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.
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