Jun 3, 2021

COVID 19 Update

Dear Long Way Home community member,

2020 was incredibly challenging on our school staff and teachers due to the situation in Guatemala. They have shown how resilient they are, and it is reflected in how they have handled the current pandemic and the challenge of teaching kids and teenagers from very disadvantaged backgrounds. Teachers work hard to ensure a unique and quality education for our students. One of the biggest challenges they faced was how to continue delivering quality education when lots of students did not have access to devices nor internet to attend online classes. After a lot of community consultation and discussion amongst the staff, a decision was made to create a sort of blended method to continue teaching students in an individualized and personal manner as is done at our Hero School. 

Guatemala operates on a traffic color system, meaning as the colors of a traffic stop due in relation to rules for COVID-19. San Juan Comalapa has been in between orange and red for the past several months, and so the school made an executive decision to close down campus for the students and on an only necessary basis for teachers and administrative staff. This meant that as of February, classes have not taken place on campus. This meant that teachers had to come up with the best way to continue teaching.

Before deciding how to continue classes during a pandemic, students and their families were given a questionnaire to ask what would be their preferred method of teaching. There was an overwhelming amount of support for individual house visits from teachers, especially from the younger students whose parents are both usually working to support the household. Teachers then decided to implement bi-monthly house visits to students, alongside worksheets given every fifteen days to students during their house visit. This method has proven to be very effective, as both students and teachers really enjoy meeting in person and exchanging knowledge. These visits usually last between 2-3 hours, and takes each teacher various days to complete the grade they are teaching. In these visits teachers hand out guides that were structured by them to include studying material for two weeks. These guides also include materials needed, of which teachers are very mindful to not put anything very costly due to the majority of student's socio-economic situation. 

We hope that as the situation begins to get better we will be able to once again welcome students on campus. Until then, we continue to thank and be incredibly grateful for the entire educational team at Hero School for their above and beyond dedication to their students and the school. We are so incredibly fortunate to have them as part of the team. 

And we want to thank you for your continued support and/or donations towards LWH. It helps us continue to support our incredible teachers and staff in everything that they do. Thank you!

Students from 5th grade
Students from 5th grade
5th grade student and younger brother
5th grade student and younger brother
3rd grade student showing off a project
3rd grade student showing off a project
Student showing game that he made
Student showing game that he made
3rd grade student working on some homework
3rd grade student working on some homework

Links:

Mar 15, 2021

An update on the construction of our Science Lab!

¡Hola a todos y todas!

In early January, when construction of the Hero School Science Lab was supposed to begin, we received notification that a new COVID-19 case was confirmed in the town of Comalapa, which resulted in an unfortunate death. Always keeping the health and safety of our employees as a priority, we decided to pause the construction of the building. This specific project is a very demanding one, as it includes working with cement. It is also one that requires the participation of our entire construction team, and we determined at the time that it was unwise to have so many people working together on such a project.

After much deliberation, and after two months of not receiving any news about new cases of COVID-19 in Comalapa, we would like to provide you with updates on the project. This March, we have slowly started the construction process. Currently, the team is building the columns for the concrete pad, which we hope to have ready by April 2021. We have included some photos to show you how the work site looks as of now.

This will be just the beginning of the construction of the Science Lab — by laying the foundation of the building, we will create a roof for the Teachers’ Lounge and Water Room. We will also be paving the floor of the Teachers’ Lounge (the walls are already up), and the walkway between the Administration building and the Cafeteria will also be paved to facilitate vehicular access and reduce the amount of dust.

Stay tuned for more updates on this project that has us all very excited! And THANK YOU, once again, for all the support.

 

Until next time,

The Long Way Home team

Feb 10, 2021

Your GlobalGiving update on Long Way Home!

Tech Donations
Tech Donations

1. Tech Donation Drive for Hero School

Our Development Director, Katie Larson, will arrive in Guatemala on Friday, February 12!! Thanks to our incredible supporters, she will bring some much-needed tech items to facilitate Hero School's remote learning efforts. Donations totaling $2,180 and consisting of laptops, tablets, and smartphones will help our teachers and administration team ensure a more consistent flow of instruction as they will once again take on the challenge of distance education during at least the first half of 2021.

 

2. Maximizing safety on our campus

Back in Comalapa, Hero School teachers are focused on finding the best practices for working with our students. And to create a safer environment for our entire Hero School community, specifically our students, our construction team will build and install a new front gate for the school! These types of projects are possible thanks to the monetary support of our donors. We want to thank you for not only continuing to allow us to create a progressive and inclusive educational environment, but also a safe one for all.

 

3. GivingTuesday 2020

For GivingTuesday 2020, which took place on December 1, the LWH team raised funds to begin construction of the Hero School Science Lab. This building will signify the completion of the original architectural plan that Matt and Adam envisioned for LWH fifteen years ago, and it will sit right on top of the Teachers' Lounge and next to the Cafeteria. Construction will be carried out in two simultaneous phases (Phase S and Phase B), from January 2021 to April 2021. 

Aware of the economic impact that COVID-19 has had on families around the world, and therefore doubtful of being able to raise the necessary funds for the project, we set our GivingTuesday goal at $10,000. However, thanks to the support of our generous donors, we managed to raise the incredible sum of $12,118.35, which thanks to our GlobalGiving partners who matched $4,063, became a mind-blowing total of $16,181.35. Not only did we exceed our goal, but we also did it in record time! Our donors truly have a heart of gold, and we are so grateful that they have chosen to be a part of this team.

 

4. Our wonderful interns!

We are delighted to have on our team, three interns who are (virtually) helping us with our Outreach and Grant Writing efforts.

Estefania, our Outreach intern is a Master's student from Brazil. She has been working alongside Sonia (Outreach Coordinator) to ensure we keep constant communication with donors like you. Estefania says, "I decided to join the LWH family because I'm a huge admirer of the work they've been doing over the years."

Koryna, our Grant Writing Intern is from San Francisco, CA, and has a degree in Biology. She is passionate about environmental and social justice which led her to join our team. She works alongside Katie (Nonprofit Development Director) to search and apply for grants to fund LWH projects. In her free time, Koryna enjoys birdwatching, making sourdough bread, and reading non-fiction books. 

Liz, our Grant Writing Intern studied Sociology and Psychology as an undergraduate student and is currently applying to graduate programs. She is a Virginia native who has had a lot of writing experience in previous jobs which has been helpful as she assists Katie to narrow down grant opportunities for LWH. Best of luck with your grad interviews!

If you are interested or know someone who is the perfect fit to become an intern with LWH, we accept interns on a rolling basis! You can learn more about current intern opportunities on our website. 

 

5. Kicking off our Ally Program

Our Hero School staff is preparing to meet the first group of Hero School Allies. During a first Zoom meeting, which will take place today, February 10, both staff and allies will discuss the work that is being done at the school, as well as the motivation behind this new effort to exchange culture and knowledge and debate on education matters. If you are interested in learning from our heroes about the tangible meanings of sustainable community development, please consider becoming an Ally to our Hero School! #BeAHero

 

6. Education at LWH: College Courses and the Green Building Academy (GBA)! 

Matt and Katie have started teaching the college courses for this Spring semester! Our first experience with our student, Asa, was more than we could have imagined. We are excited about all of what this new semester will bring. If you are interested in earning college credit* while supporting the work of LWH at an incredibly affordable rate, then make sure to check out our Certificate in Critical Pedagogy and Sustainability, a perfect way to gain an educational and pedagogical foundation in relation to sustainability. *Available for both undergraduate and graduate levels.

And finally, we are thrilled to announce that we are beginning to accept applications for our fifth Green Building Academy (GBA) in July 2021! The GBA is Long Way Home’s unique 4-week intensive course designed for individuals who wish to dive deep into green-building and design topics, as taught by expert instructors. Participants who join the Academy will contribute to our efforts to make healthy and resilient housing accessible to low-resourced and climate-stressed communities. Sign up here to attend the GBA and celebrate with us as we re-energize after a very tough year!

                                                                                                                Support our Heroes. Make a Difference!

The Science Lab construction area
The Science Lab construction area
Interns Estefania and Koryna
Interns Estefania and Koryna
Become an Ally to Our Hero School and #BeAHero
Become an Ally to Our Hero School and #BeAHero
Sign up for the July 2021 Green Building Academy!
Sign up for the July 2021 Green Building Academy!

Links:

 
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