Desi has been shaped by her experience internationally, working in IDP (Internal Displacement of People) camps for the United Nations in South Sudan during the Darfur genocides. Serving in the midst of a public health crisis became personal to her as she got sick with malaria and nearly died from the lack of inadequate health care infrastructure and supplies.

Desi’s main role in Sudan was teaching health sanitation classes to those living in IDP camps, so the personal bout with Malaria and West Nile Virus heightened her awareness of the crucial needs and later in life would make her thankful for the care available in the United States. 

After Sudan she went to Uganda to help HIV orphans and was exposed to the realities of child gang and violence recruitment and family disintegration as a result of poverty, crime, and government corruption. 

Desi’s next major project in 2008 was working on a documentary of her personal adoption story, ‘Love Knows No Borders’ collaborating with the Vice Minister of Bulgaria and All God’s Children International (AGCI) addressing the crisis of older children permanently orphaned in institutional care. One of the main focuses was requesting age requirement changes for child abandonment that would allow international adoption to happen more efficiently and at older ages, making it more accessible for families across the world to adopt from Bulgaria.

From 2010 to 2014 Desi lived in Guatemala, relocating to work in an orphanage home in Guatemala City. Her time there quickly escalated to running an all-encompassing mission, working specifically with prevention and restoration. Prevention included family support, kid’s scholarships, providing social care services, addiction counseling, and working on reform for immigration policy. Restoration involved working with orphaned children on mental health counseling, abuse recovery, and family unification. She led community development efforts to build homes for families and was exposed to crime syndicates including MS13 where children were encouraged to disconnect from family for a life of crime. 

Desi moved back to the United States in 2015 and was involved as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) working with courts in Indiana and advocating for children being raised in various environments. She separately worked with educators to help emerge Spanish speaking students into the classroom in the midst of a large migrant population in southern Indiana.