This month’s volunteer of the month is David Charnock and we could not be happier to have him on our team! Although he has only been with us for a short period of time, it is already hard to imagine Casa Milagro without him! He is a regular every thursday night and already a friend of many of the youths that we meet on the streets. He is always ready to help in what he can and is very eager and motivated to help us reach our objectives by spreading our vision to his large network and attending our staff meetings! So, here is a little bit about David Charnock: 

  1. So, first tell us a little bit about yourself and why you are here in Costa Rica.

So I am married to Claire (20 years married!!!) and have two babies Poppy (13) and Ben (15) and have a great deal of pleasure sharing travel fun with them and laughing a lot especially when they are trying to study and I am trying to work. Ben is doing IGCSE exams so is working very hard and Poppy is working hard too in all of her subjects at school. Amongst a number of other business enterprises we have here, we run a Medical Tourism Directory which is presently providing us with a great number of interesting opportunities.

Originally we arrived here 9 years ago (after having lived in Spain for 10 years before that) and I had been working with a large Multi-National Company in Europe previously and came here to set up a division for them for Central, South America and The Caribbean. In 2013, enough was enough of the Corporate world and we started to branch out more and more on our own – since then, we have learnt lots and travelled lots – all together rather than me just going alone on business.

For many years I had known that I wanted to do something more worthwhile so finding Casa Milagro about 6 months ago has totally filled that gap and shall continue to so do for many years to come – Dios Mediante!!

  1. How did you hear about Casa Milagro? And, why did you decide to become a volunteer?

I was volunteered (if that is possible!!!!) So Emma came to our house after a Zumba class with the Boss, Claire and I served them tea and was asked to sit down and hear about what Emma was up to. Being the perfect British host, of course I was obliged and I was EXTREMELY humbled and impressed by the great work I heard about – I then said “see you Thursday” – the rest is history!

  1. Is this your first time volunteering or have you been involved with others organizations before?

I do stuff at our church and am actually (not really as important as it sounds!!) President of the Missions committee whereby we help all sorts of organisations (Ed Plus, Christ in the City to name a few) but CM is by far the one I have most been immersed in. Also as a young Man (long time ago) I helped with Downs Syndrome Kids in a local community in the UK

  1. Can you share with us any funny, meaningful or different situation that you have experienced with Casa Milagro?

Very amusingly last week, whilst we were working around one of the park areas, we heard a shout for “Te Frio” from the distance – looking over the other side of the road was one of our regulars, surrounded by three police officers, being arrested, with his hand up making demands for refreshment – very funny!!!!! I also saw a good pair of my shoes that had been given to one of the guys the week before and he had very proudly put them on with new shirt, hat and jacket – only to leave them abandoned at the side of the road at AM PM, the following week. The very dignified shoeless wonder (Claudia) who will chose her clothes and in a most dignified manner, will say “nope – not my style/colour/etc.!!)

Meaningful was seeing the smile on Nathalie’s face when she tried on a pair of Poppy’s boots and they fitted perfectly – complimenting her outfit beautifully (Photo below)

Meaningful – building up some incredibly strong bonds with those who work as part of the team – there is a spirit there that keeps us together – a bond that maybe the wartime soldiers used to experience – some great friendships have developed and also old friends who have come along and have established an old bond – very special!  

Some situations have been difficult – having to say no sometimes to those that really do implore……..that’s tough

  1. What is your role within the organization?

As we are a young organisation and are few, having a specific role is, in my humble opinion, counterproductive – there is so much to do that we all have to muck in and get on with it. As the numbers go, strategically and organisationally we will have to develop too. I help trying to use my network to the advantage of CM, I bring friends, business associates/partners and acquaintances along as much as I can, I talk to as many folks as I can on the street and try and have as much fun as I can with a wonderful team of volunteers

  1. What would you say to anyone that is considering becoming a volunteer at Casa Milagro?

Don’t be scared – JUST COME – it will make a change for the way that you value and see things – the untidy house won’t matter any longer – the iPhone 5 isn’t really that important because it’s out of date……etc. Just come along and experience for yourself the magic of giving – try comparing it to receiving – I’m happy to speak with anyone who is considering but unsure…….as NIKE said – Just Do it!!

  1. And lastly, what are your goals and objectives for the future of Casa Milagro?

I have a vision that we can grow this organisation into a really meaningful creature. The foundation is at its early development stage and Scott has done a fantastic job amidst difficult surroundings to get so well advanced in such a short time. We can continue to grow as a team and grow the organisation exponentially through contacts, friends, churches and businesses alike. My two main goals would be to have a centre (either drop in or permanent) in the centre of town – in conjunction with the Muni – providing a meaningful service to those who really need. My second goal is to try to do something more than what we do now – giving food, clothes and love is crucial and is a wonderful work but trying also to develop something longer term for those who really don’t want to be living on the streets would be a dream!

A Usted la gracias!