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Jun 19, 2020

No Shared Cookies for A While

Minsis working in Malpaso
Minsis working in Malpaso
During a typical school year, our Shoulder to Shoulder staff keep busy with our educational programs that range from providing biligual education -- to robotics -- to increased literacy -- to computer assisted learning via Kolibri.  

Honduras cancelled classes on March 12th and it's hard to believe how quickly three months have passed.  At that point, we had no idea our schools and offices would stay eerily quiet for so long.  While in the US, the school year was ending, in Honduras it had just begun in February.  

The current pandemic has catapulted us to doing all of our work from our individual computers, in our individual homes.  Now, we are separated by many miles, instead of just an office wall.  Our afternoon coffee breaks happen individually now:

  •  Minsis in the refreshing hillside of Malpaso
  •  Nely accompanied by the howling wind between Yamaranguila's trees
  •  Edel amongst the dense Camasca forest 
  •  Me (Mariela) from a hidden apartment near Chicago

You can imagine how much we miss our shared cookie stash...and our coworkers, of course!  We continue having team meetings where we share our week's highs and lows, and put our heads together to figure out what we CAN do for our educational programs in these challenging times.

Thank you for all of your support to Shoulder to Shoulder's Educational Programs!

Nely working in Yamaranguila
Nely working in Yamaranguila
Edel working in Camasca
Edel working in Camasca
Mariela working in Chicago
Mariela working in Chicago
May 28, 2020

The Borders Are Closed

Participant in StS's Nutrition Program
Participant in StS's Nutrition Program

Dear Supporter of StS's Nutrition Program:

The impact of the novel coronavirus is being felt around the whole world.  In Honduras, it is having many negative consequences.  Today, I will write about one aspect:  The Closing of the Borders of Honduras.

The micronutrient supplement that StS provides to almost 3,000 children is called Chispuditos.  It is manufactured in Guatemala, and shipped to Honduras.  The factory makes the product once per year (each November) and it has an expiration date of the following November.  We have been waiting for the batch that was produced in November 2019 -- so that we could distribute it during the quarterly visits the mothers make to their local health centers.  That would have been in April, July, and October 2020.  

However, due to the coronavirus, Honduras shut down its borders to all traffic coming in from neighboring countries.  Therefore, the product did not arrive in March, as expected.  Now, we are hearing that the borders might not be opened until June.  We are hopeful that the Chispuditos will arrive in time for our July distribution.

If this does not happen, we will be in the difficult position of needing to figure out a new plan.

We are most appreciative of all the assistance our loyal supporters (YOU) give to this nutrition project.  There is nothing more important than working to improve the health of the youngest, and most vulnerable, babies and children in Honduras.

Thank You!

PS  Please take a moment to view the video link below.  Although it was filmed almost two years ago, it is a great reminder of all the good that our Nutrition Program does in the rural mountains of Honduras.

Links:

Mar 13, 2020

What a Beautiful Adventure It Is

Nely with 1st Place Winner Lucy
Nely with 1st Place Winner Lucy

What a beautiful adventure it is -- to take a seat and enjoy a wonderful enchanted journey. It is a feeling that can’t be described, a world that only your imagination can give you. Through a book, you can get into any world you want. This happened with the children of our bilingual school in Camasca through a reading contest.

Do not read by obligation, do it for fun, smile, live, love, enjoy it. Be aware! With every book you read, you are entering the mind of the person who wrote the book and wants to share their world with you. Begin to be like Lucy, a fifth-grade student in our bilingual school, who fell in love with reading and at the age of 11 years, has now read more than 50 books! – not common in a culture where reading is not a habit.

This project was the first of its kind and being in charge of it was a big challenge for me. It made me feel honored … I was trusted with the first annual Shoulder to Shoulder Reading Contest. We had to plan the project and decide on prizes. We decided to give a big prize to the student who had read the largest number of books.

At the very beginning of her adventure, Lucy’s goal was to win first place in the competition only because of what first place meant, but then it became a hobby and at the end of the contest she continued reading as she had been doing every day. What was really rewarded was her dedication and enthusiasm for reading. I don’t think that I will ever forget when Lucy told her teacher one day: “Miss Jessy, can you please call my dad? I need to tell him that I am staying after class to read.”

Although all the kids were wild about the reading contest, it seemed like it had the biggest impact in the fifth-grade classroom.  Students there read as much as they could: they went to read at recess, at lunch, at all times, they even got to school early and stayed later than usual. One of them was Noé. Even though he did not read the most, all his reports demonstrated how much he dove into the books. I was always excited to see the proof that he actually understood and comprehended what he read – much like Nohely’s and Keylin’s reports.

Limits exist only in your mind; the best prize that reading can give you is knowledge. But keep in mind that it is not a book that gives it to you, but your desire and inclination towards reading. Whether you read due to obligation, fun, a challenge, a goal or just out of curiosity, it takes you to a wonderful place.

Fifth Grade Winner Nohely
Fifth Grade Winner Nohely

Links:

 
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