Dear Mil Milagros Amigos,
The new school year began on January 16 and Mil Milagros was delighted to celebrate "inaugural" events in each of our six partner school communities and to welcome our newest partner: the Enrique Gomez Carrillo public school (afternoon session) in San Juan la Laguna. This colorful village along the shores of Lake Atitlan is known for its Maya painters and weavers - and cleanliness. We are thrilled to be working with 280 school age children, 50 young children, 200 mother and grandmother volunteers, and 21 teachers in this school community that was on our waiting list for four years. Here, all of our community gatherings are conducted in both T'zutujil and Spanish.
When we launch a new school partnership, we begin with a healthy snack program for a "probationary" period of a year. The innovative teacher and mother leaders at th Enrique Gomez Carrillo school have turned the "snack" into a modest lunch serving chicken soup one day of the week, scrambled eggs and beans another day, fruit cocktail, and chicken salad sandwiches. Upon successful completion of the "probation," MM will work with the school to implement more robust meals next year.
Each time we visit the school - which we reach by boat - community members stop us on the street to thank us for coming to their community. Whether they have children in the school or not, they express their gratitude for our support of their community's children. Several mothers have shared with us, tears streaming down their faces, how much the food makes a difference to their children and to them, explaining that they cannot afford to feed their children the way we do at school. School leaders already reporting improved attendance and class participation as the children now attend school more regularly because they get fed at school.
This year we are excited to be partnering with the Ministry of Education to implement the Ministry's "Healthy Schools" curriculum in each of our six schools. This curriculum will strengthen our existing school-based health and hygiene program to improve children's health and prevent disease by supporting the children with essential hygiene education and materials, and by working with the teachers to ensure clean school environments. Schools that successfully comply with the "Healthy Schools" curriculum and requirements earn certification - which can take as long as two years. We are exited to be working with each of our partner schools to achieve this important certification.
MM is happy to be working with over 500 mothers and grandmother volunteers to serve 1,050 meals each school day. Mil gracias for helping us to feed our children.
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