One of the most exciting things about the work we've been able to do with Colegio Verbo in Veracruz is their desire to reach more deeply into the community to care not only for the children who come to the school but also for their families and for families who can't afford for their children to attend the school. The average Nicaraguan family in Veracruz earns on average $2/day. For most families their meager earnings means having to make difficult choices - like choosing between food or clothing, electricity or medicine. The Verbo staff invited a joint medical team from Crossroads Community Church (in Maryland), Cedar Run Community Church and Crossroads Restoration (both in Virginia) to hold a one-day clinic for the teachers and students at Colegio Verbo, the children living at Verbo's Casa Bernabe orphanage, and some of the poorest families in Veracruz. Colegio Verbo Directora Nolvia Morales was thrilled to be able to use the school as a site to serve so many families.
All total the medical team cared for 183 patients in one day! In addition to free clinical care the patients:
We are so grateful for all of the Verbo's staff's leadership and assistance and to the 20+ North American volunteers who made the clinic day possible!
On May 7 the students and faculty of Colegio Verbo in Veracruz celebrated "La Dia de la Directora" - day of the Director. Nolvia Morales, the directora or principal of the school, has served as principal for 4 years now and taught at the school for more than 10 years prior to taking the head position. "I love the teachers that God has provided us with at Colegio Verbo," says Nolvia. "They work so hard, earning less money than they would at a public school, because they genuinely care for each of these students and their families. It's a privilege to lead them." The children enjoyed putting on a special event to celebrate Nolvia complete with a slide show, dancing in native costume, speeches, and games. Gracias Senora Morales for all that you do!!
The teachers and staff at Colegio Verbo in Veracruz have been busy preparing for the beginning of a new school year (school runs February - November in Nicaragua). The staff had several in-service training days, landscaped the front drop-off area, painted and installed new signage, and moved new furniture in donated by Cedar Run Community Church! We're also excited to report that construction of the large open-air auditorium is nearly complete! The school staff has been using the auditorium during construction to hold school parties, music and drama festivals, and teacher training. We look forward to many school events and community outreach events including medical clinics, community dinners and carnivals, and much more to extend the reach of Colegio Verbo.
Education is a huge key to breaking the intergenerational transmission of poverty. While public schools are free the education and staffing is of such low and inconsistent quality that many families don't see the value in sending their children. Nationwide less than 30% of all children finish elementary school. Middle school and high school is simply a luxury for most families. Parents who choose Verbo are making a real sacrifice to invest in their childrens' preschool - 11th grade education, but they believe it is well worth it because of the much higher quality education and caring they receive from Christian teachers and administrators over what they would receive from the public school. We subsidize tuition for as many families as possible with the funds you invest to make education more accessible to poor families living outside the capital city of Nicaragua.
Would you consider a one-time beginning of the school year gift to continue the great work going on at Colegio Verbo? A gift of $25 will help provide a uniform for a student whose only reason for not enrolling may be not having funds for a uniform. The students and staff say Mil Gracias! (a thousand thank yous!)
Last month Colegio Verbo celebrated a wonderful year of academic success with several special graduation ceremonies. The I, II, and III levels enjoyed a fun-filled day of cap & gown, photos, gifts, a delicious lunch and then a pool party! While graduation ceremonies in past years have always taken place at the school in Veracruz this year the school staff wanted to make it a very special day for the children and the families. These graduations are a unique opportunity to bless and encourage the families who are often making a significant sacrifice to send their children to school. The kids are enjoying their "summer" break and will return in mid-February to begin another great year at Colegio Verbo!
It's been several weeks full of celebration at Colegio Verbo in Veracruz, Nicaragua! On September 15 the school participated in a grand parade full of musicians, traditional dance and costume, that wound through the town of Veracruz to celebrate Nicaragua's Independence Day, a day shared by Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala as well. The children attending Colegio Verbo practiced dancing and playing their instruments for several weeks before the day-long celebration.
Then on October 5 the primary school-age children (elementary school grades in the U.S.) took their final school exams and enjoyed a huge celebration with their families afterward at Verbo's team complex. The kids and their families joined in games, singing songs, several skits, a great meal and a pinata! Each of the children also received a box of gifts from Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child project; Verbo is a site coordinator for Operation Christmas Child in Nicaragua.
The secondary students are still in school and we look forward to our next celebration - high school graduation on December 16th. Please pray for the kids that they would end their school year well, that the teachers would feel greatly appreciated for all their hard work over the past year, and that the school would continue to receive the financial support it needs to make such a positive difference in the lives of these kids, families, and the community!
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