Rachel Riggio is the Founder and Operations Director of The Red Road Foundation. She has been living and working in Cambodia for over 6 years. Through the Red Road Foundation, she has personally hosted and oriented over 500 volunteers and interns, through building a school, establishing a farm, health product line, upcycled glass production and the process of implementation of a trash collection system/ waste to resource initiative in the village where The Red Road Foundation resides. Rachel is fluent in Khmer language and has over six years’ experience in Kampot, Cambodia. Previous to her work with TRRF she studied adolescent counseling and has been certified in this field by Santa Barbara City College. She has worked for six years in inpatient/outpatient therapy with adolescents. This includes her time with Outback Therapeutic Expeditions, in which she worked with a team to facilitate the excursions of six adolescents at a time to live in the wilderness for several weeks, following a therapeutic and self-development program. Her experience also includes working in group home treatment centers, where she was responsible for the well- being, personal development plans and day to day milieu of 6-10 teenagers/foster children per home. She is passionate about making the world a better place. It has been her dream to facilitate a program where she could bring Western Youth to a place where they could have the space and be out of their comfort zones enough to redefine themselves and cultivate their voices. Her mission is to help young people discover their personal strengths, passions, confidence and skills through putting them in situations where they can be empowered to see how their lives can impact the world around them. Through this model she hopes to inspire young adults to set out on paths that enrich their lives and the world around them.
Garrett graduated from The University of Montana where he received a marketing degree with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. He played football for San Diego State University and the University of Montana. He would retire his football career early to pursue his passion for serving our world and co-found The Red Road Foundation. He currently own an operates a multitude of business and acts as a marketing and advertising consultant.
Garrett commented, “I’ve always felt a sense of responsibility to give love and aid to the people who need compassion in our world. I have been involved in community outreach programs and charity work for several years. I graduated high school with 450 hours of community service and graduated college with over a 1000. I’ve traveled to Tanzania, Africa to promote health and give supplies to the countless children in need after genocide. My newest experiences in Cambodia have been heart wrenching, yet rewarding in so many ways, these kids have changed my life. Living life to inspire creativity, Garrett Riggio follows his passions all around the world. He is ambitious and passion in all aspects of sales/marketing, consulting, and project management. He has built teams and brands from the ground up and consulted for billion dollar companies. His message is to be the change you wish to see in our world, which is why he lives every day making the dreams of others a reality. He strives to be a provider; his entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to improving global communities has led him to connect people via digital communities and social enterprise, as well as provide customer service to develop innovative products and refined services to provide new solutions for everyday problems to expand brand footprints.
“Dare to take the less beaten path, have courage to stand out and differentiate yourself, embrace your uniqueness, and be a catalyst for positive worldwide transformation.”
In my decision to teach at The Red Road Foundation, I have several objectives. First of all, I want to share my knowledge and experiences with the next generation of children. In fact, I understand that sharing knowledge is the most important factor in improving the ability and skills of children. I am able to use my influence to help with motivating their willingness to study hard. This is very important in Cambodia, as after a generation of war, their parents have learned that survival is the main focus of life and have not yet been exposed to the benefits and opportunity that education brings. It is my passion to share knowledge and experiences that they may utilize to bring healing and education into our rural community.
I have studied and am a practicing midwife, as well. It is in accordance with my dream to become an educator who spreads knowledge that can aid mothers and children. Working with The Red Road Foundation has allowed me to play a crucial role to help and support Cambodian children. At TRRF, we have been serving Cambodian children, who have faced humbling life lesson such as loss of parents, living on the street, alcoholic parents, abuse, and barely having enough food to eat at the end of the day. Lastly, I love working with TRRF because I never stop learning and improving myself! I love to learn, and I do not want a day to pass where I don’t learn something new. I work at TRRF because I understand that we play an important role in Cambodia, by giving our children an environment to facilitate education and personal growth, we strengthen our country. Through our efforts the children will be able to have a secure future and in turn be able to create a better future for my country. I believe that my work with Cambodian children will play an important part in building confidence and developing their lives, moreover; it will reinstate hope in their lives.
I have been working as a rice farmer and raising farm animals before I started working at The Red Road Foundation in 2015. I’ve always had the dream of meeting foreign people and speaking English. Since I started here, I have been able to accomplish that. I love meeting our volunteers from all over the world each week and working with them to make a difference in my community. Another reason why I work at The Red Road is because I understand that we play an important role in Cambodia in order to help the lives of children without opportunity, who are at risk of disease, living in poverty and being unable to afford medical help. I work for TRRF because I know we are changing lives and shaping the future of Cambodia. We offer a bridge that connects those who want to help in the west with the humble and grateful attitudes of those who live in poverty of the east. Furthermore; TRRF has been providing children in need with a safe place that they can prosper in. By giving them an environment to facilitate education and personal growth, the children will be able to have a secure future, and in turn be able to create a better future for my country. I know that many children are poor, sick and some who have lost their parents, they have not had the opportunity to learn and grow. I find strength in knowing that I play a part in bettering their lives. These children rely on TRRF and I am happy to help make a difference in their lives and in the future of Cambodia. I enjoy my work with children and playing a part in building their confidence and developing their lives so that they may reach their full potential.
Ellie Brister is a passionate, energetic, and enthusiastic individual in our Red Road family. From a seaside town in the UK, where her family has always been a voice in the local community raising her to be an empathetic advocate, friendly and confident. She loves diving and makes an impact with ocean conservation here in Cambodia. She is big into the sustainable living and anti-single-use-plastic movement, these aspects along with many others are what made her feel right at home when joining us back in 2016. Ellie has always worked closely with the local community and has created many beneficial relationships to work in collaboration with us. She constantly educates our students and their families on the importance of recycling, health, hygiene, education and community service. Over the years she coordinates our volunteers, carries out lessons on a wide- range of topics with our students, organizes and manages trips/workshops, prepares for social events through networking and logistics, provides beautiful social media content and helps facilitate resources for our students and staff. Ellie commented: ‘Part of my heart will always be at the Red Road now, it holds so much love and joy, I can’t express my gratitude for finding Rachel and this amazing project.’
Nathan Billingham is a spiritual and passionate soul we are blessed to have on our team. From a big extended family of nearly all girls, he left home at 16 to make it on his own and learnt many meaningful lessons along his path. He studied a variety of subjects back in school/college: construction, psychology, math, film/media, he has always been creative and daring. Nathan is passionate about spending time at a Buddhist monastery which leads him to learn more about himself and the journey we are all on together, he shares this with our students, staff and volunteers, reminding us to have Perspective in daily affairs. Our Red Road kids adore Nathan and his willingness to play no matter how hot the sun is. Since he first joined us back in 2016 he has managed moringa production, facilitated volunteer orientations, made important bond within the community, organized and carried out construction projects, he is a natural liaison between staff and volunteers. He helps us to utilize our volunteers to make maximum impact. Nathan is a man who gets the job done. He is charismatic, resilient, creative and forthcoming. He adds incalculable value to our team and we are grateful to have him. Nathan commented: ‘The Red Road project aligns with my passions in life, not only giving but also receiving lessons others may miss in life, very grateful.’