Limitless Horizons Ixil

Limitless Horizons Ixil's mission is to create opportunities for the indigenous youth, women, and families of Chajul, Guatemala, to develop the academic and professional skills needed to effect change in their lives and community.
Jan 26, 2015

Spotlight on Sonia: One of our littlest library advocates!

Meet Sonia!
Meet Sonia!

When you walk into the Saber Sin Límites (Limitless Knowledge) Community Library in Chajul, there is a very good chance you’ll see Sonia. From playing board games and learning how to play the flute, to singing songs and reading, Sonia can usually be found in the thick of the action!

At 7 years old, Sonia is young for her grade, having just started her 3rd year of elementary school. She comes to the library, she tells us, because she feels at home there. She first stopped by because her mother encouraged her to become a library member. She soon found her own reasons to stay.

The Limitless Horizons Ixil librarians are very fond of Sonia as she's one of library’s most engaged and helpful members. Librarians David and Marilú value her sweet nature, good behavior, and participation in all their activities. During the school year, she comes once a day in the afternoon, because she has class in the mornings. Over school vacation from October to December, Sonia happily came twice each day, taking advantage of all the exciting activities of our Reading Adventures vacation literacy program.

Sonia's favorite activity during Reading Adventures was learning how to play the flute. She was enthralled by the sounds she learned to produce and was excited to perform in the talent show that the library members hosted at the end of the school break.

Sonia is a voracious reader. She takes full advantage of our 7,000 book collection and tries to read as often as possible, averaging 3-4 books per month! Her favorite books are from the series El Sembrador (The Planter), a compilation of stories that each teach an important lesson. Sonia also benefits from the reading support provided by our two librarians. She says her reading has greatly improved from the extra help and she is always excited to see her fellow library members learning to read or improving their reading skills.

For such a dedicated young library member, it's initially surprising that Sonia is the only one in her family with five children to take advantage of this community resource. But she is the second youngest and her older siblings are all busy working around the house or looking for work to support the family. Sonia is working on getting her younger brother to come to the library with her too.

Sonia says she used to have friends that came to the library with her, but they have stopped coming as frequently because of their responsibilities at home. She often encourages them to come and even spoke to their mothers about it recently.

We are so inspired to have such a young advocate for our community library, and thankful to you, our generous supporters, who make this all possible for Sonia and her fellow readers! 

A musical prodigy
A musical prodigy
Welcome to
Welcome to 'Limitless Knowledge'
Letters and Learning
Letters and Learning
Our library advocate!
Our library advocate!

Links:

Dec 9, 2014

2014 in Review: Celebrating 10 Years of Growth with Many More to Come

Thanks to your generous support, we witnessed remarkable development in our Youth Development Program in 2014, with more students than ever graduating and more aspiring to higher education. We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your participation and share with you our results:

  • 100% of youth in their final year of high school and middle school graduated. This is in a community where only 11.5% of the community’s youth graduate from middle school and a mere 3% from high school.
  • We had a significantly higher number of high school graduates than ever before (and more than in all prior years combined) with 19 scholars graduating. Four of our girls graduated from middle school with excellent grades and will continue onto high school in 2015.
  • Of our 19 high school graduates, 100% aspire to continue on to university. Three have already been accepted into a university scholarship program, and a number are currently working on grant and college applications with LHI support.
  • We enrolled a total of 57 indigenous youth from Chajul in our Youth Development Program in 2014. Of the 57, 56 scholars passed their academic year in 2014. Just one student dropped out for health reasons; the student has since recovered and will be continuing with our program in 2015.
  • With the exception of one student, all of our scholars passed their grade. In fact, this year our middle school grade point averages were higher than ever before!
  • Aside from our high school graduates, 100% of our youth will move onto their next grade level in 2015 and will continue as LHI scholars.
  • We provided 9 workshops to youth and their parents on a wide range of topics including communication, sexism, health, hygiene, decision-making, self-esteem, and leadership.
  • Our scholars benefitted from 80 hours of computer classes, 60 hours of tutoring, and 80 hours of intensive Spanish language classes.Participants in our intensive Spanish course took a pre- and post-course exam to measure progress. Students improved their scores by an average of 20.2% after just four weeks!
  • Heading into 2015, we have one of our biggest incoming classes yet with 19 bright and ambitious young scholars starting middle school with LHI in the new year.

Our success rates in 2014 are attributed to our holistic approach that has been honed to ensure our scholars have the supports to overcome obstacles to education and develop into independent-minded and ambitious leaders in their community. We thank you for the pivotal role you have played in empowering and educating our scholars. 

After 10 years of progress, our programs are achieving incredible results. In 2015, we look forward to organizational growth and program expansion. We need your help now more than ever as we grow into 2015. Help us reach even more youth in Chajul, Guatemala. Please give this holiday season.

Best wishes and warm thanks  from all of us at Limitless Horizons Ixil.  Happy Holidays! 

The LHI rascals; our first year boys
The LHI rascals; our first year boys
Our youth celebrate Ixil culture
Our youth celebrate Ixil culture
Our second year girls
Our second year girls
Our new scholars!
Our new scholars!

Links:

Oct 29, 2014

Reading as an Adventure: Literary Landscapes and Winter Games

Opening a book and opening her world
Opening a book and opening her world

We’re nearing the end of the school year and vacation is around the corner. We are also moving into the winter months, and there is a nip in the air and fires are blazing. Winter vacation is an opportunity to take advantage of our library members’ free time to introduce our month-long Reading Adventures Literacy Programming. Thanks to your generous and crucial support, our library is able to cope with increasing numbers, and implement new and creative ways to encourage literacy and learning.

Reading Adventures started this week and will encourage students to read, develop their vocabulary, and improve their Spanish. It also offers our members a fun and social environment to spend the chilly winter months. The community of Chajul speak the unusual and beautiful language of Ixil. However, it is important that youth learn Spanish for schooling and employment opportunities. Our librarians are all bilingual (or trilingual) and engage students using Spanish and Ixil (and sometimes Quiché). 

Each Monday, the participants are separated by skill level and divided into three rooms with our three librarians. Groups of avid readers read aloud with help and instruction. The librarians have come up with innovative ways to engage library members and facilitate learning. At the ‘wall of words’, children stick new words they have learned under each letter of the alphabet. Our staff also employs animal sound games, dinámicas or ice-breakers, board games, and songs to create a fun and interactive learning environment. 

Tuesdays and Thursdays will be dedicated to this year’s vacation theme: music and dance. This theme will also incorporate creativity, art, and environmental awareness as library users will use recycled materials to create their own instruments.

Our musical menagerie of recycled instruments will include homemade drums, maracas, other makeshift percussion instruments, and flutes. Our multi-talented librarians will give classes to the students on singing, dancing, and instruments. Eduardo Rey, who plays guitar, drums, and flute, and featured prominently in the Independence Day marching band, will instruct the library members on how to play their instruments. Marilú will give classes on a range of different dances including merengue, salsa, bachata, and Zumba. David will be coaching our eager users in singing.

As always, Wednesday will continue with our ever-popular bilingual story hour. Each week per month we rotate different story hour themes: art, theatre, board games, and cultural story hour. Our library users are currently adding colour to a wall mural that depicts a delightful ‘world of books’ that was sketched by a recent volunteer (see pictures!).

This year has been one of growth and our vacation programming is a wonderful example of the services and activities we can provide with this organizational growth. Our three accomplished librarians bring different skills and strengths to the table, and provide individualized attention and support to even more children. Thank you for your continued support in creating a place of creativity and learning in Chajul! 

Literacy Landscapes: Our World of Books
Literacy Landscapes: Our World of Books
Our
Our 'Wall of Words'
Literacy Support
Literacy Support
Reading Circle
Reading Circle

Links:

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