4. SkillCorps Trip Reflections, with Andrew Bennett, Brittney Paye, and Jessie Sheahan

Discover what’s possible when you step outside of your comfort zone and embrace the unknown. 

Andrew Bennett, Brittney Paye, and Jessie Sheahan have all traveled with the Global Autism Project over the years on SkillCorps® volunteer trips to our various partner sites, including ABA Centrum in Czech Republic and SOREM in India. 

As our CEO Molly mentioned in episode 2, SkillCorps is an opportunity for professionals and self-advocates to provide meaningful training to our partners around the world. 

We send out teams of up to 10 people three times a year for two weeks at a time. The team members are complete strangers when they meet for orientation in NY, and by the end of their two-week trip, oftentimes they’ve become best friends. I still keep in touch with many of my teammates that I’ve traveled with. So far, over 400 volunteers are part of our Skillcorps Alumni community, and many are repeat travelers. 

Each SkillCorps team has a trip leader and sometimes a leader-in-training. Andrew, Brittney, and Jessie, have all attended Leadership Academy, which is a 3-day workshop that we offer for future trip leaders to discover their leadership style. 

Time and again, SkillCorps alumni have expressed to us that their two week trips have transformed their lives and relationships. Andrew, Brittney and Jessie open up and share what they’ve learned about themselves, and how they continue to apply these insights to their personal and professional growth. 

All three guests have different backgrounds related to autism. Andrew is an autism self-advocate and Registered Behavior Technician, working with children on the spectrum. He tells an inspiring story about his outreach initiatives on a SkillCorps trip to the Czech Republic.

Brittney is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who implements Applied Behavior Analysis to train dogs. Having been on almost 10 SkillCorps trips, she reflects on how building her leadership skills has empowered her to take a stand in different aspects of her life. 

Jessie is a licensed school psychologist and uses ABA strategies in her daily work. She describes how working with a diverse team of professionals on trips allows for more collaboration and better communication with partners. 

You'll hear us introduce the clinical training model that is implemented on our SkillCorps trips. We talk about why it’s important to always prioritize sustainability, and we discuss how using the Socratic approach fosters critical thinking skills in the learner. 

As an organization, a big part of our responsibility involves respecting the values of the cultures we work with. Our guests today share what cultural humility means to them and how they practice it on SkillCorps trips. 

Make sure you listen until the end of the conversation to catch helpful tips for future volunteers. 

You can find more information about our SkillCorps program at globalautismproject.org.

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