aCADEMIC sUMMER cAMPS
Ever had a good idea and then when it comes to fruition, you say to yourself, “What was I thinking!”. Well, that was how I felt when it became clear that ESL and Math Summer Camps were really going to happen. How were we going to teach 80 children ages 4-19 with only three weeks available?
To make it happen, we needed to divide the kids into groups, but the mothers really wanted all their children to go to the same session. That makes sense; who wants to spend their days escorting different ages to different classes. So, we had to be able to deal with very mixed ages and different proficiency levels. Where could we house all these kids? Agustin and his family stepped up and volunteered their house for the math classes; I would take care of housing the ESL classes at my home. To teach math, we really needed to find four very qualified and flexible Mexican teachers. Luz Tolentino was our first choice and became the leaders of the math groups. She had a terrific team of 3 more teachers and one assistant. Because of the funds earned at the April Feeding Their Minds dinner, we could pay a decent salary to this team. Finally, we needed lots of volunteers to make the ESL classes work. After putting out the request, it was so gratifying to have many people agree to come to San Juan Cosala and work with small groups of children.
An idea that looked impossible, became one of the best things going. Eighty children getting math and English classes for three weeks. Filling skill gaps, learning new vocabulary, working on computers, playing educational games, and seeing that their hard work matters.
The kids are asking if we are going to do it again. Darn right, we are! And now we know how to make the dream a reality.
LOS NIÑOS DE CHAPALA Y AJIJIC A.C. oversees the 10,000 US donation received from a generous benefactor. Agustin is the gatekeeper for the applications and NCA provides all the services related to the selected students costs.
education for all
Tom Dowdy-Winslett and Buddy Dowdy-Winslett are the leads for this project. Their goals is to help students realize that high school and college are real possibilities. Many of the students in SJC quit early. Why?
This team of volunteers is identifying students who want to beat the odds and continue in school. By providing tutoring, summer programs. mentors, and a place to "hang out", it is hoped that we can increase the number of successful students.
Operation Feed is also providing ESL classes to many people in San Juan Cosala who want to improve or learn English. Children from ages 8 and up are given beginning lessons and access to computer programs twice a week. Teenagers also have two classes a week. Adults wanting general English can access beginners, intermediate, and conversational level classes.
Agustin is teaching English to gardeners and housekeepers three days a week. He is including not only English lessons, but information how what expats expect.
Through a grant from St. Andrews Church, 5 Mexican "teachers" are offering small group English lessons in their neighborhoods. These "teachers" receive training and materials to aid them in their new endeavor.