This month, we began ¡Vamos a Leer!, our literacy program to show the children the joy in reading. Since many of the children are off from school during the summer months, this program is a great opportunity for children to continue practicing their reading and writing skills. We encourage the children to select their books of interest and motivate them to finish the stories they choose, giving them a sense of individual achievement and helping to improve their overall reading proficiency. We close the program by throwing Carnaval, an exciting festival to celebrate their achievements.
Kelly, one of the volunteers from our September 2012 class, works at Hogar San Francisco, a home for girls between the ages of 4 and 21 years old. The girls love reading the “Twilight” series books and using VE Global`s tablets to read e-books. They receive a sticker each time they finish a story in order to visually track their achievements. Kelly also gives them an activity to do once they finish a book, such as having them write a short synopsis or a description of their favorite character.
At Hogar Esperanza, a home that serves children from birth to 6 years old, Sam, another volunteer from the September class, reads to the children individually. For each story they complete, they draw pictures of their favorite characters or are filmed talking about why they liked the story, and later enjoy the film with their friends.
“This program is really important for their cognitive development because they learn about new and exciting topics. They also love to receive the individual attention,” explains Sam.
Check back soon to read how we celebrated their successes at Carnaval!
Last month, VE had its final Liga de Deportes of the year where we introduced the children to rugby! Our new friend from the Municipalidad de Santiago, Señor Raul, returned to teach the kids the fundamentals of the sport.
The afternoon started with warm-up exercises, and a breakdown of the terminology and scoring system used. Before we knew it, the kids were scoring tries left and right.
After various matches, everyone was exhausted from running around in the sun and ready for some rest and snacks to recharge. Healthy treats like carrot sticks, fresh fruit, and palta sandwiches were served. The activity ended with a prize give-away to those who correctly answered our rugby trivia questions.
Although there wasn't any tackling involved, the kids had fun learning a new sport nonetheless!
What's to come for our next Liga de Deportes? Keep up-to-date by visiting our blog!
For some of us, October stirs up images of leaves falling, hay rides and pumpkin picking, along with memories of getting in costume, trick-or-treating and over-indulging on candy. Here in Chile, though, trees are in bloom, and the sun is shining! As the days warm up, people are shaking off months of winter weather. No longer restricted by cold and rain to a life indoors, the kids at our partner organizations can finally run around outside with our volunteers for a game of fútbol, tag or hopscotch. They can venture out to a nearby park, swing on the swings, or have a calm picnic. Yet exploring the outdoors isn’t the only activity we’re working on right now.
Thanks to our new partnership with American Tower Chile, volunteer art workshops now boast bigger and better opportunities as the kids prepare their final Festival artwork and performances.
To celebrate artwork that children and volunteers create together during ongoing art workshops, VE hosts an art festival twice a year, providing a supportive space to build children’s confidence and show off their creativity. The festival includes everything from paintings, poems, dance, and singing.Seeing all of the kids' artwork this year was amazing! With Festival falling on October 30th this year, the program team decided there could be no better theme than Halloween! Stocked up with black and orange tempera paint, googly eyes, glitter and all sorts of Halloween-related craft materials, our volunteers motivated and inspired the kids to create awesome Halloween-themed artwork. Whether by drawing, dancing, painting or singing, Festival is always a great time for kids to express themselves through art. VE volunteers and staff had a blast at this years Festival, too. After much choreography and practice, they used Michael Jackson’s Thriller to kick off the event in order to get the kids psyched about getting up on stage too.
This month, we welcomed in a new class of volunteers! They are a wonderful group of individuals from all over the world, and we are already impressed with the insight and enthusiasm they’ve shown throughout their 10-day orientation.
At VE, we typically begin orientation by asking new volunteers why they, personally, have chosen to come to volunteer with VE in Chile. We thought you’d like to see why:
I came to volunteer with VE in Chile to do something meaningful. – Kelly Gunkel, USA
I came to Chile to volunteer because I was able to combine my passion to volunteer with spending time with my family in Santiago. – Valentina Miranda, Chile/Australia
I came to volunteer with VE in Chile because I wanted to use my skills and resources to help children at social risk. I also wanted to practice speaking Spanish. – Samantha Schindelheim, USA
I came to volunteer with VE because I wanted to work with volunteers from all over the world, and because I think it's great that I have this opportunity to give some of my time and talents to do this work. – Jacolien Kisteman, the Netherlands
I came to volunteer with VE in Chile because I wanted to give back and be a positive influence in the lives of children at social risk. – Hunter Stephan, USA
I came to volunteer with VE because I was ready for new experiences like working with children, living in a new culture, learning a new language and getting to know new people. – Anna Lisa Jakobi, Germany
I moved with my husband to Chile six months ago and wanted to work on an educational program as it is my true vocation. I found VE Global and thought it was the perfect opportunity to help and start on my teaching path! I can't wait to start working with the kids. – Violeta Parilla, Venezuela
I came to Chile to help and teach children at social risk because I want to show them that all their dreams can come true and they don’t have to worry about the future. There are people out there caring for them! – Sanya Bischoff, Germany
Our new volunteers have added a special burst of energy to VE. We’re thrilled to have them here and can’t wait to see all the wonderful things they accomplish as part of our VE community!
At VE Global, we are constantly working to improve our programs with the help of volunteers and partners who bring fresh ideas and resources to the table. Last year, Nicole Potempa from the US states of Illinois, worked as a consultant for VE to design a health and wellness curriculum for the volunteers to enhance Liga de Deportes. Her curriculum has brought healthier snacks and exciting new fitness workshops to Liga, as well as fun taller ideas for volunteers to encourage healthy eating habits with the kids. This past November, VE volunteer Ali Unger and her family organized a large donation of sports equipment – quality soccer balls, tennis rackets, basketballs and footballs, among other things – with help from the Chappaqua Community in Westchester, New York. A portion of this donation was set aside for use at Liga and the rest was divided up and donated to our partner organizations, so that VE volunteers could encourage physical activity in the kids’ everyday lives.
More recently, VE Global has teamed up with the YMCA of Southern Maine to add new exciting elements to Liga de Deportes. We’ve implemented a new series of volunteer-led Healthy Living workshops in our partner organizations and we’ve introduced a new motivational aspect to Liga de Deportes: At the end of every Liga, two children are awarded a VE Global water bottle for their positive behavior and excellent participation in the day’s activities. We’ve set up a system of recording these good behaviors, so that the children who consistently participate well at Liga de Deportes can be rewarded with a special fitness-related field trip. Our first winners will have the exciting opportunity to go to Casa Boulder, a climbing-wall gym here in Santiago.
We are very excited about how Liga de Deportes has expanded into a broader Healthy Living program over the past year, and appreciate all the help and support we have received from our volunteers, our partners, and our donors! Thank you!
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