Juan Carlos is not the most articulate of our newest teen reading promoters. He lives in the shadow of his domineering father and his Spanish skills are a bit weak. But I love this kid because what he lacks in eloquence he makes up for with spirit and determination.
Last week as our Learning Journey group ended their time with the teens in a teary and heartfelt closing circle, Juan Carlos's words hit me hard. He bravely shared, "If it weren't for Reading Village, I would not be here. I would be in the field carrying heavy loads of vegetables." And that's the truth. His family would not be able to afford to send him to public school (which in Guatemala is not free), and he would be trapped in the cycle of poverty that many never escape.
Juan Carlos was not accepted into our program on his first try. But that did not stop him. And now, despite his difficulties expressing himself, he is nearly always the first to offer an opinion or answer a question during the teens' training sessions.
And each week he grows more and more accomplished at engaging small children in stories. Through our program Juan Carlos is not only discovering a new future for himself but making this possible for the children he reads to.
Keep teens like Juan Carlos in school with a donation today.
Thank you for your partnership in this important work,
Don't forget! Wednesday the 15th is Bonus Day.
Donations made on that day only will be matched 30%
That means a donation of $50 (10 books) becomes $65 (13 books).
As always, your support is greatly appreciated.
I never expected that we'd see it this soon, just two and a half years after beginning in Concepcion, but there it was right in front of me -- the birth of a new generation of leaders in this community.
Sunday, after Daniel and I had wrapped up the training session with our fifteen teen reading promoters, Marcela (one of the teens) told Daniel the group had something to tell us. I have to say I felt a bit nervous as the mood was serious and they all seemed to know what this was about.
Marcela then announced that they all met the day before and formed their own action committee with a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer. They've created such a love of and demand for books in the children they read to they now see the need for a library. And by their own initiative they formed this committee in order to begin to make that happen -- with our blessing and promise of support.
I was so choked up I could barely respond. THIS is what the work is about for me -- the development of local leaders that will create a new future for their own community.
Please continue your generous support with a donation today. You are making a difference!
Youth rise to the expectations that we hold for them. Here at Reading Village we see it every day in our teen reading promoters. And it's one of the greatest satisfactions of my work to see them become more than they ever thought they could be. So it makes me sad when I hear of adults grossly underestimating the potential of young people.
Daniel Guzmán our In Country Director just came back from a conference in Guatemala City that was filled with teachers interested in techniques to better teach reading and writing. As he explained to those he met about the work he does, he realized that they don't believe in teens the way we do. They could not imagine that high school students would be responsible or capable enough to be successful at promoting literacy in the ways they do in our program. So I am very appreciative of your belief in and support of our teens. Your donations are an investment in their futures. And on March 16, any donation you make on our GlobalGiving web page will be matched 30%. Mark your calendar!
Thank you for all you do to bring the power and joy of literacy to children.
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