Feb 2, 2016

Teen Mothers Continue Growing!

Bazaar Las Claras
Bazaar Las Claras

First of all, THANK YOU for your donations and on-going support for The Las Claras Program. Your actions have been key in establishing the program and getting settled in our home in Felipillo.

Six months ago, we started the project believing in the power of education and the effect that it would have on empowering teen moms. Now, these effects are noticeable: The girls have gained confidence in themselves, they have acquired entrepreneurial skills with which to work, and they’ve started to think about life aspirations.

Their favorite class is English. They not only learn in a fun environment with teacher Bertha, but are persistently encouraged to participate with confidence. She´s tough, but her methods are continuously molding to the girls needs. Whether it is through song, flash cards, dynamic participation, etc. Bertha keeps them on their toes, and strives to feed the thirst for knowledge in them.

Back in December, the girls received a workshop in makeup and etiquette, and were later celebrated on their first Mother´s Day. The event took place at Laduree, a beautiful locale in Panama City, and it included the presence of several of the greatest supporters of our cause. The celebration was filled with emotion, as the girls exchanged stories with everyone, and we all toasted for the future success in their lives.

For Christmas, the center was filled with activity. The girls received a workshop on making christmas cakes, cookies and gingerbread houses. Feeling empowered, many of the girls started a micro-business and sold these ítems to the public. They took orders, made schedules, and got to work. Every time a donor visited, and in every event that we had outside the center, they also made sure to have their products nearby.

Finally, we had our Christmas and End-of-the-Year party at the center in Felipillo. It was a fun day, in which we sang christmas carols, had a costume contest for the babies, and even awarded five of the girls for their hard work, discipline, and leadership skills. A few days later, the Ben Btesh group sponsored a Christmas party for the girls, and enjoyed a day filled with christmas spirit.

Nowadays, we are visiting different clinics near the area, so that we find the second group of 25 girls that will be welcomed into our program. It´s an exciting moment, to see the impact that this project can have and embark on an adventure with a new group in february. The first group will also keep on evolving, as it soon will start  with their GED courses and technical workshops on logistic management.

As you can see, we´ve come a long way during these past months. Still, the reality in our country is one that requires action: only during 2015, there were 10,975 registered cases of teen and child pregnancy. And this number keeps on increasing, as every teen mom will most likely have a second child during the next 24 months. Worst of all, 75% of these girls will abandon schools. They will lack a plan for the future, confidence to pursue their dreams, a job to support themselves and their babies, and will add numbers to the cycle of poverty that pervades their environment.

Once more, we thank you for your continuous support in this quest for a better quality of life for teen mothers and their children. Keep donating and invite others to join us in this quest with their donation.

More action still to come. Stay tuned!  

Future Entrepreneurs
Future Entrepreneurs
Mothers Day at Laduree
Mothers Day at Laduree
Costume Contest for the Little Ones
Costume Contest for the Little Ones
Gingerbread House and Cakes Made by Las Claras
Gingerbread House and Cakes Made by Las Claras
Celebrating Christmas!
Celebrating Christmas!
Nov 2, 2015

Teen mothers start dreaming BIG!

Centro Las Claras
Centro Las Claras

First, THANK YOU for your donations and on-going support for The Las Claras Program. Your ongoing support has been key in establishing the program and getting settled in our new home in Felipillo.

The program started 4 months ago, but it feels like years have passed because these teen mothers are completely transformed already.  Four months ago, their goal was to obtain their high school diploma and get a job. Today, they want to go to university and be top notch professionals. They are dreaming BIG and their perseverance and strong desire to get ahead inspires all of us every day because is that change in one’s LIFE PROYECT what we believe has transformative effects for their families and their communities.

Early August, the girls started their English classes and it has completely transformed them. Their teacher doesn´t only teaches them the ins and outs of the language, but teaches them to be confident and secure. It´s amazing how eager to learn these girls are and how confident and secure they feel. If this is what four months of one-on-one psychological support looks like, I can´t imagine what these girls will achieve when they graduate in 14 months.

These teen mothers are empowered and it´s reflected in their actions. From day one, they started learning arts and crafts aimed at providing them with basic skills they can use to produce items and generate some income. Up to date, they have learned to do so much that now they are using the skills learned to create innovative new products of their own. Gabriela, one of our most quiet participants, didn´t go on to make jewelry, cold porcelain sculptures or cup-cakes like she was taught at the Center. She used the techniques learned and this new found creative, innovative and entrepreneurial side to create unique handmade head-bands for girls. The innovation in this product is that the head-band has hand-made personalized cold porcelain faces designed by Gabriela. The only thing Gabriela needed was a little bit of guidance, support and encouragement to launch her micro-business, luckily she got that and more at the Center.

Their families are also seeing the change and benefiting from the program, as well. In September, we hosted the first FAMILY ENCOUNTER at the Center and it was a huge success. To us, it’s a perfect opportunity to see how the girls’ families feel about the program and to get a sense of the support they are giving these teen mothers in the process. At this encounter, we were able to see that and more. The impact these girls are having in their mothers and their sisters is amazing. They are already breaking the cycle of poverty, sharing with their family everything they have learned. It´s amazing to witness because the teen mothers come from other teen mothers and have young sisters and they are now advising and constantly reminding of the importance on an education: BREAKING THE CYCLE OF POVERTY.

Remember you already embarked in this journey, and it’s just the beginning!  Thank you for your continuous support in this quest for a better quality of life for teen mothers and their children. Keep donating and invite other to join us in this quest with their donation.

More action, still to come. Stay tuned!

One of Gabrielas head-bands
One of Gabrielas head-bands
Abigail wants to study graphic design
Abigail wants to study graphic design
Family Event
Family Event
Daylaras Family
Daylaras Family
Marlen
Marlen

Links:

Aug 3, 2015

The start of new beginnings for teen mothers

Elsa and her son
Elsa and her son

First, THANK YOU for your donations and on-going support for The Las Claras Program. We have been really busy these last couple of months because we LAUNCHED the program after months of planning and organizing.

The LAS CLARAS PROGRAM is now a reality! We launched the program with 25 teen mothers and their babies, JUNE 2015. It’s been amazing to finally start meeting these teens and their babies. Their sense of resilience, perseverance and life story have profoundly moved everyone, igniting us with positive energy to help them achieve those goals that will transform their lives and that of their children.

The girls receive classes in social abilities, life project and self-esteem from our psychologist. They also received one on one psychological therapy, relaxation classes, early childhood development classes, and quality health services from medical providers. All the teen mothers are now on a birth control plan and receive sexual health classes from one of our partners, as well.

It’s amazing the potential these girls have and how quickly they learn. From day one, we started arts and craft classes aimed at proving them with basic skills for the production of items they could sell to generate some income and for relaxation purposes.  The girls already started selling their products and are making a profit. They are also super creative and their decorative marshmallows are a hit.

We also started to fall in love with their babies. Our early childhood development coordinator started working with the mothers side by side, teaching them how to stimulate their babies and to take care of them. It’s amazing how the babies’ attitude and movements have changes since we started. Sofia is one of those hard to believe transformative stories. When she entered the program she will cry all day and will only stop crying when her mother will breastfeed her or carry her. Our early childhood coordinator then started to teach Maria, Sofia’s mother, the importance of placing Sofia on the floor and of opening her hands and massaging her constantly to help improve her muscle tone. Sofia is a new baby; we can’t believe she used to be the one that gave us the most trouble. It’s just the most rewarding to see these babies grow healthy and stimulated.

In August, the girls will start their English and Computer Science course and January 2016 their GED courses, along with technical course on logistic management.

Remember you already embarked in this journey, and it’s just the beginning!  Thank you for your continuous support in this quest for a better quality of life for teen mothers and their children. Keep donating and invite other to join us in this quest with their donation.

More action, still to come. Stay tuned!

Idalydis and Emir share a laugh
Idalydis and Emir share a laugh
Marshmallows Workshop
Marshmallows Workshop
Mariana, top seller
Mariana, top seller
Our lovely space designed for the babies
Our lovely space designed for the babies
Centro Las Claras
Centro Las Claras

Links:

 
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