Dec 9, 2014

2014 in Review: Celebrating 10 Years of Growth with Many More to Come

Thanks to your generous support, we witnessed remarkable development in our Youth Development Program in 2014, with more students than ever graduating and more aspiring to higher education. We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your participation and share with you our results:

  • 100% of youth in their final year of high school and middle school graduated. This is in a community where only 11.5% of the community’s youth graduate from middle school and a mere 3% from high school.
  • We had a significantly higher number of high school graduates than ever before (and more than in all prior years combined) with 19 scholars graduating. Four of our girls graduated from middle school with excellent grades and will continue onto high school in 2015.
  • Of our 19 high school graduates, 100% aspire to continue on to university. Three have already been accepted into a university scholarship program, and a number are currently working on grant and college applications with LHI support.
  • We enrolled a total of 57 indigenous youth from Chajul in our Youth Development Program in 2014. Of the 57, 56 scholars passed their academic year in 2014. Just one student dropped out for health reasons; the student has since recovered and will be continuing with our program in 2015.
  • With the exception of one student, all of our scholars passed their grade. In fact, this year our middle school grade point averages were higher than ever before!
  • Aside from our high school graduates, 100% of our youth will move onto their next grade level in 2015 and will continue as LHI scholars.
  • We provided 9 workshops to youth and their parents on a wide range of topics including communication, sexism, health, hygiene, decision-making, self-esteem, and leadership.
  • Our scholars benefitted from 80 hours of computer classes, 60 hours of tutoring, and 80 hours of intensive Spanish language classes.Participants in our intensive Spanish course took a pre- and post-course exam to measure progress. Students improved their scores by an average of 20.2% after just four weeks!
  • Heading into 2015, we have one of our biggest incoming classes yet with 19 bright and ambitious young scholars starting middle school with LHI in the new year.

Our success rates in 2014 are attributed to our holistic approach that has been honed to ensure our scholars have the supports to overcome obstacles to education and develop into independent-minded and ambitious leaders in their community. We thank you for the pivotal role you have played in empowering and educating our scholars. 

After 10 years of progress, our programs are achieving incredible results. In 2015, we look forward to organizational growth and program expansion. We need your help now more than ever as we grow into 2015. Help us reach even more youth in Chajul, Guatemala. Please give this holiday season.

Best wishes and warm thanks  from all of us at Limitless Horizons Ixil.  Happy Holidays! 

The LHI rascals; our first year boys
The LHI rascals; our first year boys
Our youth celebrate Ixil culture
Our youth celebrate Ixil culture
Our second year girls
Our second year girls
Our new scholars!
Our new scholars!

Links:

Oct 29, 2014

Reading as an Adventure: Literary Landscapes and Winter Games

Opening a book and opening her world
Opening a book and opening her world

We’re nearing the end of the school year and vacation is around the corner. We are also moving into the winter months, and there is a nip in the air and fires are blazing. Winter vacation is an opportunity to take advantage of our library members’ free time to introduce our month-long Reading Adventures Literacy Programming. Thanks to your generous and crucial support, our library is able to cope with increasing numbers, and implement new and creative ways to encourage literacy and learning.

Reading Adventures started this week and will encourage students to read, develop their vocabulary, and improve their Spanish. It also offers our members a fun and social environment to spend the chilly winter months. The community of Chajul speak the unusual and beautiful language of Ixil. However, it is important that youth learn Spanish for schooling and employment opportunities. Our librarians are all bilingual (or trilingual) and engage students using Spanish and Ixil (and sometimes Quiché). 

Each Monday, the participants are separated by skill level and divided into three rooms with our three librarians. Groups of avid readers read aloud with help and instruction. The librarians have come up with innovative ways to engage library members and facilitate learning. At the ‘wall of words’, children stick new words they have learned under each letter of the alphabet. Our staff also employs animal sound games, dinámicas or ice-breakers, board games, and songs to create a fun and interactive learning environment. 

Tuesdays and Thursdays will be dedicated to this year’s vacation theme: music and dance. This theme will also incorporate creativity, art, and environmental awareness as library users will use recycled materials to create their own instruments.

Our musical menagerie of recycled instruments will include homemade drums, maracas, other makeshift percussion instruments, and flutes. Our multi-talented librarians will give classes to the students on singing, dancing, and instruments. Eduardo Rey, who plays guitar, drums, and flute, and featured prominently in the Independence Day marching band, will instruct the library members on how to play their instruments. Marilú will give classes on a range of different dances including merengue, salsa, bachata, and Zumba. David will be coaching our eager users in singing.

As always, Wednesday will continue with our ever-popular bilingual story hour. Each week per month we rotate different story hour themes: art, theatre, board games, and cultural story hour. Our library users are currently adding colour to a wall mural that depicts a delightful ‘world of books’ that was sketched by a recent volunteer (see pictures!).

This year has been one of growth and our vacation programming is a wonderful example of the services and activities we can provide with this organizational growth. Our three accomplished librarians bring different skills and strengths to the table, and provide individualized attention and support to even more children. Thank you for your continued support in creating a place of creativity and learning in Chajul! 

Literacy Landscapes: Our World of Books
Literacy Landscapes: Our World of Books
Our 'Wall of Words'
Our 'Wall of Words'
Literacy Support
Literacy Support
Reading Circle
Reading Circle

Links:

Sep 9, 2014

Brains and Ambition: Empowering the Youth of Chajul

Marcelia wants to attend university one day
Marcelia wants to attend university one day

While all of our scholars are bright and brilliant, three students have performed exceptionally well this year. Your backing and goodwill have given Angelica the resources to study math, have driven Marcelia’s ambition to attend university, and have shaped Regina into a leader and artist in her community.

Angelica is in her second year of middle school thanks to her Limitless Horizons Ixil scholarship. Her favorite subject is math and she loves learning new things. Angelica believes that her education is a resource that she will carry with her for her entire life, and a tool that will shape her into the person she wants to be. Angelica has seven siblings and neither of her parents received more than two years of formal education.

 “My parents are very proud of me for my studies since they never had the opportunity. They hope that my siblings and I will finish our education so that we can have better futures.”

Marcelia was deeply disappointed when her father told her that he would be unable to afford for her to study past elementary school. With six children to support, her parents lacked the resources to send them all through school. One day she heard about our Youth Development Program on the radio.

“I wanted to keep studying because I saw how my classmates were in school and I kept thinking ‘what am I going to do?’ I didn’t want to live a life of poverty.”

Marcelia was accepted into our program and is now in her third year of middle school. She passed her classes with flying colors this year and has the best grades in her group. She plans to graduate and find a job so that she can support herself through university.

Regina is an intelligent, assertive, and creative young woman in her final year of high school. She has proven herself to be a talented individual who excels as a leader and an artist. Regina writes poetry in her free time and hopes to study psychology in university after she graduates this year. She cites her curiosity and a thirst for learning as her motivation to keep moving forward with her education.

From Angelica, Marcelia, and Regina, thank you for your belief in our programs and their potential. Please continue to support the bold and brightest of Chajul—these young men and women who have the courage to envision a different future and the ambition to make that future a reality. 

Angelica is a math whiz!
Angelica is a math whiz!
Regina will graduate to a bright future this year!
Regina will graduate to a bright future this year!

Links:

 
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