Meet Elis Acevedo

Semilla Website Administrator

Meet Elis Acevedo

CASAS Assistant/Coordinator of Host Families, Programs, Community Learning


CASAS Assistant/Coordinator of Host Families, Programs, Community Learning

Elis Acevedo, CASAS Assistant/Coordinator of Host Families, Programs, Community Learning

If I could describe my work at SEMILLA in one word it would be ‘transformative.’ I accompany the students and the people who visit us on a path of transformation. It is an honor for me to give others the gift of my country — and that goes beyond walks and tours. It is about sharing our culture: sharing it through language, food, history, challenges, and day-to-day struggles. It is the warmth of a family offering their home in love for the stranger who, after a while, becomes part of the family. The purpose of my work is to promote respect, empathy, and understanding between different cultures.


I learned about SEMILLA through my in-laws, who were part of the host family program. At some point, SEMILLA invited me to help interpret some presentations from Spanish into English for groups that are part of the CASAS program. When the activities coordinator position opened, they asked me if I would like to apply. The rest is history!

Previously, I worked mostly for consumer products companies, so my job was always to generate more and more profits for multinational companies. My work at SEMILLA is entirely different, and I love it. In addition to creating bridges of understanding between cultures, my job also benefits and involves Guatemalan organizations working for the good of entire communities. The income from the groups that visit us also allows many people to study at SEMILLA for a reasonable cost. I am proud to know my work benefits so many people.


Through others’ examples, I know each of us can make a difference with our voice and our actions.

What I enjoy most about working at SEMILLA is it doesn’t feel like work. You are part of a community where you matter as a person, not just as a coworker. I love meeting new people and the idea that, every day, I learn more about my country and my people. One of my favorite excursions is when we go to Lake Atitlán. While we cross the lake by boat, I see the emotion on the faces of those visiting this beautiful place for the first time and the green mountains and volcanoes surrounding it. Seeing their experience of it reminds me that I live in a beautiful country and that I should never take that for granted.


Working at Semilla has helped me appreciate the importance of community. Many of the issues we discuss reveal injustices and social problems that affect us as human beings. But, through others’ examples, I know each of us can make a difference with our voice and our actions. I have more empathy, love, and respect now for so many community leaders working every day to seek a dignified life for all.

My work has taught me not to be indifferent to injustice.

Building connections across cultures happens day by day. With each discussion and visit, I notice questions will become deeper and more personal. I can see understanding is being created when students begin to share the ways in which they will think differently once they return home. When I hear them talk about actions they want to take to improve their own communities or tell us that they now understand migrants in their community better, I believe a seed has been planted in their hearts.