Volunteer Spotlight: Helena Guerra

Volunteer Spotlight HelenaHelena Guerra has been volunteering at N Street Village since October 2013. She serves breakfast once a week at N Street Village’s Day Center. She enjoys ethnic cuisine, loves to travel, and is one of TripAdvsior’s top 10 reviewers in the world. Let’s get to know Helena…

I was born in Lisbon, Portugal, a sun-drenched old city, right across from New York—if you are willing to swim 3000 miles across the Atlantic. I hold a JD and a Masters in tax law. I first moved to Chicago, where my husband was doing a PhD. His job, after graduation, brought us to DC. When I arrived, I was shocked at the blatant inequality pervasive in Washington, D.C. I had a difficult upbringing, but I feel so fortunate to be here. I wanted to pay this happiness forward. I volunteer at N Street Village and as a paralegal at the Washington Legal Clinic. I also teach children about recycling at Oyster School.

What is your favorite D.C. restaurant? I am currently in love with a Vietnamese restaurant in Columbia Heights named Pho Viet. I love ethnic foods.

On a Saturday evening you will find me…cozied up in my home with my husband watching a movie.

What are you currently reading? Currently, I’m reading the new book of Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn, A Path Appears – Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunities. It’s about how individuals, namely volunteers or donors, can make a difference to reduce poverty and inequality.

What is your favorite D.C. landmark? My favorite landmark is the Lincoln Memorial at night. I enjoy walking through the Mall in the evening when it’s quieter.

Where is the last place you traveled to? I’m leaving for Northeast Asia today! I’m in love with Asian food and culture. Last year, I traveled in Southeast Asia and it was an amazing experience.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at N Street Village? The ladies that I serve are very kind and they always have something nice to say. They inspire me every day and are true examples of resilience.

Share one of your favorite N Street Village memories? As a foreigner, I struggle with English pronunciation of certain words, apple was one such word. I would always ask the ladies if they wanted “aple”. After many tries, I now am proud to say APPLE with a smile. N Street Village women rock!