Jun 9, 2017

Our Students’ Desires


  The most important thing for us is to see progress in our children- When they start to count, read, and write, and become more enthusiastic about different subjects and school life. We asked them to write a short personal letter about what they do day-to-day, their favorite things and their aspirations for the future.
  
  This week we share a letter from Jerry. We look forward to introducing the children in their own words.



Hello,

I’m Jerry from San Ignacio which is in the outskirts of north Granada. I’m living with my mom, while my father works in Costa Rica. I’m twelve years old and I’m in 5th grade.

  Although I am the only child in the family, I never feel alone because I have many friends from my local area. After school we always hang out and play together. We play tag or hide and seek which is my favorite, but I also like to take part in different kinds of sport activities. I'm the fastest runner among my friends so usually, nobody wants to challenge me. We also play baseball, although I prefer football. Dribbling like one of the great football players is a challenge for me but after watching a match on TV, I always try to repeat their moves. When playing, I always try to dodge my friends’ defense and when I succeed, they are usually angry with me. Unfortunately, we don’t have a serious team in Granada, so I’m not able to improve my game to a higher level. Going to training in Managua is complicated and I wouldn’t have the time due to school and the learning center.
  
  I love to go to school and I have many friends there too. The subjects we learn are interesting and I feel it’s important to develop my skills. My preferred subjects are Mathematics and English. Languages are important, and learning a new language will be very important for me in the future. In Nicaragua, there isn’t so much possibility to practice a language and going to a private teacher costs a lot of money. Fortunately, we have some volunteers at school who are happy to help. They are fascinating people to me since all of them come from different countries. I’m excited to learn from them and I hope, I will soon have enough knowledge and practice to talk to them in English.
  
  When I grow up I would like to be a police officer. I have always admired this job. On the roads, there is lots of crime and they are the unique ones who are able to prevent it. I like their uniform and I would feel honored to wear one of those one day.



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Los Deseos de Nuestros Estudiantes

  Lo más importante para nosotros es ver el progreso en nuestros niños. Cuando comienzan a contar, leer y escribir, y llegar a ser más entusiastas acerca de los diferentes temas y la vida escolar. Les pedimos que escribieran una breve carta personal sobre lo que hacen día a día, sus cosas favoritas y sus aspiraciones para el futuro.
  
  Esta semana compartimos una carta de Jerry. Esperamos presentar a los niños con sus propias palabras.

Hola,
  
  Soy Jerry de San Ignacio que está en las afueras al norte de Granada. Vivo con mi madre, mientras mi padre trabaja en Costa Rica. Tengo doce años y estoy en quinto grado.
  
  Aunque soy el único niño de la familia, nunca me siento solo porque tengo muchos amigos de mi área local. Después de la escuela siempre salimos y jugamos juntos. Jugamos al toque y corre y a las escondidas que es mi favorito, pero también me gusta participar en diferentes tipos de actividades deportivas. Soy el corredor más rápido entre mis amigos por lo general nadie quiere desafiarme. También jugamos béisbol, aunque prefiero el fútbol. jugar como uno de los grandes futbolistas es un desafío para mí, pero después de ver un partido en la televisión, siempre trato de repetir sus movimientos. Cuando juego, siempre trato de esquivar la defensa de mis amigos y cuando tengo éxito, por lo general están enojados conmigo. Desafortunadamente, no tenemos un equipo serio en Granada, así que no soy capaz de mejorar mi juego a un nivel más alto. Ir a entrenar a Managua es complicado y no tendría el tiempo debido a la escuela y el centro de aprendizaje.
  
  Me encanta ir a la escuela y tengo muchos amigos allí también. Los temas que aprendemos son interesantes y creo que es importante desarrollar mis habilidades. Mis asignaturas preferidas son Matemáticas e Inglés. Los idiomas son importantes, y aprender un nuevo idioma será muy importante para mí en el futuro. En Nicaragua, no hay tanta posibilidad de practicar un idioma y el ir a un maestro privado cuesta mucho dinero. Afortunadamente, tenemos algunos voluntarios en la escuela que están felices de ayudar. Son personas fascinantes para mí ya que todos ellos vienen de diferentes países. Estoy emocionado de aprender de ellos y espero, pronto tendré suficiente conocimiento y práctica para hablar con ellos en Inglés.

  
  Cuando sea grande me gustaría ser policía. Siempre he admirado este trabajo. En las carreteras, hay un montón de delitos y son los únicos que son capaces de prevenirlo. Me gusta su uniforme y me sentiría honrado llevar uno de ésos un día.

May 29, 2017

Our Students’ Desires


  The most important thing for us is to see progress in our children- When they start to count, read, and write, and become more enthusiastic about different subjects and school life. We asked them to write a short personal letter about what they do day-to-day, their favorite things and their aspirations for the future.

  In the next few weeks, we are going to share the series of letters with you. We look forward to introducing the children in their own words.


Hello,
               
  My name is Xochil. I’m 9 years old and I’m in 4th grade at José de la Cruz Mena public school. I’m living in the barrio of San Ignacio with my family.

  My father works as a security guard in Granada, while my mom stays at home and takes care of us and all the chores. I have two brothers and one sister. When I’m at home, I like to play with them or just help my mom. She has a lot of patience with us so sometimes I think it’s nice to give something back.

  I have a dog and her name is Suzy. Playing with her is so much fun because she’s so friendly and playful and she has a lot of energy. I try to teach her different tricks. Using food as a reward, she is already able to sit, lie and give me a high five on my command. She is one of my best friends and when I’m sad, she is the only one who can comfort me and cheer me up.

  I’m happy to go to school because I have many friends there and we enjoy spending time together. My teacher is Mrs. Acevedo, she gives us lots of attention and she encourages us to improve more and more each day. My favorite subject is Math. I really like solving different Math problems and I’m proud to say that I’m one of the best in my class.

  I go to the learning center everyday, where I always attend the Math group. I love being there because the ayudantes (assistants) and volunteers can spend more time with us individually and they can easily explain how to solve the problems that I find difficult at the school.

  In the future, I would like to go to high school and university. I’m interested in subjects such as Math, Geography and Literature, so I don’t know exactly what I want to study yet but I’m sure I will able to make the right decision for myself.

  When I grow up I would like to travel, too. Looking at maps fascinates me and I hope I will be able to visit the faraway places that I dream about today.



***********************************************



Los Deseos de Nuestros Estudiantes


  Lo más importante para nosotros es ver el progreso en nuestros niños. Cuando empiezan a contar, leer y escribir, y se vuelven más entusiastas sobre los diferentes temas y la vida escolar. Les pedimos que escribieran una breve carta personal sobre lo que hacen día a día, sus cosas favoritas y sus aspiraciones para el futuro.

  En las próximas semanas, vamos a compartir la serie de cartas con usted. Esperamos poder presentar a los niños con sus propias palabras.


Hola,


  Mi nombre es Xochil. Tengo 9 años y estoy en cuarto grado en la escuela pública José de la Cruz Mena. Vivo en el barrio San Ignacio con mi familia.

  Mi padre trabaja como CPF (hombre de seguridad), mientras mi mamá está en casa y se encarga de nosotros y de todas las tareas de la casa. Tengo dos hermanos y una hermana. Cuando estoy en casa, me gusta jugar con ellos o simplemente ayudar a mi mamá. Ella tiene mucha paciencia con nosotros y a veces siento que es bueno devolver le algo.

  Tengo un perro, su nombre es Suzy. Jugar con ella es muy divertido porque es muy amable y juguetona y tiene mucha energía. Trato de educarla. Con el estímulo de la comida ella ya es capaz de sentarse, se hecha y me da la patita de acuerdo a mis órdenes. Ella es una de mis mejores amigas y cuando estoy triste, es la única que puede consolarme y alegrarme.

  Estoy feliz de ir a la escuela porque tengo muchos amigos allí y nos gusta pasar tiempo juntos. Mi maestra es Señora Acevedo, ella nos presta atención a nosotros y nos empuja a mejorar cada vez más cada día. Mi materia favorita es Matemáticas. Estoy interesada en resolver problemas de matemáticas y estoy orgullosa de ser una de las mejores de mi clase.

  Voy al centro de aprendizaje todos los días, donde siempre asisto al grupo de matemáticas. Me gusta estar allí porque los ayudantes y voluntarios pueden pasar más tiempo con nosotros y pueden explicar fácilmente situaciones que no soy capaz de resolver en la escuela.

  En el futuro, me gustaría ir a la escuela secundaria y la universidad. Estoy interesado en temas como matemáticas, geografía y literatura, así que todavía no sé lo que quiero estudiar, aunque estoy seguro de que podré encontrar la mejor opción para mí.

  Cuando crezca me gustaría viajar también. Mirar mapas me fascina y espero poder visitar los lugares remotos con los que sueño hoy.

Jan 23, 2017

These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things

It's been over a month now since our first learning center opened and we see improvements and growth each week. The ayudantes and volunteers are working together closely to refine the programs and activities that happen in the center. Regular meetings facilitate this goal and the children directly benefit from the retrospectives. Our Generosity.com fundraiser is seeing success as well with over $1200 raised to date, so we're well on our way to securing the funds to hire a full time director for four years.

The most important thing to us about the learning center is the enjoyment and benefit the children get out of it. We decided to spend time chatting with some of the kids about what they enjoy most about the center. We talked with nine kids at various ages about their favorite things to do at the center.

Katia 

Age: 13
School: Escudo
Grade: 4th
¿Qué es lo que más te gusta hacer en el centro de aprendizaje?
What is your favorite thing to do at the learning center?
Todo! Especialment arte porque me gusta hacer cosas bonitas. 
Everything! Especially art because I like to make beautiful things. 

Rosita

Age: 6
School: Escudo
Grade: 1st
¿Qué es lo que más te gusta hacer en el centro de aprendizaje?
What is your favorite thing to do at the learning center?
Escribir, aprender, y dibujar
To write, to learn and to draw

Juan Carlos

Age: 11
School: Escudo
Grade: 6
¿Qué es lo que más te gusta hacer en el centro de aprendizaje?
What is your favorite thing to do at the learning center?
Computadoras y tablets porque me gusta los juegos y matemáticas.
Computers and tablets because I like the games and mathematics

Ashton

Age: 5
School: Escudo
Grade: Pre-school level 2
¿Qué es lo que más te gusta hacer en el centro de aprendizaje?
What is your favorite thing to do at the learning center?
Vocales y animales. Elephantes! Tablets! 
Vowels and animals. Elephants! Tablets! 
(pictured left)

Layjauia

Age: 5
School: Escudo
Grade: Pre-school level 2
¿Qué es lo que más te gusta hacer en el centro de aprendizaje?
What is your favorite thing to do at the learning center?
Vocales y animales. Tablets! Me gusta juegos. Elephantes! 
Vowels and animals. Tablets! I like games. Elephants!
(pictured right)

Yabelka

Age: 12
School: Escudo
Grade: 5th
¿Qué es lo que más te gusta hacer en el centro de aprendizaje?
What is your favorite thing to do at the learning center?
Arte porque me gusta hacer cosas con mis manos. Me gusta crear algo.
Art because I like to make things with my hands. I like creating something.

Jose Alexander

Age: 8
School; Escudo
Grade: 2nd
¿Qué es lo que más te gusta hacer en el centro de aprendizaje?
What is your favorite thing to do at the learning center?
Todo! Matemáticas. Adición y sustracción.
Everything.  Mathematics. Addition and subtraction. 

Rodolfo

Age: 8
School: Teresiano
Grade: 3rd
¿Qué es lo que más te gusta hacer en el centro de aprendizaje?
What is your favorite thing to do at the learning center?
Arte, Idioma y matemáticas. Todo. Es divertido estar aquí y me hace feliz.
Art, language and mathematics. Everything! It's fun to be here and makes me happy.

Mariana

Age: 11
School: Sagrado Corazon de Jesus
Grade: 6th
¿Qué es lo que más te gusta hacer en el centro de aprendizaje?
What is your favorite thing to do at the learning center?
Arte y todo! Me gusta pintar y dibujar. 
Art and everything! I like to paint and draw.



Dec 21, 2016

Our New Learning Center Means Greater Success for Students



Children lining up outside the learning center
As the clock nears 1pm a line starts to form outside the green metal learning center doors. The eager children chatter while they wait. Volunteers and ayudantes work swiftly to prepare the center for the afternoon sessions. Some volunteers are creating name tags for the children, cutting tan card stock into squares and writing down each child's name. Ayudantes Luis and Francisco set up the tablets and computers for the computer classes. Maria and Scarleth prepare to check in the children and let them choose their first learning station. The children can hardly contain their excitement and smile gleefully. 


How it all began

Practicing Spanish with coloring
The idea for the learning center has been a long time in the making. Shortly after her first volunteer experience with La Esperanza Granada, Pauline realized there was a huge gap in the educational experience of Granada's children. During a brief return trip to Australia, she saw that many of the children there spent time learning in the home before and after school. Doing crafts, working on computers, practicing their lessons.

The Nicaraguan children in these impoverished barrios have no access to even basic resources in the home: pens, crayons, paper, books, craft materials or computers. Often they don't even have a table and chair where they can sit and do homework or crafts. Building the learning centers became a way to supplement this need that the schools and parents who often have little or no formal education could not meet.

How it works

The learning center is open every day. It's a safe and clean environment where children can come during their free hours outside their normal school classes to continue learning. The children that attend are truly engaged in learning and are well behaved, compared to large size classes in school where children can often become bored and misbehave as a result.

As it's just getting started, we are only working with the younger children who would normally attend school in the mornings so the learning center is only open now in the afternoons. The center operates three one hour sessions from 1pm to 4pm. There are four stations available to the children in the center: math, Spanish, art and computers. Each child can only attend the same station twice during one visit, and must stay in their chosen station for the entire one hour session.

The children create paper gatos
Volunteers and ayudantes assist the children with engaging and interactive math and Spanish games. They lead creative art projects where the kids get to take home something they created every day. They help the kids learn how to use and navigate engaging learning games and activities on the computers and tablets.

Going forward

The learning centers present a unique opportunity for us to truly help the children in Granada learn, and we mean really learn, as opposed to simply copying words and sentences from the chalk board as is often the reality of normal school classes where resources are stretched very thin. The plan is to build two more centers during the first half of 2017, with the help of Builders Beyond Borders.

Two of our university sponsorship graduates
More importantly, we need a dedicated director for the learning center program, to oversee the operation and management of all the centers as they continue to open. It's very rare that a job like this exists in Nicaragua, and too often it goes to someone who is not a native of this country. Our hope is to hire one of the students that graduated from our university scholarship program. It benefits one of the students we've helped succeed in school, and a local person will understand the needs and desires of the local communities far better than anyone else, and will be willing to commit for a greater length of time.

In order to hire one of these lucky graduates we need $3000 per year. While that doesn't seem like much by U.S. or European standards, that's a pretty outstanding salary in Nicaragua for a very demanding and time consuming commitment.

You can help

We're trying something new. We're asking for support from our fans and past volunteers to help raise the funds for this critically important position through a fundraiser on Generosity.com. We're hoping to raise $12,000 to fund this position for four years. We chose to fund raise using this method as a way to better engage our online community and gain traction outside our normal donor list. 

We're immensely grateful for all our current and past volunteers and from our regular donors that sponsor many local high school and university students, but we need support outside those avenues to continue growing and providing greater opportunity through education for the children of Granada. Please share our fundraiser with your friends, family and social networks and make a donation if you can. Any amount helps.

Watch to learn more about our fundraiser