Advisors

Therapy Adventures International seeks advice, ideas, and input from leaders in the home countries we serve. These leaders possess keen insight and act as cultural brokers and advisors to our operations. Listed below are some of our international advisors who we look to, think highly of, and seek advice as we service communities and build long-lasting relationships.
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Christy Almieda

Executive Chair for Autism Belize

After earning her BA from State University of New York, College at Cortland, Christy Castillo worked in numerous countries in the Caribbean in public relations, lobbied for women’s rights, tourism, and event planning. After 18 years of living in the Caribbean, Christy moved home to Belize and founded Autism Belize, an advocacy and awareness group working to build a strong and vibrant community of autism and other special needs families, professionals working in the field, and autism champions and supporters in Belize. Today, Christy serves as the Executive Chair for Autism Belize and is committed to fostering a stronger, kinder, and transformed Belize.

"Everyone should be able to express their basic needs. I need to go to the bathroom, I am hungry, I am tired, I feel frustrated. Every child – two, five, fifteen, twenty-five, forty, should be able to do that."

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Elia Olivares, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Director at DePaul University Speech Language Pathology Program

Elia Olivares, Ph.D., CCC-SLP received her Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and her Master of Science degree and Bachelor of Science degree at Illinois State University. She has worked as a bilingual Speech and Language Pathologist in Illinois primarily serving culturally and linguistically diverse children in early childhood, urban and suburban school district, university settings, and private practice. She is currently a Clinical Associate Professor and the Director of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Program in Speech Language Pathology at the DePaul University Speech Language Pathology Program. She teaches Phonetics, Speech Sound Disorders, Language Disorders in Early Childhood, Language Disorders in School-Age Populations, and Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Speech and Language Development and Disorders.

Her research interest areas include evidence-based assessment and intervention practices for culturally and linguistically diverse children; more specifically, childhood apraxia of speech assessment and intervention for bilingual (English/Spanish) children, language choice(s) among bilingual speakers, and social appropriateness and social effects of intervention as it pertains to bilingual children with CAS and their families.

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Verónica Suárez Paredes - Ecuador

Verónica Suárez Paredes is the Director of Management and Development at Fundación Hermano Miguel, a non-governmental, non-profit organization located in Quito, Ecuador that provides community health care and comprehensive rehabilitation to people with a physical or functional impairment or disability, through the provision of medical and therapeutic services and the implementation of technical aids known as orthotics, prostheses and mobility aids. In 2001, Verónica graduated from the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey with a degree in Management of Non-Profit Organizations. Verónica serves as the Consultant Facilitator in strategic planning and organizational development for NGOs of the PEYDI Foundation of Bogotá. Verónica is committed to offering quality products and efficient services while promoting the defense of the rights of individuals with disabilities in Ecuador.
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Elaine Keane, OTD, OTR/L
Executive Director of CRECER

Elaine Keane OTD, OTR/L is the Executive Director of the Centro de Rehabilitación, Educación, Capacitación, Estudios y Recursos (CRECER), a nonprofit organization which provides free rehabilitation services to clients in Ibarra, Ecuador. After becoming an occupational therapist in 1985, Dr. Keane has practiced in a variety of settings including hospitals, nursing homes, and outpatient rehabilitation. She initially went to Ecuador for volunteer work in 2001, and has since guided service learning experiences for more than 150 students in the area.
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Susana Albuja
Project Manager at CRECER

Elaine Keane OTD, OTR/L is the Executive Director of the Centro de Rehabilitación, Educación, Capacitación, Estudios y Recursos (CRECER), a nonprofit organization which provides free rehabilitation services to clients in Ibarra, Ecuador. After becoming an occupational therapist in 1985, Dr. Keane has practiced in a variety of settings including hospitals, nursing homes, and outpatient rehabilitation. She initially went to Ecuador for volunteer work in 2001, and has since guided service learning experiences for more than 150 students in the area.
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Ari Herrera - Panama
Heart’s Cry Children’s Ministry (HCCM) Director

Ari Herrera is the Director of Operations for the Heart’s Cry Children’s Ministry (HCCM), a nonprofit organization that advocates for orphaned and abandoned children of Panama through their two main projects: Family Service and Casa Providencia. Ari leads teams at Family Service and Casa Providencia and is passionate about improving adoption and foster care policies and procedures in Panama and providing children with special needs access to quality therapies, education, and health care.
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Edwin Vallecillo, MD
Director of Medical Services for NPH International

Edwin Vallecillo, MD is the Director of Medical Services for NPH International, a non-profit organization operating in Latin America and the Caribbean to support homes, health services and educational programs of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos. Vallecillo also serves as the Regional Medical Coordinator for NPH Honduras and Guatemala. As a former resident of NPH Honduras himself, Vallecillo understands the vital role NPH’s in-take program has in investing in vulnerable children and youth to help them build a better future for themselves and break the cycle of generational poverty.

In 2006, Vallecillo attended the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, Cuba on a full scholarship where he spent the next seven years completing his medical training on disease prevention and health promotion. In 2012, he returned to Honduras and completed two years of service with the Honduran public health system. By 2015, Vallecillo joined the medical team of the NPH Honduras internal clinic. Providing children at NPH homes with quality healthcare is Vallecillo’s primary focus and passion.

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Ximena Carreto

Director and Founder of Mi Terapia con Ximena

Ximena Carreto is the Director and Founder of Mi Terapia con Ximena, a pediatric clinic in Mexico City that offers speech and language therapy, physical therapy, and sensory integration therapy for children who have difficulties with speech and language, learning, and psychomotor skills. Ximena earned her BA in Linguistics from the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Learning Processes and Special Education at Panamerican University. Ximena is a certified language therapist through the Mexican Board of Speech and Language Therapists, and is certified in ADI-R and ADOS for the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Ximena founded Mi Terapia con Ximena out of her passion for helping children and families with special needs. From what started as a few Youtube videos educating parents on ways to best support their children with special needs, Mi Terapia con Ximena now provides a wide array of pediatric therapy services and offers training and classes for educators, parents, and other professionals.

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Hector Carreto

Director and Founder of Mi Terapia con Ximena

Ximena Carreto is the Director and Founder of Mi Terapia con Ximena, a pediatric clinic in Mexico City that offers speech and language therapy, physical therapy, and sensory integration therapy for children who have difficulties with speech and language, learning, and psychomotor skills. Ximena earned her BA in Linguistics from the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Learning Processes and Special Education at Panamerican University. Ximena is a certified language therapist through the Mexican Board of Speech and Language Therapists, and is certified in ADI-R and ADOS for the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Ximena founded Mi Terapia con Ximena out of her passion for helping children and families with special needs. From what started as a few Youtube videos educating parents on ways to best support their children with special needs, Mi Terapia con Ximena now provides a wide array of pediatric therapy services and offers training and classes for educators, parents, and other professionals.

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Earl Bowie
Pastor of Verbo Church Puerto Cabezas and the National Director of Verbo Church

Earl Bowie serves as the Pastor of Verbo Church Puerto Cabezas and the National Director of Verbo Church. He also serves as Director of 19 church plants on the Río Coco, in addition to overseeing Casa Bernabé, Verbo Christian Schools and all community outreach programs.

Born in Puerto Cabezas, Earl was raised by his grandmother and attributes his work ethic and character to her influences. At age 19, Earl dedicated his life to Christ. At 24, after two years of mandatory military service, Earl was called to Managua where he served in teen ministry.

Earl is dedicated to serving the children at the Casa Bernabé orphanage, breaking the cycle of poverty for the beleaguered Nicaraguan people, and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ across Nicaragua.

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Arnold Duijzer

Vice President, Operations at AHI Travel

Arnold got his master’s degree in leisure studies at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, where he was born and raised. After graduating, he moved to India for five years and started his career in the travel industry. In 2014, Arnold moved to Chicago and has called it home ever since. Arnold is currently the Vice President of operations at AHI Travel, a leader in alumni and affinity group travel, and has years of experience coordinating social impact and educational trips around the world.