Sep 24, 2020

COVID-19 Response & Relief

Jorgito working in his activity book at home
Jorgito working in his activity book at home

Rising Minds has always been focused on addressing community identified needs related to health and nutrition, employment, and sustainable agriculture. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the necessity of working alongside Guatemala’s most vulnerable populations to provide health workshops and educational materials, and combat food insecurity with the implementation of family and community gardens. The RM team has spent the last few months developing a COVID-19 Relief Action Plan to adapt our programming to address new community identified challenges due to today’s reality.  

As in-person classes were suspended in mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools switched to remote and distance learning.  Educators, students, parents, and care-givers all over the world are adapting to the reality and challenges of remote learning. Guatemala is no exception. Many families in rural Guatemala don’t have access to technology and the internet to participate in virtual classes, making it harder to stay up to date and engaged. Teachers are doing their best to accommodate varying circumstances, but with already limited resources, it is proving difficult to provide at home educational materials to all. We want to help address this need by providing at-home resources and materials to empower parents and caregivers to confidently teach and inspire children to learn. 

The Rising Minds Adventure Guide will encourage children and families to learn about health, wellness and the environment. With daily challenges, observations, prompts and activities, the Adventure Guide will facilitate engagement with important topics, often overlooked by traditional curriculum, related to disease prevention, nutrition, mental health, climate change, and environmental education and conservation. Curriculum developed for our In-School Health Training Initiative will find a home in the Adventure Guide and we will be able to engage both students and their families. Some example activities include making hand sanitizer, sanitizing household products, a teeth brushing challenge, following a recipe to make a healthy and nutritious meal, and daily meditation and yoga exercises. Our guide will be divided into weekly activities and challenges. We will schedule check-ins, all socially distanced and following safety protocols, to monitor the progress and completion of the activities and to provide necessary support to our partner families. We’re excited to roll out this at-home resource and activity guide and can’t wait to be back in action working to serve the children and families of San Juan La Laguna. 

Getting to know our body (pre-COVID, at school)
Getting to know our body (pre-COVID, at school)
My Marvelous Body
My Marvelous Body
May 27, 2020

Wash Those Hands!

Puzzle Time
Puzzle Time

This year is definitely off to an unexpected start! The school year started in mid-January and shortly after, Rising Minds began it’s weekly health trainings with our partner preschool, CEIBI. Like previous years, we kicked-off the 2020 training series with our disease prevention unit. We started by learning about the anatomy of the human body. Unfortunately, we were only able to host four trainings before programming was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In mid-March, as President Giammattei announced the first confirmed case in Guatemala, Rising Minds made the decision to suspend all programming in efforts to prioritize the health and safety of our staff and community partners. We are following all recommendations set by WHO, the Ministry of Health, and CDC, and are abiding by protocols and restrictions set by the Guatemalan Government.

Like everyone, we are doing our best to adjust to the “new normal.” We are spending this time working on curriculum development, so that if, and when, schools are back in session we can hit the ground running hosting workshops and trainings. We are also exploring ways in which we can provide information virtually and in the form of take home packets. It is more important than ever to spend time talking and teaching about  disease prevention. In Guatemala, the majority of common illnesses and infections are related to hygiene and can be prevented and controlled through appropriate personal hygiene practices. Regular hand-washing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. In addition to preventing common illnesses, these hygiene practices can help to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

These are some wild, uncertain, and trying times and we are doing our best to adapt, stay positive, be kind, and help those in need. 

Learning about the anatomy of the human body
Learning about the anatomy of the human body
Learning about the parts of the body
Learning about the parts of the body
Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes
Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes
Jan 29, 2020

We're Celebrating 10 Years on Lake Atitlan!

Students from our partner preschool
Students from our partner preschool

In 2006, Rising Minds became an official non-profit organization that works to empower locally committed, globally active leaders through the integration of education, awareness and action. In 2010, following five years of successful international partnerships and sustainable community development, in Jocotenango, Guatemala, Rising Minds moved its operations to Lake Atitlán, where many pockets of indigenous populations exist. Since moving to the lake, Rising Minds has been focused on combating community identified needs related to health and nutrition. Over the years, Rising Minds has implemented various health and nutrition initiatives and has hosted various types of trainings, from partnering with local schools to hosting community wide exposés, and workshops geared toward family health. Then, just over three years ago, the on-the-ground team was motivated to strengthen our community ties by developing partnerships with local schools to deliver weekly health trainings. After conducting in-depth interviews with school directors and local clinic staff, our initiative to Empower Indigenous Youth for a Healthy Future was born. Since 2017, Rising Minds has delivered 85 weekly trainings to our partner preschool, CEIBI. 

As we kick-off a new decade, we will implement new and improved programming for our In-School Health Training Initiative with our partner pre-school. We are starting the 2020 school year by learning about the anatomy of the human body to set the stage for the ways in which we need to care for it. Like previous years, we will design curriculum that aligns with our three overarching themes: disease prevention, nutrition, and mental health. Our first set of trainings will be focused on personal hygiene, helping to equip the kids with the knowledge and resources to prevent the spread of disease. In Guatemala, the majority of common illnesses and infections are related to hygiene and can be prevented and controlled through appropriate personal hygiene practices. Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. Check back in a few months to be updated on what the kids will learn during our disease prevention unit!

When do I need to wash my hands?
When do I need to wash my hands?
Learning about tooth anatomy for oral health unit!
Learning about tooth anatomy for oral health unit!
Learning about La Olla Familiar
Learning about La Olla Familiar
 
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