the community and helping those that may be less fortunate than I am is a privilege." Therefore, when she was introduced to the idea of going to Nicaragua and being part of a delegation to learn and interact with those in need, she had to take advantage of the opportunity.

Andy Kessler-Cleary is a recent graduate of Montclair State University’s Class of 2008. A sociology major, Andy will be pursuing a career in law enforcement. He is very excited about going to Nicaragua and having the opportunity to work with his fellow team members. He wishes to thank his friends, family, loved ones, and Team Nicaragua for their continued support and dedication to this project. Viva Equipo de Nicaragua.

Noel Cortes is currently looking into broadcasting as his major at Montclair State University. He is part of this project in order to help those who do not have many opportunities to earn a decent living or to live a healthy lifestyle. "I basically am looking to see how we can help these communities and hope that our visit down there will benefit them in some way."

Imad Ibrahim is a senior at Montclair State University majoring in Health Education with a concentration in Community Health Services with aspirations of graduating in January of 2009. When he first learned of this delegation he did not think much of it. However, time only told him how much an experience such as this one would open his eyes to the world, "instead of being in the box I feel I had surrounded myself in. I took this as an opportunity to realize how much I have done as a citizen of the world and thought about what I can do to help create the possibilities to make a difference - for others, as well as for myself. " Imad is looking forward for this life-altering, amazing experience! "See you in Managua!"

Tom Kurtovik Believes the Nicaragua delegation is a chance for him to make some changes in the world around him and learn about another culture from the inside. "I've already met a great group of people, and I look forward to knowing them better and also hearing the stories of complete strangers, and how they experience and view the world." Tom jumps at any chance I can take to become more global and open-minded.

Evelyn Milagro is currently a senior majoring in Sociology and minoring in Psychology. She chose to be a part of this project because being Peruvian she understands what it is like to be poor to struggle on a daily basis for food. "Fortunately I had the opportunity to come to this country and realize things that were once a dream and now a reality for me. It would be an honor for me to have an opportunity to help those who truly need it." Finally ... “One person can truly make a difference, I know I can and am willing to create change, the question is are you?”

Patricia Polanco Has always wanted to go to a different country and be able to see and experience for herself the life style they have. Once she heard about this opportunity she had to jump right on it. "I will no only educate myself but the community and school that I live in."

Ibelky A.Peralta Wants to be able to learn about things that are really important for the improvement of many things/people/places. Learning and creating the possibilities to make a difference in the world is her motive!

Rev. Ann Ralosky is Protestant Chaplain at Montclair State University. She is eager to explore and experience Nicaragua and to deepen her faith through the connections made with the students and the Nicaraguan people.

Sarah Ralosky is going to be a freshman at Fordham University next fall. She is excited to explore the new traditions and cultures she will find in Nicaragua with her new friends at MSU

Kimberly Tanella is a sophomore English major at Montclair State University. When she first learned about this project in Nicaragua,she did not really know much about the country; I didn't even know it was in Central America! However, with an emerging perspective of self and trust and faith in Jhon, she applied for this project. Over the past weeks and in preparation for the departure, she has already learned a great deal about Nicaragua. "The goal of this project is education, and already one more unaware person in North America has begun to recognize Nicaragua's meek cry for help! I am extremely excited to be a part of something this challenging and this great!"

Cristian Valencia is Junior in the Physical and Health Education department. He believes the being part of this once in a life time experience will broaden his mind and the way he views certain aspects of life, health and communities.

Jill Vanderhook Is a senior at Montclair State University studying health education and community health. Jill believes that for what ever reason people, places, and events come in to your life, "this Nicaragua trip came into mine for a reason." Traveling and helping people are two things she has always had an interest in so this trip seemed like a perfect match.

Jhon H. Velasco is the Director of the Center for Non Violence and Prevention Programs at Montclair State University. This delegation/project has been a dream of his for many years and with the help of Rev. Ann and Montclair State University community this project has become a reality. In a world where many are soley concerned about themselves, he feels it is imperative that we learn about the interconnectedness of the human race. This project will begin to open that educational and social awareness door for this delegation and the MSU community at large.