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I was born and raised in upstate NY to an American mother and a Brazilian father. Received a BA in Psychology and worked in therapeutic foster care for several years. Moved to Denver for graduate school and received a dual Masters in Social Work (MSW - with a concentration in community practice) and in International Studies (MA - global health and international development concentrations) from DU.
Fell in love with Denver and settled down there, working as a community organizer towards social justice and human rights and with a deep focus on immigrant rights. Bought a little house and grew my first garden, but was then brought out to Washington DC to lead our national campaign in support of immigration reform in 2010.
After a year and half of politics in DC, I decided it was time to leave the US to live the simple life abroad. I rented my house, sold my car & bike and got rid of most my material belongings to move south of the border. Lived in Nicaragua for a year, where I completed my yoga teacher training (became a certified teacher) and was working as a volunteer in support of sugar cane workers who are sick and dying from a crisis epidemic of chronic kidney disease. Sadly, this epidemic continues today.
While living in Nicaragua I applied for and then accepted a job in Peru to manage a volunteer lead NGO in Huanchaco (near Trujillo). I lived and worked in Peru for exactly two years and then decided to move to Brasil to finally learn Portuguese with the dream of possibly starting a new NGO someplace beautiful where there is also great need. In October 2015 and with the help of two amazing friends and colleagues, I recently founded a brand new NGO in Itacare, Brazil called ETIV do Brasil. Im actually 48 years old but I can’t seem to fix my age on this app…
Our mission at ETIV is to support environmental conservation and development in Brazil, with a deep focus on youth development. Building this organization with an incredible team of staff and volunteers is like a dream come true and you can find more info about us at www.etivdobrasil.org or by searching ETIV do Brasil on Google or Facebook.
Why I’m on Couchsurfing
I love to travel and to meet interesting, like-minded people from all corners of the earth. Also, I met an amazing group of couch surfers in Florianoplis through their weekly meetups. Every Thursday night we would get together and it was such a perfect way to begin learning Portuguese with Brazilians who are also practicing their English. It was also such a nice way to make new friends after I first arrived. There really are some great Couchsurfers in Floripa, so if you ever go, make sure to attend Claudia's meetups!
Social justice and environmental conservation; Nature, travel, animals, organic gardening and women's empowerment; Biking, swimming, snorkeling, camping, hiking, and yoga; Sunsets, meteor showers, moon phases and star gazing; Wine, cheese, chocolate and coconuts. :)
- human rights
- social work
Music, Movies, and Books
Classic rock and roll, folk, reggae, funk, samba and Int'l music ; comedies, adventure and romance movies; books that inform, enlighten and feed my soul.
One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
At a moment when a child was in a crisis situation and about to end up in a physical restraint by several very tense staff members, she said something nasty to me that really upset me. My first reaction was to defend myself and say something like "that was so disrespectful; I've never treated you like that before!". But then I took a step back from my ego and all my insecurities and instead of reacting, I responded kindly, realizing her nasty remarks had nothing to do with me. On the contrary, my purpose was to give her what she really needed at that moment, not get upset and defend myself. So after a deep breath and a moment of clarity, I calmly said something like "well that wasn't very nice... I came here to visit you." And with that caring and non-defensive response, she was taken aback and actually apologized (in a not so sincere tone), but then began to de-escalate and calm down. I was soon able to completely remove her from that situation and the other staff with whom she was in conflict and I definitely prevented a restraint from happening that day. Finding that moment of clarity in the mist of chaos and being able to step back and give this child what she needed was truly amazing. The ability to disconnect from my ego to be calm, present and even therapeutic is certainly not easy, but something I strive towards every day.
Teach, Learn, Share
I love sharing and listening to stories and believe that everyone has something to teach, learn and share.
What I Can Share with Hosts
English, Spanish or Portuguese, Yoga, healthy cooking, conservation and good conversations about things that matter.
Countries I’ve Visited
Austria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Greece, Jamaica, Mexico, Portugal, Switzerland, United Kingdom
Countries I’ve Lived In
Brazil, France, Italy, Nicaragua, Peru, Spain, United States