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Alumni Spotlight: Endersby Making a Difference in the World

KELLY RYAN

STAFF WRITER

   This year, one of Pinewood’s most esteemed alumni, Jennie Endersby, will be spending her second consecutive year teaching at an orphanage in the
Dominican Republic.

   After graduating from Pinewood in 2009 and Davidson College in 2013, Endersby embarked on a humanitarian mission to the Dominican Republic, sponsored by Davidson’s Impact Fellowship. This year, she returned to the same orphanage to teach math and Spanish literacy as part of the nonprofit organization Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, Spanish for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters.” This organization was founded in Cuernavaca, Mexico by Father William B. Wasson. Wasson saw Carlos, a 12 year old boy, steal money for food from the Church’s collection basket, and after the boy was arrested, Father Wasson went to the judge to beg for leniency and asked for custody of Carlos. The judge agreed and continued to send children to Father Wasson for years after, and thus NPH was born.

   Endersby first was introduced to the developing world in college when she studied abroad in Peru.
Wanting to become fluent in Spanish, Endersby opted to stay in the home of a native family and enrolled directly in a Peruvian university, taking classes with Peruvian students. When she arrived, Endersby had only taken
four Spanish classes at Davidson; nevertheless,
for the entire semester, all of her classes were taught in Spanish, which pushed her to become fluent in
the language.

   Through her trip to Peru and the international
studies classes she took at Davidson, Endersby
discovered her passion in the nonprofit sector in third world countries.

   “I fell in love with the developing world,” said Endersby. “I hope to come back to the states in the coming year to take more classes because there is always more to learn.” While plans can always change, Endersby then hopes to continue her work abroad.

   Now, Endersby stays in one of the orphanage homes with 20 boys, ages 11 to 16, who have been abused or neglected or whose parents have passed away. She functions in the role of an older sister as well as a teacher. During her first year, she taught English to about 150 students, many of whom were not even literate in Spanish, their
native language.

   “Some were just getting used to sitting in a desk and holding a pencil,” Endersby said.

   It was very frustrating for the children to try and learn how to read and write in a foreign language before becoming literate in their native tongue. But even though it was challenging work, Endersby enjoyed this
learning experience.

   Through her work, Endersby has touched not only the lives of those she works with in the Dominican Republic but also those who have witnessed her in action.

   “I am in awe of what Jennie is accomplishing at NPH and honestly try not to think about the conditions under which she is working,” said Jennie’s mother Kelly Endersby. “It is heartbreaking to hear stories about what these children have already endured and heartwarming to hear what Jennie and her co-workers are doing to help change one life at a time.”

  Looking back on her time at Pinewood, Endersby felt that Pinewood had helped prepare her for the challenges she encounters on a daily basis in her work abroad. Although in high school Endersby had not decided what she wanted to pursue in her career, she did develop the fundamental skills needed for her work.

   “Pinewood stressed a strong work ethic and taught me to manage my time, and while I can’t point to a specific class and say ‘that’s when I knew,’ I learned the foundation skills I would need,” Endersby said.

   Furthermore, her work ethic and generosity did not go unnoticed by the Pinewood community.

   “You could tell she was a very thoughtful person, and she was always very dedicated and smart,” math teacher Scott Green said. “I’m not surprised she is doing what
she’s doing.”

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