"I was an interpreter for Bosnian refugees here in the U.S. during the Bosnian War. I have worked with a lot of kids and helped them acclimate into the U.S.
I learned to speak Serbo-Croatian as an exchange student back when the area was communist. It was my junior year in high school. I arranged the whole thing without my parents knowing about it, I never thought they would say yes. I wrote an essay to get a scholarship to go, I took independent classes after school for Russian as a base language to see if I could do it, and I had a teacher who had a friend in the State Dept. and my teacher directed me to a pilot program for this. They took 2 kids from every state. I applied and got it. The guy with the program went with me to my parents to talk to them about it and tell them what I had done. By now they couldn't say 'No'!
I was also a therapeutic foster parent and social worker before I came to the Keys. I worked with a lot of kids.
I am most proud of being a therapeutic foster parent. The kids still call me and let me know how they are doing and how they are improving. Then I give them some advice and they keep going.
Before all of that, I was a diver. Why did I stop all I was doing? I missed the water; it is as simple as that."