We recently caught up with JPB veteran Residential Assistant (RA), Daniel Alegre, who has worked with us for the last three years. Daniel has grown tremendously through his consistent participation and engagement with JPB, leading him to take on leadership roles at his university, travel to the Holy Land for an internship, and even organize JPB alumni for meet ups and social events. Please read on to learn how JPB was the key for Daniel:
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm currently living in Waltham, MA studying at Bentley University, and I'm Roman Catholic. My interests involve international politics, which I'm super passionate about. I've always been a lover of soccer and I'm also very committed to my faith community and multiple business organizations as well.
How did you first hear about JPB? What was it about JPB that led you to become involved?
I was still in high school when I started working with JPB and I was always looking for a way to get to know people from other faiths better and I saw this as an amazing opportunity to get that kind of experience to meet people, not only of other faiths, but people from different countries where their faith is a very large part of their life. To me, that was a fascinating opportunity and that's why I first joined.
The first year I basically fell in love with the program and the teens I met while working. They are all still my great friends up to this day. Each year I come back I keep learning more through conversations with the participants or activities that we do together. It's like a great way to get work experience, learn about politics and religions, and share my own faith tradition.
What is your impression of the teens? How are they a source of hope?
They are all different. That's one thing that I always love about them, there's no two that are the exact same, they all have different experiences, even if they're from the same town, they all have a different perspective on their faith, life, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that's something that just gives me a lot of hope.
I want to see them either reach their full potential in life. Whenever one of them like asks me about a question or I ask them what they want to do in the future and I love to hear them say "I want be like this leader". I want to see them become those leaders that they strive to be.
What have you gained from your experience in JPB?
JPB has opened so many doors even to me. I was someone who was more closed-minded before I joined the program, somebody who was shy to get involved, and I now I'm like somebody who's very involved and a leader in so many different fields almost within my university and it just, it's super exciting for me when I look back at what moment changed me to become more engaged in my society. I'd say being part of Jerusalem Peacebuilders was the key.