First Steps to Cultural Understanding for US Teens

 
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Mar 4, 2013

Help support the upcoming Youth Exchange!

W/NP Student Chapter group
W/NP Student Chapter group

The SPASH (Stevens Point Area Senior High) Wisconsin/Nicaragua Student Partners group is working on projects that involve bringing two students from Nicaragua to Wisconsin.  

The objectives of the trip are to:

1)  Strengthen current ties between youth from the United States and Nicaragua by providing personal contact and discussions of current student organizations.

2) Expose upcoming members of SPASH Wisconsin Nicaragua Student Partners to counterparts in Nicaragua and foster personal relationships.

3) Identify joint student projects that will allow for and require continued contact between the youth organizations to enhance continued participation in partnership.

The Wisconsin/Nicaragua Student Partners group is at a transition stage in its membership.  Of the approximately twenty current members, twelve are graduating seniors.  Although many of those students have had the opportunity to enjoy person-to-person interactions with Nicaraguan students, by either having been student members in past years when Nicaraguan students visited or, for some, having travelled to Nicaragua with the student group, the non-seniors have had very limited, if any direct contact with Nicaraguans.

Because it is the group’s experience that continued, enthusiastic participation in the student organization is greatly enhanced when the students have had direct contact with Nicaraguan students, Wisconsin Nicaragua Student Partners would like to have two students visit during the spring semester.  

Planned Activities:

Attend school (SPASH), presentations to classes (SPASH and PJ Jacobs Junior High), Community tours – Cheese Factory, Stevens Point Service Club Meetings, etc., tour Wisconsin Nicaragua main office with student members, visit Wisconsin/Nicaragua warehouse with student members, workshop with Wisconsin Nicaragua Student Partners at SPASH to plan joint projects for 2013-2014, hold at least 3 informal, casual gatherings with students to “share and compare” cultures through conversation.  

The students are working on fundraising,arranging home-stays, and planning activities to strengthen interaction between the student groups.  In addition, the Wisconsin Nicaragua Student Partners have been collecting school supplies and are looking forward to preparing the shipment to Nicaragua.  

Your support to help make this important exchange possible is greatly appreciated, thank you for your consideration of a donation to the youth projects of Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners!

Oct 16, 2012

Youth Engagement Workshop and Bike/Hike event

Why volunteer and be involved?
Why volunteer and be involved?

Two representatives from W/NP(Linda Weber and Olivia Pies) recently attended the Partners of the Americas Youth Engagement Workshop in Washington DC.  Linda is a retired teacher with a wealth of experience working with youth, Vice President of W/NP, and a very active volunteer.  Olivia became involved with W/NP through the
Youth Ambassadors program in 2007, and continues to be an inspiration for the current youth projects.   This past
Saturday, at the W/NP Student Chapter meeting in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Olivia shared with the high school group why she remains involved and about her experience in DC.  (Topics of focus at the workshop included how successful youth programs have been implanted in the past and plans for the future to continue offering opportunities for youth.)  

Why are youth projects and activities a priority for W/NP?  2007 Youth Ambassadors Shawn Clair recently commented, “I always try to keep in touch as I go along my journey in life, because I feel that I learned so much
being a Youth Ambassador and it has helped me to open my mind to new possibilities and opportunities that I can take advantage of.”   

The orange shirts in the photos represent the high school student chapter’s participation in the 6th Annual “I Went the Distance” Bike/Hike event, a month long collaborative effort –biking and hiking the distance between Wisconsin and Nicaragua.  It’s a call for people-to-people action as a way to raise awareness and help those in need by promoting an event youth from both countries can participate in. Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners works to provide
community and social development projects as well as humanitarian relief to the people of Nicaragua, through a wide variety of ways, mainly through people-to-people connections.   What makes the Bike/Hike event unique and special is that not only are people/students in WI participating in this state wide event, but our counterparts in Nicaragua are also joining in as well. By working together, we can reach our goal.  Wearing the “I Went the Distance!” t-shirt helps spark conversation and spread the word as you are “biking” and “hiking”
around Wisconsin and Nicaragua during the month of October.   You can join in and sign up today at:  http://www.wisnic.org/index.php/news/upcoming-events/77-bike-hike-event-2

Youth working together, do make a significant difference in the lives of others - thanks everyone for your support!

Olivia at the Partners of the Americas office
Olivia at the Partners of the Americas office
Youth Engagement Workshop in DC
Youth Engagement Workshop in DC
Bringing her DC experience back to Stevens Point
Bringing her DC experience back to Stevens Point
W/NP Student Chapter Meeting, Stevens Point
W/NP Student Chapter Meeting, Stevens Point
W/NP Student Chapter Meeting, Stevens Point
W/NP Student Chapter Meeting, Stevens Point

Links:

Jun 8, 2012

Wisconsin Youth in Action

Students preparing, labeling and packing contents
Students preparing, labeling and packing contents

Special thanks to the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners student chapter for continuing their exceptional planning efforts and clearly demonstrating their desire to stay involved with the youth projects.  The photos below are from a packing day at the Stevens Point W/NP warehouse in preparation for an upcoming shipment.  The group of students from SPASH (Stevens Point Area Senior High School) came out to learn about what happens after someone donates an item for Nicaragua.  There is a fine tuned process in place that assures every donation sent from the Stevens Point warehouse in Wisconsin, travels 2,350 miles ending up in Managua, Nicaragua ready to be delivered to the intended recipients.  For example, the AAUW (American Association of University Women) Wausau chapter put together a collection of teacher backpacks for educators in Nicaragua.  The backpacks were filled with items that would be helpful to a teacher (pencils, pens, paper, scissors, markers, stickers, flash cards and paper clips).  Each backpack was marked with a pink or orange ribbon as a flag to the staff in Nicaragua, that this donation is designated for a teacher rather than what would normally go to a student, teachers need support too!  The students (joined by their teachers too who had collected and shared their teaching resources) unloaded and packed the AAUW backpacks along with the backpacks and school supply items they had collected for students and schools in Nicaragua.  Only a couple weeks after the packing day, the items departed via 40 ft. container from Stevens Point and arrived June 6, 2012, to Nicaragua.     

Students learning about the shipping process
Students learning about the shipping process
Packing the Gaylord Boxes
Packing the Gaylord Boxes
Unloading the AAUW backpacks
Unloading the AAUW backpacks
SPASH student group
SPASH student group
Donations on their way south
Donations on their way south
Feb 29, 2012

Teens are stepping up!

"Give a Hand to the Education"
"Give a Hand to the Education"

It is refreshing to see how both the Wisconsin and Nicaraguan teens are stepping up and realizing the potential they have moving projects forward while educating their peers around them.  

  • Nicaraguan Youth ProjectGive a Hand to the Education", delivers school supplies and does TV program
  • Wisconsin Jr. High students collect educational materials for Nicaragua
  • Nicaraguan Youth identify those in need (and do something about it!)  photo below of recipient of medical donation
  • Wisconsin/Nicaragua Student Partners host Nicaraguan visitors at their meeting

Nicaraguan Youth Project – by Lilliam Perez

Hello everybody!!  Today, February 5th,  "Give a Hand to the Education", made its main school supplies and didactic material delivery for kids and teachers at Zoila Aurora school, located in El Viejo, Chinandgea.   Followed by a piñata and some raffles for each classroom.  The activity was a success, the kids received us with a beautiful talent show and we also received welcome words from the teachers and parents. We had the support of the Lions club for the transportation, represented by Alvin Gutie and Martina Porta.  In a personal way, I want to express how gratifying it was to receive a big hug from a kid that remembers me since the first time I went to the school and we organized a piñata for them, it’s been a year since this project started and we´ll keep going!  Contributing with the education of the Nicaraguan kids. :)
The selected phrase for the project is: " we have not born just for us" and as a picture speaks more than a thousand words, I’m going to share some, so you can see how was the activity.

Also in February, Lilliam Perez & Harting Briones  (coordinators of the “Give a Hand to the Education” project) had an  interview on the Nicaraguan TV show "Buenos Dias", Channel 12, in order to show people the amazing job that has been done thanks to the collaboration of many people.

Wisconsin Jr. High students  P.J. Jacobs Junior High School, Stevens Point, Wisconsin 

Educating our children is a challenge no matter where you live, and Wisconsin's partner country, Nicaragua, is no exception. Rural education in Nicaragua is struggling. With a net attendance rate among rural primary school students of 70.5 percent, (statistics from UNICEF), the Nicaraguan education system is vastly different and underserved.  While we can't change the country, we can enhance the experience for many, while educating youths in Wisconsin at the same time.

Project Nicaragua is an effort to help Spanish students from P.J. Jacobs Junior High School make meaningful connections with other cultures. The students collected supplies for schools, lending libraries, hospitals, orphanages, learning centers and special needs centers in Nicaragua. One-hundred-thirteen fleece blankets and 130 puzzles were collected.

The project culminated with a cultural presentation by Linda Weber, Spanish teacher from Appleton and vice president of Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners, and Moises Guillen, Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners coordinator from Managua, Nicaragua. (photos below)  Gabby Strojny, from left, Hanna Rottier, Jenna Plier, Mackenzie Durkee and Andrew Ruzek, students in Pam Murillo and Susan Hamiliton’s Spanish classes at P.J. Jacobs Junior High School, prepare supplies they collected for schools, lending libraries, hospitals, orphanages, learning centers and special needs centers in Nicaragua.

Nicaraguan Youth identify those in need  

“Ligia is the one that received the walker sent from Wisconsin, about 2 months ago, thanks a lot for the donation, she and her family really appreciated it and are very grateful to wnp.  She is from Leon,  has Alzheimer’s disease, she hardly walks, and almost never talks.  She doesn’t have insurance and it’s really hard to help her.  She was a really active person, always working till she got Alzheimer’s, the sickness advanced really fast, she has had it for only two years and it’s in a very advanced stage.”  - Lilliam, 2008 Youth Ambassador

Wisconsin/Nicaragua Student Partners

The Wisconsin/Nicaragua Student Partners group meets every Tuesday after school.  Several of the members have either hosted Nicaraguans or have traveled to Nicaragua themselves.  The group prides itself on welcoming any teens who have an “International” interest and would like to broaden their cultural understanding.   Recently, they hosted two Nicaraguans at their meeting, Moises Guillen and Diddman Jarquin.  

Recipients of school supply donations
Recipients of school supply donations
"Give a Hand to the Education"project coordinators
"Give a Hand to the Education"project coordinators
Giving a hand to the education!
Giving a hand to the education!
Nica Youth identifiy those in need
Nica Youth identifiy those in need
Wis Nic Student Partners host Nica guests
Wis Nic Student Partners host Nica guests

Links:

Oct 28, 2011

"Give a Hand to the Education" is alive & well!

Loading up the desks for delivery
Loading up the desks for delivery

This past year after being contacted by the Wautoma school district about a donation of desks, students in Wisconsin, who have traveled to Nicaragua or hosted Youth Ambassadors from Nicaragua, helped to transport the desks to the W/NP warehouse in Stevens Point.  Special thanks to all who helped make this possible, including Larry Pingel’s generosity to take several days of transportation, time and much gasoline for the truck/trailer combination to haul all the desks back to Stevens Point, and for being a great mentor/example to the kids.  (See photos down below under the Report “Youth do value education!”)

Since that time, on October 2, 2011, Youth Coordinador of the Project “Give a Hand to the Education”, Lilliam Perez  provides this update:

Today, an important step was given for: "giving a hand to the education".  We delivered 47 tables and 37 chairs for the kids of the school Zoila Aurora (in Nicaragua).  We had the participation of parents, kids, teachers, Lion partners from Managua and a representative of the ministry of education. 

This event was an alive example of : ·Working together, we make a difference".
We also made a raffle during the event and gave sandwich and coke.. :D

It’s important to recognize the effort of so many who dedicated time and work to succeed in this activity:
-Coordinator of the project: Harting Briones
-Managua Decano Lions club President, Ivan Morales
-Lion partner,past governor Gilberto Alcocer
-Lion Partner Jose Ignacio Aleman
-Lion partner Eduviges Somarriba
-WNP director in Managua: Mirna Angulo
-youth volunteers: Francis Vargas, Zaida Vargas, Xochilt Perez, Amalia Aguilar, Ella Ortega, Carolina Marcenaro, Karla Pérez.

Also I want to remind you without our sponsors, none of this could be possible.   
As pictures speak more than a thousand words, I attach some of them, so you can see what we have done together.  Special thanks to the Lions club, the director of the school, and all the parents who are supporting and encouraging their kids involvement - it is really great to see the willingness of the youth both in Wisconsin and Nicaragua to stay involved and help out in ways they are able to, long after their initial experiences.  

These are people who truly understand the value and spirit of volunteerism – thank you!

Unloading at the school
Unloading at the school
Putting desks back together
Putting desks back together
team effort from everyone
team effort from everyone
A snack of appreciation for the volunteers
A snack of appreciation for the volunteers
long time volunteers!
long time volunteers!

Links:

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Project Leader

Amy Wiza

Program Director
Stevens Point, WI United States

Where is this project located?

Map of First Steps to Cultural Understanding for US Teens