Welcome to Part 2 of our MEET THE TEAM series. Today we’d like to introduce you to Allentown, PA’s very own, TJ.
TJ was born and currently resides in Allentown, PA. After TJ graduated from Ursinus College, he moved to Jiangxi, China for a year, teaching freshman English at Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics. Upon returning from China, he began the next part of his educational journey by returning to school to earn his Doctorate in Physical Therapy. TJ will graduate in May of 2012 (just a couple months away!) with his PhD and in his words, “it has been a long time coming.” TJ married his college sweetheart (and fellow trip participant), Kyle (Kauffman) Shaughnessy on June 13, 2009. They had the Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas of the Philadelphia Philies announce them as husband and wife, as well as their parents, and the entire wedding party. Needless to say, TJ and his wife are huge Phillies fans. They like going to concerts, music festivals, traveling and doing service whenever possible. TJ is a member of Calling All Crows, a non-profit organization that partners with musicians and fans to create change through hands-on service and activism. Most recently he volunteered with many partnering organizations, including Amplifying Education, Baby Buggy, The Action Center to End World Hunger, in addition to volunteering for Lose the Training Wheels day camp for children with disabilities.
What does this trip to Zimbabwe mean to you?
This trip to Zimbabwe seems like the culmination of many different parts of my life. This is an all-encompassing trip that will give me the ability to utilize portions of my education and volunteer experience to help make a change in the world-wide community.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I would say the craziest thing I have ever done is when I moved to China. It was the summer after I graduated from Ursinus College and I decided I wanted to travel and see the world. I applied for a job teaching English, and without any knowledge of the customs, country or language, I packed up my things and moved the Nanchang, Jiangxi, without a familiar face within 8,000 miles of me. It was an amazing experience, and certainly educational, both mentally and personally.
Quote from your favorite movie?
Almost Famous: “Never take it seriously, if you never take it seriosuly, you never get hurt. If you never get hurt, you always have fun; and if you ever get lonely, just go down to the record store and visit your friends.”
Who/What do you think about when you hear the phrase, ”I am strong if You are strong”?
When I hear “I am strong if you are strong,” I think about my wife, my friends, my family. It is an outstanding motto to live by. One of my friends gave me the Elias bracelet a few years ago, and I think it is a gift that speaks volumes about friendship and dedication. I am only okay if you are okay; so I will make sure you are always taken care of, protected and safe. It is a statement of generosity, that says you will always come before me.
To support TJ (and his wife Kyle, who we will soon introduce), check out his fundraising page here.