Lily Shaffer

Lily is a resourceful, energetic, and determined young leader. As a senior, she co-taught a PACE (Personal and Community Awareness for Everyone) class to high school sophomores. In addition, she served as one of two student directors for the community service office and coordinated Theatre Troupe! a weekly workshop for middle school students. Lily also has a passion for music. She was a co-head of the the female cappella group at her high school and she plays piano, guitar, ukulele, and French horn--she's hoping to learn a new instrument in Ecuador! In her free time, Lily can be found writing music and poetry, reading, playing ultimate frisbee, cooking, or practicing yoga.


Alumni Post–On Being a Queer Fellow, Five Years Later

I’m going to try to tackle a challenging, sensitive topic, both for myself, for other LGBT folks, for families, and for Global Citizen Year. Please know that this is a narration of my personal experience as a Fellow in 2010-2011, and I am not claiming…

19 April, 2016

When You Give a Kid A Camera

She’s probably going to be ecstatic. I really couldn’t have imagined the scale Kids with Cameras would grow to–how much energy I would put into it, how incredible the photos would be, how proud the kids would be to share their work, how appreciative the…

16 May, 2011

He Doesn’t Have Any Shoes

Meet Darwin Montoya. He’s eight, the third child in his family. He has three brothers and two sisters.  He was one of my students in Refuerzo and one of my Kids with Cameras participants.  He’s the first one I told about Kids with Cameras. He…

17 March, 2011

Kids with Cameras

The students document their lives through photos and writing, focusing on the parts of their lives that have a large impact on the aspects of their identities that we can’t see.

10 March, 2011

Learning to Take Control

Recently I’ve been able to identify just what it is about my experience that has been making this last month so difficult. I’ve been in a sort of uninspired slump, dragging my feet through the daily routine. My job doesn’t put me in contact with…

14 February, 2011

Welcome to the War

A few weeks ago, a young woman, Pati, came into Pastoral. She has beautiful dark eyes, a scar on her forehead, and shoulder length hair. She smiles a warm, crooked-tooth smile, and looks up and to the left when she’s thinking. She can’t be more than 26 or 27 and her energy…

14 February, 2011

Looking for Colombians

My job is exactly as the title suggests: I’ve been hiking through mountains looking for Colombian refugees.

11 February, 2011

Suck it Up and Eat the Pig

Many of my family and friends have been impressed with how seamless this experience has appeared. In uncountable ways, I have been blessed in every aspect of GCY. That’s not to say that I don’t break down regularly, struggle daily, and miss home, though. So…

21 January, 2011

Photo Essay: My home and work in Ibarra

So to get a little bit of a taste of my life here in Ibarra, here’s a little photo tour of my home and work at Pastoral Migratoria.

12 January, 2011

Identity Crisis

I want you to take a minute and think about what makes you you. We each have our own story comprised of experiences, friendships, families, opinions—our histories that have gotten us to where we are today.  These backgrounds can be compartmentalized into what makes our…

04 January, 2011

I Will Always be a Gringa

I am white. I am a young woman. Luckily, I’m about the same height as most Ecuadorians. My hair is just reaching a point where I can put it in a ponytail. I don’t stick out too much.  But nonetheless, I am clearly an outsider….

02 January, 2011

It’s About Changing Myself

For a long time, I thought Global Citizen Year was about changing the world.  It always bothered me when my friends or family applauded me for “saving the world”—that’s not what I’m doing at all.  But, part of my intent of taking a bridge year…

30 December, 2010

Video From Caminata al Quinche

On Saturday, November 20, I went on the Caminata al Quinche with three other fellows, Pete, Caroline, and Omar, and the family who owns La Choza, an organization Pete´s been working with.  I took some videos during the plilgramage and put them together in a…

04 December, 2010

I Swear I’m Not a Witch!

I had spent the last 24 hours running between my bedroom and the bathroom, being force-fed oregano tea and chicken broth, and battling between “finding the light” in the situation and being thoroughly bummed out I wasn’t at my first day of my apprenticeship.  After…

15 November, 2010

Food Poisoning, Revelations, and a Little Bit of T-Swift

At 12:13 on Thursday, I should be delving into the first day of my apprenticeship at Pastoral Migratoria de Ibarra.  I should be jabbering away with Mariela, my advisor, soaking in all that is political advocacy for the Human Rights of immigrants, anxiously planning tomorrow’s…

15 November, 2010

Cooking Quimbolitos Con Mama

Quimbolitos are little gifts from the gods.  I’m not kidding. They’re these delectable pound cake-like, steamed concoctions of sweet, buttery goodness wrapped up in the leaf of some secret plant I still can’t figure out. If you ever come to Ecuador, make sure quimbolitos are…

12 November, 2010

Expect the Unexpected

Yesterday I came home from classes and there was Klezmer music wafting down the stairs.  Yes, I am in Quito, Ecuador.  Yes, I’m living in an evangelical Christian household. Yes, my internship with Pastoral Migratoria is affiliated with the Catholic Church. I went upstairs to…

25 October, 2010

There’s Something So Strange About Eyes

There’s something so peculiar about eye contact with strangers.  I’m the type of person who smiles at everyone I pass on the street.  I learned very quickly that I can’t do that here in Quito.  Perhaps it’s because I’m so blatantly a foreigner, or perhaps…

14 October, 2010


Quito, Ecuador.  How can I describe it to you?  My home is at the base of a volcano, Pichincha.  I am terrified of driving in anything but a big bus because the traffic has no rules.  In the morning, it’s warm and sunny and I…

06 October, 2010

What is Empathy?

I’m hungry. It’s 11:02 on Friday night and I’m really freakin’ hungry.  This is because I had approximately 2/3 of a cup of rice for dinner.  Tonight, we had an Oxfam hunger fast.  Of the 29 Fellows, five got to eat a typical, delicious (and…

26 September, 2010

My Commitment

What a whirlwind these past five days have been! Once we arrived at IONS last Wednesday, we were immediately put into action meeting each other, attending workshops, and working on personal and leadership development.  I realized from the very first night what I had not…

20 September, 2010

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Lily Shaffer