Friday, March 23, 2012

Women of the Embassy: Community Outreach

Michelle and other Embassy staff at Long Beach
As Community Liaison Officer, Michelle Melo works to connect Embassy staff and their families with the community of our host nation.  Here, she writes about one of her many projects. 

I am currently one of the Community Liaison Officers for the U.S. Embassy here in Bridgetown, Barbados. What does that mean exactly? I represent the interests of the community of Embassy families within the Embassy walls. My background is in Health Sciences with a track in Speech Language Pathology. I’ve done many things before I began here, from Hotel Management to working with the Department of Education of Florida’s Vocational Rehabilitation section, but, this position has been, by far, one of the most rewarding.

As a Community Liaison Officer, I wear many hats--but my favorite hat is giving back to the Barbadian community. In our office, we strive to work with local organizations and find where there is a need. We then gather our Embassy community to take ownership of what is our island home, and help.
One of my most beloved events was organizing a volunteer project in remembrance of September 11th. In a show of resilience and service, many of our community families showed up in full gear ready to help and donate their time and take on the big task of cleaning up Long Beach. This project illustrated that with our Embassy staff, and their families, there is no project too big or too small. From removing hundreds of pounds of red algae by hand, to discarding what we later learned was wreckage from an Arianne rocket segment, we were unstoppable. After hours of working side by side in the hot sun, we were proud of what we accomplished for the island. It left me, and those working with me, inspired to do so much more for the island of Barbados and our neighbors.

In short, we look forward to doing more for the Bajan community and helping where help is needed. I truly love my job. 

1 comment:

  1. Very inspiring! We can make a difference wherever we go! Great job Michelle!