In Loving Memory of Lauren Wilkinson
Thank you to Jonah Goldstein and Katrina Grigg-Saito for producing this video tribute.
It is with deep sadness that we say goodbye to our dear friend and dedicated volunteer coordinator. Lauren was a courageous, adventurous woman who believed passionately in crossing cultural and geographic boundaries to create a better world for people living in poverty. She began her work with ATRAVES as a volunteer with the University of Michigan, eventually moving to Managua to serve full-time alongside Nicaraguan communities in their struggle for education, healthcare, and environmental justice. During the few hours that she wasn't guiding volunteers through service projects or working with the kids in Camilo Ortega, she loved to play with her kittens, turn her bedroom into a tropical yoga studio, snack on fresh bread from the local panadería, go dancing with friends, and promote vegetarianism. Her laugh was contagious, and being around her made you feel more alive. Lauren was a vital part of ATRAVES, and her generosity, perseverance, and tireless spirit will continue to guide our work. For our team and her Nicaraguan family, our volunteers, community members, and the children of Camilo Ortega, Lauren's life is a gift that we will cherish always. We miss you, Lauren, more than words can say, and we will remember and honor you. Lauren died unexpectedly of natural causes in Traverse City, Michigan on December 27, 2009, at the age of 26.
We are humbled that the Wilkinson family chose to honor Lauren’s memory by directing memorial donations to ATRAVES, and we have been overwhelmed by the response. More than 50 individuals and groups have generously given financial gifts in Lauren’s honor. ATRAVES is working to make this fund a lasting tribute to Lauren’s commitment to sustainability of all kinds, and to her passion for working with children.