Sep 17, 2015

Empowering youth as well as their families

Greta conducting a workshop with the parents
Greta conducting a workshop with the parents

We are excited to report on the great progress being made in Chajul, through the life-skills workshops component of our Youth Development Program, offered not only to our 60 scholars but also to their parents and families.Thanks to your support, Limitless Horizons Ixil is continuing to deepen the program’s impact in Chajul!

Our Peace Corps volunteer Greta and Program Assistant Cecilia have recently developed a number of workshops for the scholars, with themes including positive communication, bullying prevention, and gender equality. Greta noted that the youth were particularly engaged in the gender equality workshop and afterwards were able to identify concrete actions they would take to reduce gender inequality in their community! She also observed that the girls have become more confident in speaking up and participating in activities over the course of the year, which is a valuable sign of the workshops’ and the program’s success.

To see our youth become empowered leaders for Chajul, we believe it is crucial to involve their parents. In this community that suffered greatly from civil war, that lacks of economic and educational opportunities, and where many families live in trauma and poverty, parents often find it difficult to support their children not only economically but personally and emotionally as well. Because supporting youth and families personally, economically, and academically is important to Limitless Horizons Ixil’s approach, the selection process for scholars each year includes conversations with parents to ensure that the family is in support of their children’s education and open to being involved with our programs and workshops.

Recently, Greta and Program Manager Edilma have been conducting workshops with all the parents on positive communication and being a supportive parent. Through activities, role-playing games, and stories, the parents have explored aggressive communication, violence, and positive ways of interacting with their children. They were all very eager to participate and engaged in the activities, enjoying the dramatization of several situations such as with angry parents, with overprotective parents, and with supportive parents. We received positive, encouraging feedback from many of the parents who noted that they learned various ways to support their children’s personal and educational success. Other parent workshops include topics such as decision-making and domestic violence.

We have only been able to provide these recent workshops through your generous contributions and support. Limitless Horizons Ixil’s holistic work in building life skills among our scholars and their families is truly crucial to our mission and the success of Chajul’s budding leaders, and we are very grateful that you are a meaningful part of this work. Thanks to your continued support, we will be able to offer more valuable workshops to youth and families over the months to come!

A mother participating
A mother participating
Jul 22, 2015

Cecilia Jacinta shares her experience as a Saber Sin Limites library intern

Cecilia Jacinta at work
Cecilia Jacinta at work

“I started working in the Saber Sin Límites community library in March. Thanks to Limitless Horizons Ixil, I have the opportunity to work with the children and learn from the librarians. My experience has been so great so far! I learned about how to sort books—I did not know about that or how to do it before. For instance, each book has a different tag and they are classified in alphabetical order. I am very grateful to the librarians for teaching me so well and supporting me as I learn.

The library is great space for children and youth of Chajul. We have members from different ages and different schools, and they all come to the library for different reasons. The library is separated in three different areas—the children's area is dedicated to the members who are less than six years old, the research area is where older members can do research for their homework, and the study area is where students of all ages can study or read in a quiet space. I have learned that the library has specific rules and a way of functioning. The members greet the librarians when they come in, and they must be polite and respectful of other children and the books. The library members also wear color-coded tags to help them focus and respect the guidelines of the different library spaces and activities. They wear a green tag if they are going to the research area, a blue tag if they are going to read, and a red tag if they are going to draw—and this helps me and the others who work in the library to best support them in their chosen activity as well!

What I like the most about my internship at the library is that I have the opportunity to help children learn how to read and support them throughout their education. It is a great feeling to meet children who do not know how to read when they first come in the library and then to support and to see their reading skills progress thanks to our support and help.”

This is a first-hand account from one of the four Limitless Horizons Ixil high school graduates now participating in our pilot Internship and Training Initiative, translated by Léa Valenti, International Coordinator. Cecilia Jacinta is one of the two Saber Sin Límites library interns who are providing crucial support to the children and youth who rely on the library’s services, while she also gains professional mentorship and skill development for herself provided by Limitless Horizons Ixil staff. We are so proud to see how far Cecilia Jacinta has come since she first started as a middle school student with Limitless Horizons Ixil seven years ago, and to see how great a role model she is for the children and youth of Chajul!

Helping younger members how to read
Helping younger members how to read
Reading a book to a library member
Reading a book to a library member
Jun 22, 2015

Francisco, Esperanza, and Marlena's first semester as Limitless Horizons Ixil's scholars!

Marlena
Marlena

Thanks to your terrific support, we were able to welcome 18 new scholars at the start of the Guatemalan school year in January. And Francisco, Esperanza, and Marlena are three we’d like to highlight! Starting their first year of middle school at the San Gaspar Middle School has been a big change in the lives of the three adolescents, and they would like to thank you and share their impressions on this experience.


Marlena is 14 years old and started school when she was 8. Despite this delayed beginning in her elementary years, Marlena finished her primary studies with exceptional grades and never had to repeat a school year—which is especially notable in Chajul. She enjoys mathematics, and speaks three languages—Ixil, Quiché, and Spanish. Her Spanish literacy and writing skills have considerably improved since participating in our intensive Spanish course a few months ago, and she is very eager to learn. She says that her experience with Limitless Horizons Ixil so far is "great and I feel more comfortable in speaking Spanish. We receive a lot of support for our education and I am very grateful and happy. Without Limitless Horizons Ixil, I could have never gone to middle school. When I am older, I would like to be a secretary because I love to read and write."


Francisco is 13 and started school when he was 7 years old. Unlike many students in Chajul, he also never had to repeat a year of school. This is a testament to his dedication to his studies and the value his family places on education. He says he is very proud to be a Limitless Horizons Ixil scholar and so happy to be able to continue studying into middle school. He also feels lucky to have the support of his family. Francisco would like to be a music teacher, and has already started learning how to play the trumpet in his school band.


Esperanza is 12 years old and started school when she was 6. She is a very bright student. When asked about her experience as a Limitless Horizons Ixil scholar she says: "I really like being a scholar at Limitless Horizons Ixil because I love going to school, studying, and learning new things and I wouldn’t be able to do those things without this opportunity. I would like to be a teacher in Chajul so I can help the community."


These three bright youth have big aspirations for their futures and we could not be happier to have such enthusiastic students who so avidly participate in the weekly activities of our Youth Development Program. These opportunities include computer, Spanish, and tutoring classes, as well as workshops on themes like positive communication, bullying, and teamwork. Because most of the parents of our scholars do not speak or write Spanish, and have never been to school, getting support for their studies can be very challenging for the youth of Chajul outside of what our programs provide.


Community members in Chajul have great hope for their young generations to become positive role models and leaders, and our ability to support this community development is only possible thanks to generous donors like you. We at Limitless Horizons Ixil and the community of Chajul are so grateful for your support!


Thank you!

Esperanza
Esperanza
Francisco
Francisco
 
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