Antonio, STDG's Assistant Tutor and Administrative Assistant
Meet Antonio, our assistant tutor and administrative assistant. Antonio is an important member of our team in Guatemala. He is always willing to jump into whatever is asked of him, and he finds joy in tutoring the scholarship students. Antonio is from the small community of Chacaya, just outside of Santiago Atitlan. Taking the place of his brother in our scholarship program, he studied hard for five years and graduated with a degree in accounting. He then began his role as tutor and administrative assistant at Sharing the Dream. As a tutor, he travels to meet with scholarship students in Santiago, Panajachel, and Chichicastenango, helping other children to receive the education he did when he was a student.
Antonio is passionate about learning and reading. He particularly enjoys the Reading Circle he runs with the scholarship students. With a smile, he talks about the program, “We created a reading group with the scholarship students. Once a week, the students come to the Tutoring Center to read together. I enjoy it because it is interesting: we need ideas and imagination to share together.” He hopes to continue studying English, to attend university, and to travel so that he can share his experiences and Guatemalan culture. Antonio wants to share the message that anything is possible. His diligent work ethic and kind spirit are among the many reasons we are happy to work with Antonio.
Our scholarship program is growing! In 2019, we have 25 scholarship students located in 4 municipalities. The vast majority of the students are from the communities outside of Santiago Atitlan, but we also have five scholarship students in Chichicastenango, two in Tamahu, Alta Verapaz, and one in Chua Cruz, Solola. In order to provide the individualized attention that we see as being so important, we have two tutors this year.
Apart from their required 6 hours of tutoring sessions and 6 hours of volunteer hours a month, the scholarship students have been busy this year. In February, the students prepared the entertainment for the elder’s Valentine’s Day party. They sang songs, played games, performed skits, recited a poem, and danced. The elders loved the activity, and the scholarship students charmed the elders. It was neat to see the intergenerational exchange.
In March, the scholarship students participated in a workshop on environmental education. They learned about the importance of taking care of the environment and ways that they can do so, such as not using styrofoam and not littering. Although these things may seem elementary to us, taking care of the environment is something that is not commonly talked about in Guatemala. After the workshop, the students were assigned to come up with and execute a community service project. Working with the other scholarship students from their communities, the students planned community clean-up days. The students from Tzanchaj and Chukmuk spent a morning picking up trash in Santiago, and the students from Chacaya spent a Saturday picking up trash in Chacaya. We are very proud of the initiative that the students took with this project.
In April, we held our annual scholarship student get-together. Although we normally have all of the students come together in one town, we decided to hold two get-togethers this year, one in Chichicastenango and one in Santiago. At both activities, the students listened to a speaker on a topic related to their health and wellbeing. They also played games and had lunch together.
This year, we have continued with the reading circle. Due to the large number of students and the difference in reading levels, we have formed two groups that meet twice a month. During the reading circles, the students read together and then do activities that help them to analyze the readings and think critically. The reading circles also help to foster a love of reading in the students.
Thank you to Thrivent Financial in the US for all of the grants and for their support to Sharing the Dream in Guatemala. The extra t-shirts go to the scholarship students, where we really strive to fulfill the motto of living generously.
Please help us to continue to provide tutoring, worskhops, the reading circle, and other essential support to the scholarship students. Make a donation to support children in Guatemala.
Sharing the Dream in Guatemala
Diane Nesselhuf is Sharing the Dream in Guatemala's director and founder.