Using technology to aid human connections

2014 IF Zoom Reunion

Participants from the 2014 International Fellowship and iLEAP staff during an online reunion.


We are often asked how our participants stay engaged and connected after their time in Seattle.  This is no doubt a very important part of our work – to maintain the relationships and network forged during the program.  You may have heard about reLEAP, where short “refresher” programs are held abroad.  But additionally, as strong believers in technology being part of our work, we’ve begun hosting virtual reunions through Zoom, an online video conferencing platform.

On Monday January 4th, 2016, participants from the 2014 International Fellowship dialed into Seattle from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Italy, and Bolivia for one of these virtual meetings.  Despite the immense physical distance (8368 miles) and a lengthy time difference (15 hours between Seattle and Indonesia), the virtual reunion was a success, filled with laughter and warmth as if we were sitting next to each other.  Calls were made from workplaces, bedrooms, friends’ homes, and living rooms.  In Seattle it was 6 AM, in Southeast Asia 9 PM, 8 AM in Central America, 10 AM in Bolivia, and 3 PM in Italy.  For a short hour, however, we were able to transport ourselves to the iLEAP East Hall for a check-in, as we had done each and every day during the eight weeks of program.  Spirits were lifted and souls were re-filled through genuine sharing and reconnection.

At times, technology can certainly impede human connections – during programs the East Hall, where most sessions take place, is a technology-free zone – but utilized thoughtfully, it can be an incredible resource.  We are already looking forward to the next one!

Caitlin Terashima

Caitlin Terashima

Caitlin is a graduate of Seattle University, where she studied Humanities for Teaching and Spanish, and has a love of international travel. Her experience conducting research on the effects of gender for a micro-finance organization in Ghana, living and studying in El Salvador for four months, and on-going volunteering with a community development organization in Mexico have instilled in her a love of learning outside of her comfort zone and a passion for international community development work. The relationships she formed while abroad have shaped her life and passions, and reinforced within her the importance of relationships and community. In her free time, Caitlin loves baking and cooking for her loved ones, exploring, taking walks, and travelling.