A New Scholarship Program Activity
At Sharing the Dream, we believe in sustainable solutions. We believe that in order for a project or program to be sustainable, participants must be involved and have a say in what we do. We are continually getting feedback from our program participants and designing programs, projects, and activities based on that feedback. The School for Parents is our newest Scholarship Program activity.
Last year, we conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the Scholarship Program to ensure that we are making the largest possible impact. We interviewed scholarship students, parents, teachers, and community leaders for their feedback. One thing we kept hearing was a desire for parents to be more involved in their children's education. The majority of the scholarship students' parents didn't have the opportunity to go to school for longer than a few years, and they didn't feel comfortable navigating the school system. They wanted to learn how to better support their children in their schooling and help them to be successful. The School for Parents grew out of that expressed desire.
The School for Parents are monthly workshops for the parents of our scholarship students aimed at helping parents to better support their children at school. The interactive workshops are held round table discussion style, and parents are encouraged to participate and share advice with one another. The workshops are taught by local experts, such as psychologists and teachers, and the topics are chosen by the parents.
July was our first ever School for Parents workshop. Last month's topic was "Self-esteem: Getting to know yourself and your children". The workshop was given by a psychologist from our partner organization, La Puerta Abierta. The participants learned what self-esteem is, how to help their children to develop good self-esteem, and how self-esteem affects children at school.
This month's School for Parents topic was "Emotional Support". To start the workshop off, the participants played an ice-breaker game to get to know one another. Then, they played a game about emotions and discussed the emotions that children oftentimes experience at school, such as happiness, fear, sadness, and anger. Parents learned ways that they can support their children through these different emotions and how to identify a larger problem, such as depression or anxiety. Throughout the activity, the parents were able to ask questions, share their experiences, and support one another.
Help us to continue to provide these tools to the parents. For only $50, you can sponsor a School for Parents workshop and help parents in Guatemala to better support their children.
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
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