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Daniella Infante: An international view

Fort Smith student traveled to Guatemala to volunteer, meet GEM program students

Published: August 31, 2019   
Maryanne Meyerriecks
Daniella Infante spent time this summer in Guatemala as part of her work for the Girls Education Matters scholarship program.

Daniella Infante has found a way of giving back through GEM (Girls Education Matters) scholarship program for Guatemalan students.

A lifelong member of Immaculate Conception Church in Fort Smith, she volunteers with St. Scholastica Monastery’s GEM program, helping with technology and graphic design. In July, she traveled with a group of missionaries to Esquipulas where she met the girls she’d come to know through stories and pictures. 

“Some of the girls are attending college now, and their schedules are not as flexible as mine. They work full time Monday through Friday and attend college all day Saturday and Sunday,” she said.

Infante, 21, is currently a senior at University of Arkansas Fort Smith, pursuing a double major in international business and Spanish. She also works in human resources at Arkansas Best Freight.

While serving in Guatemala this summer, she lived in a Franciscan orphanage and visited the homes of many of the other students, getting to know and understand them better. She also volunteered at Casa del Migrante in Esquipulas, an overnight refuge for families traveling from Honduras, El Salvador and other countries. 

“The volunteers were very realistic, telling the refugees that they would most likely be turned back when they reached the border,” she said of those heading to the United States.

When she is not attending classes or working, she teaches in the parish religious education program, working with sixth-grade boys. She is a guide for the diocesan Busqueda, scheduling, planning and helping out with cooking and logistics during retreat weekends. 

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