Meet the BLUE Crew

Before we leave for our first service trip of 2017, we thought you might want to get to know the BLUE team with these fun questions!

 

LESLIE RAMOS

Nickname?
People who've known me for a long time can call me Lez

Why BLUE?
I was sucked into the BLUE cult in when I went on my first trip to build an aqueduct at 16 years old. I had a really strong calling to go on the trip and from the first day when I woke up to U2 in the campo, I could feel that this would be a huge part of my life. In college, I learned more about poverty and international development and then came back to BLUE to contribute everything I learned. I love that I can use my creativity to make an impact for people in the campo. I wake up everyday excited to get to work, and how awesome is that?!

3 songs on the soundtrack of your life?
One Love - Bob Marley, La Bicicleta - Shakira, Bad and Boujee - Migos

Something you're secretly good at?
My Shakira voice impression is on point.   

Who's your inspiration?
Queen Bey. But also, I'm inspired everyday by the BLUE team. Our staff in the DR have taught me about working hard and "building your own ladder", while Annie and Nicky inspire me with their selflessness and passion for service. Richard and Danny have inspired me to always think big. Together, this team has overcome challenges to make a greater impact every year and surpass all limitations. #inspiration

3 things still on your bucket list?
Film a legit documentary, sail around the Pacific Ocean, sing in a salsa band

Favorite quote?
"Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing" - Ben Franklin

 

ANNIE SANCHEZ

Nickname?
Annie

Why BLUE?
I love the mission - building love and uniting everyone. What else is more important? I love the BLUE crew. I have never met a more focused, hardworking, and humble group of young people. Their passion and drive are admirable! I love the DR. Ever since I went on my first mission trip with LIFO in 1992, I fell in love with the people of the DR and their compassionate spirit and love of life. They hold a special place in my heart. I love water - what it represents, its life-giving force, its power to change lives. I love the campo - the sights, the smells, the beauty of the trees and the mountains. Maybe it's because the landscape is so different from ours! Either way, for me, it's a little slice of heaven! After the ocean, it's my favorite place to be. I love my new job! I'm grateful and blessed beyond words to be a part of this team, at this stage of my life. It makes my heart sing!

3 songs on the soundtrack of your life?
Marc Anthony - Vivir Mi Vida, Alicia Keys - This Girl is on Fire (Great Anthem for girls and women everywhere), Keith Urban - But For the Grace of God

Something you're secretly good at?
I'm a jack of all trades, master of none. I show up, try to be nice, try to do my best, but I have no special talents!

Who's your inspiration?
I'm inspired by all the "underdogs" in this world - people who have it rough and find a way to rise up. There are too many to name, but they give me hope and inspiration every day.

3 things still on your bucket list?
Travel mainly! Too many places I haven't seen! Hawaii, Alaska, Australia would be my top three.

Favorite quote?
"There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart." Mahatma Gandhi

 

RICHARD SIXTO JR.

Nickname?
Danny enjoys calling me "Big Cat" 

Why BLUE?
I was hooked from the first trip I went on with my life-long friend Danny - it's where I also first met Nicky - both of their passion and drive for BLUE got me hooked. I truly believe in our mission to build love and unite everyone. 

3 songs on the soundtrack of your life?
La Vida es un Carnaval - Celia, Jammin - Bob Marley, Can't Stop - RHCP

Something you're secretly good at?
If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret :) 

Who's your inspiration?
Danny & the BLUE team 

3 things still on your bucket list?
Skydive, complete a full marathon, scuba dive in the great barrier reef 

Favorite quote?
I have two: "Effort takes no talent" & "Hope dies last" 

 

NICOLE AGUIRRE

Nickname? 
Nicky, Nicky Jam ;)

Why BLUE?
During my first impression on BLUE's first water project in 2011, I said that as soon as I walked out of the airport in Santiago I immediately got this sense of being home (Richard reminds me of this all the time). Through BLUE, I have had the opportunity to work in over 30 rural communities, meet and learn from the locals and their way of life, lead hundreds of high school and university students on their service trips, and see over 16,000 people gain access to clean water and sanitation. I have walked miles upon miles with locals while they walked to collect water for their homes. I have trenched several kilometers and mixed cement by hand for hours. The best part of it all is that I have loved every second of it. We didn't expect BLUE to turn into a household name around Miami. We started and continue to work for BLUE because we are dedicated to ending the water and sanitation crisis in the Dominican Republic and, eventually, Latin America. I believe one of our biggest accomplishments is the way that we have been able to complete our projects alongside hundreds of high school and university students who have volunteered their time. 

BLUE isn't like most non-profit organizations or service trip companies. Damaris came up with this analogy that describes BLUE perfectly in my eyes. BLUE is like a train: with every new community and service trip we add a new wagon to the end that strengthens our organization, builds love, and unites us all. As the car at the head of the train, all of our decisions are made based on how can we reach more communities, build more projects, and impact, expose, and immerse more students from across the United States on our service trips. 

3 songs on the soundtrack of your life?
If I Ain't Got You - Alicia Keys, Banana Pancakes - Jack Johnson, Hey Ya! - OutKast

Something you're secretly good at?
Dominican dominoes. When you've spent the last eight summers in the Dominican Republic, you learn all of the tricks. Shout out to my teacher and domino partner, Damaris!   

Who's your inspiration?
Wow, do I have to name just one? I have so many role models and people that inspire me every single day. My grandparents throughout the years have been a huge part in making me the person I am today, I make it a point to see them all (lucky to have all four still around) at least once a week. My siblings, Nati & Matt, although they do a great job at annoying me, they inspire me through their love and unique passions and goals. My BLUE family, Danny, Richard, Leslie, Annie, and our DR staff. Every day I wake up motivated and excited to work for BLUE thanks to you. My parents, cousins, and friends are the ones I turn to when I need some encouragement and just good juju. 

My biggest inspiration would have to be all of the volunteers that I have had the pleasure of leading on a BLUE Trip. Every single one of them reminds me of my 16 year old self on my first service trip. The letters, notes, texts, emails, and social media posts that I get on a daily basis is what inspires me to continue to explore my purpose in life and never stop reaching towards my goals. 

3 things still on your bucket list?
My bucket list is quite extensive but my top three are: 1. Go to all four tennis Grand Slam Tournaments: Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open (Hoping to cross off US Open this year) ; 2. Road trip around the US going to all the major national parks ; 3. Visit Machu Picchu. *2017 Bucket List: Coachella, US Open, & Iceland - everyone and anyone is welcome to join (: 

Favorite quote?
I learned it back in 2009 and have lived by it ever since, "LIVE IN THE MOMENT".

 

DANNY RODRIGUEZ

Nickname?
Bubba (as a kid)

Why BLUE?
Because I believe that we are each called to live a life of purpose. There is no greater gift than finding that purpose and no greater feeling than acting on it.  

3 songs on the soundtrack of your life?
U2 - Beautiful Day, Juan Luis Guerra - El Niagara en Bicicleta, Will Smith - Miami

Something you're secretly good at?
Cooking

Who's your inspiration?
Too many to list them all... Mom & Dad, Albert Perez, My team at BLUE Missions - their passion and drive for this cause inspire me to be better each day, BLUE alumni who find their purpose and act on it 

3 things still on your bucket list?
Own a hostel in the DR, Kitesurfing, Write a book

Favorite quote?
"If not now, when? If not us, who?"