Help kids fight climate change with green building

by Long Way Home, Inc.
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Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
Help kids fight climate change with green building
ESD Curriculum Development Training
ESD Curriculum Development Training

The first quarter of 2022 has been busy in more ways than one. With so many things going on, it’s difficult to know where to begin!

Our Curriculum Development Committee have been hard at work, carrying out teacher training sessions twice a week. Our newly invigorated teachers will be imparting the revised ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) curriculum to more students than ever before. Student enrolment is at an all-time high, and as Hero School’s reputation has spread, families from further afield have enrolled their children with us. In fact, interest was so great this year that several grades reached full capacity long before the closing of the enrolment period.

Despite a turbulent few months which saw a hopeful loosening, but then sudden tightening of Covid restrictions, disruption to students’ learning finally look set to end, with the return to normal on-site teaching on the immediate horizon. To financially support the additional cost of teachers’ student home visits, we raised an incredible $1,558 through GlobalGiving’s ‘Little by Little’ April Matching Campaign. Thank you to all our donors that participated!

In preparation for students’ return to campus, the construction team has been hard at work fitting out recently finished classrooms. They have been bolstered by the arrival of many eager volunteers - we welcomed in the new year with more green building volunteers than since before the pandemic! This diverse set of international volunteers were joined in February by an enthusiastic American Gap Year (Carpe Diem) service group. They provided much needed manpower to begin construction of GBA 4. When completed, this two-story volunteer house will triple our capacity. Not only will we be able to house more service groups, but GBA 4 also offers Long Way Home new possibilities, such as hosting retreats and educational conferences.

In March, this Carpe Diem group also participated in the first Green Building Academy (GBA) since before the pandemic. This month-long intensive course was led by a new instructor - Rohan Guyot Sutherland, a lecturer at California State Polytechnic University and Founder and CEO of Regenerative Systems. A huge hit with all of our March GBA participants, Rohan will be returning in July for the next GBA – places of which are filling up fast. Follow this link to learn more:

Through the GBA, we seek to offer green design to the wider public through in-person education. While 47 individuals have so far received GBA instruction, this year saw us leap ahead in our goal to democratise online access to green design. We uploaded years of green construction content onto a new ‘Investigation Unit’ page of our website, making the renders, material lists (in three languages), and project specs of 70 green construction projects (and counting) available to the public free of charge. Sharing out innovative research in this way truly sets us apart as a thought leader in the green building world.

Matt was able to personally share some of what makes Long Way Home special through a carefully tailored ‘Impactful Travel’ tour visit in April. If you’re interested in coming down to Guatemala to see our work for yourself, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

 

Who said Teacher Training couldn't be fun!
Who said Teacher Training couldn't be fun!
Hands getting dirty during the March GBA
Hands getting dirty during the March GBA
Carpe Diem service group
Carpe Diem service group
Impactful Travel group at Iximche
Impactful Travel group at Iximche
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November Graduation Ceremony
November Graduation Ceremony

What a year it’s been! Despite the continuing disruptions of the pandemic, in November our third graduation high school graduation ceremony took place. We wish the best of luck to our five successful graduates as they move on to their next chapter! They join 21 others who are now pursuing a variety of careers in nursing, medicine, law, and computer science to name a few examples. In 2022, we aim to create an alumni network to organize various events and to track the progress of our former students.

2022 is also a very exciting moment for Hero School as we embark on a teacher training program to expand our curriculum from grades K-12. Through the expert guidance of the consultancy firm ‘E4 Education’, the curriculum will be enhanced to align with the UNESCO initiative Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

As our Hero School Director Werner Bal puts it, "It is important to develop our curriculum's focus on sustainable development within our local context. Traditional education has lost relevance; times are different, therefore, education must be different."

In preparation of this curriculum development, a new GlobalGiving Campaign – ‘Impact 150 lives through ESD education in Comalapa’ was created and promoted in a December matching campaign. The end of the year donations that we received in our two GlobalGiving campaigns will greatly benefit both our existing, and newly enrolled students. Despite continuing uncertainty around COVID, there has been increased interest in our model of education, as reflected in the high rate of 2022 student registrations.

The past few months have seen a degree of normalcy return to Long Way Home, as the majority of  staff are now living on site in Comalapa. In January, they will be joined by Matt, San (one of our college course students) and Casey (president of the Board of Directors) who will be assisting in the teacher training program.

The volunteer houses have also been a hive of activity with the arrival of numerous international volunteers and interns. In the fall, we welcomed two large volunteer service groups from the Gap Year company Carpe Diem. Their enthusiasm participation brought a great deal of positive energy to the construction site, and we look forward to the arrival of our next Carpe Diem group in February.

In November, Long Way Home participated in CNN’s Global environmental ‘Call to Earth Day’. With the invovlement of staff, interns, volunteers, Hero School teachers, students and parents, we carried out a massive plastic cleaning event in the neighbourhood surrounding the school. It was a wonderful moment for different members of the Long Way Home family to collaborate. Owing to its success, we will carry out another community clean-up in the near future.

There are many others exciting developments to look forward to in 2022. In March our Green Building Academy (GBA) will return after its COVID hiatus. The GBA is Long Way Home’s unique 4-week intensive course designed for individuals who wish to dive deep into green-building and design topics, as taught by expert instructors. Participants who join the Academy will contribute to our efforts to make healthy and resilient housing accessible to low-resourced and climate-stressed communities. On this issue, we have set our gaze beyond Comalapa. In Spring we anticipate the arrival of our first interns and volunteers to Long Way Home Livingston.

Thanks to everybody who made 2021 such a great year for Long Way Home! We know that with your continued support 2022 will be even better!

Carpe Diem Volunteer Group
Carpe Diem Volunteer Group
Call To Earth Day Clean Up
Call To Earth Day Clean Up
Call To Earth Day
Call To Earth Day
Long Way Home Livingston
Long Way Home Livingston

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Rubbish to Runway Banner
Rubbish to Runway Banner

Hello everyone, and happy September! Today we want to talk to you all about our fundraising event coming up September 12 (3 PM GMT / 5 PM EDT), Long Way Home's Rubbish to Runway! This is a virtual event, meaning you can join us from anywhere around the world!

The Rubbish to Runway originated in 2011 as a parallel endeavor to LWH’s mission of using recycled materials such as glass bottles, plastic ecobricks filled with trash, and earth-filled tires in building sustainable structures. Rubbish to Runway events have been held in North American cities such as Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, and Edmonton, Ontario and have raised over $150,000 for LWH since its beginning.

While navigating the recovery from the COVID-19 shutdowns, local employment remains a top priority. Your contribution to this event will help maintain the livelihoods of teachers and builders within San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala, ensuring that they are able to continue to provide for their families as we emerge from this pandemic.

This year we have set a goal of $10,000, can you help us reach it? 100% of money fundraised will go towards supporting our incredible teachers and administration who have worked and continue to work tirelessly to support their student's.

Tickets for the event are pay what you can, as we want to make the event as accessible as possible.

You can also support us by purchasing raffle tickets (10$) to enter a chance to win $1,000!

We hope to see you there, thank you for your continuous support for Long Way Home!

Event/ticket/raffle link: https://bit.ly/LWHR2R2021

Thank you for your support!
Thank you for your support!
Support our teachers!
Support our teachers!
Help support our teachers!
Help support our teachers!

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Dear Long Way Home community member,

2020 was incredibly challenging on our school staff and teachers due to the situation in Guatemala. They have shown how resilient they are, and it is reflected in how they have handled the current pandemic and the challenge of teaching kids and teenagers from very disadvantaged backgrounds. Teachers work hard to ensure a unique and quality education for our students. One of the biggest challenges they faced was how to continue delivering quality education when lots of students did not have access to devices nor internet to attend online classes. After a lot of community consultation and discussion amongst the staff, a decision was made to create a sort of blended method to continue teaching students in an individualized and personal manner as is done at our Hero School. 

Guatemala operates on a traffic color system, meaning as the colors of a traffic stop due in relation to rules for COVID-19. San Juan Comalapa has been in between orange and red for the past several months, and so the school made an executive decision to close down campus for the students and on an only necessary basis for teachers and administrative staff. This meant that as of February, classes have not taken place on campus. This meant that teachers had to come up with the best way to continue teaching.

Before deciding how to continue classes during a pandemic, students and their families were given a questionnaire to ask what would be their preferred method of teaching. There was an overwhelming amount of support for individual house visits from teachers, especially from the younger students whose parents are both usually working to support the household. Teachers then decided to implement bi-monthly house visits to students, alongside worksheets given every fifteen days to students during their house visit. This method has proven to be very effective, as both students and teachers really enjoy meeting in person and exchanging knowledge. These visits usually last between 2-3 hours, and takes each teacher various days to complete the grade they are teaching. In these visits teachers hand out guides that were structured by them to include studying material for two weeks. These guides also include materials needed, of which teachers are very mindful to not put anything very costly due to the majority of student's socio-economic situation. 

We hope that as the situation begins to get better we will be able to once again welcome students on campus. Until then, we continue to thank and be incredibly grateful for the entire educational team at Hero School for their above and beyond dedication to their students and the school. We are so incredibly fortunate to have them as part of the team. 

And we want to thank you for your continued support and/or donations towards LWH. It helps us continue to support our incredible teachers and staff in everything that they do. Thank you!

Students from 5th grade
Students from 5th grade
5th grade student and younger brother
5th grade student and younger brother
3rd grade student showing off a project
3rd grade student showing off a project
Student showing game that he made
Student showing game that he made
3rd grade student working on some homework
3rd grade student working on some homework

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Tech Donations
Tech Donations

1. Tech Donation Drive for Hero School

Our Development Director, Katie Larson, will arrive in Guatemala on Friday, February 12!! Thanks to our incredible supporters, she will bring some much-needed tech items to facilitate Hero School's remote learning efforts. Donations totaling $2,180 and consisting of laptops, tablets, and smartphones will help our teachers and administration team ensure a more consistent flow of instruction as they will once again take on the challenge of distance education during at least the first half of 2021.

 

2. Maximizing safety on our campus

Back in Comalapa, Hero School teachers are focused on finding the best practices for working with our students. And to create a safer environment for our entire Hero School community, specifically our students, our construction team will build and install a new front gate for the school! These types of projects are possible thanks to the monetary support of our donors. We want to thank you for not only continuing to allow us to create a progressive and inclusive educational environment, but also a safe one for all.

 

3. GivingTuesday 2020

For GivingTuesday 2020, which took place on December 1, the LWH team raised funds to begin construction of the Hero School Science Lab. This building will signify the completion of the original architectural plan that Matt and Adam envisioned for LWH fifteen years ago, and it will sit right on top of the Teachers' Lounge and next to the Cafeteria. Construction will be carried out in two simultaneous phases (Phase S and Phase B), from January 2021 to April 2021. 

Aware of the economic impact that COVID-19 has had on families around the world, and therefore doubtful of being able to raise the necessary funds for the project, we set our GivingTuesday goal at $10,000. However, thanks to the support of our generous donors, we managed to raise the incredible sum of $12,118.35, which thanks to our GlobalGiving partners who matched $4,063, became a mind-blowing total of $16,181.35. Not only did we exceed our goal, but we also did it in record time! Our donors truly have a heart of gold, and we are so grateful that they have chosen to be a part of this team.

 

4. Our wonderful interns!

We are delighted to have on our team, three interns who are (virtually) helping us with our Outreach and Grant Writing efforts.

Estefania, our Outreach intern is a Master's student from Brazil. She has been working alongside Sonia (Outreach Coordinator) to ensure we keep constant communication with donors like you. Estefania says, "I decided to join the LWH family because I'm a huge admirer of the work they've been doing over the years."

Koryna, our Grant Writing Intern is from San Francisco, CA, and has a degree in Biology. She is passionate about environmental and social justice which led her to join our team. She works alongside Katie (Nonprofit Development Director) to search and apply for grants to fund LWH projects. In her free time, Koryna enjoys birdwatching, making sourdough bread, and reading non-fiction books. 

Liz, our Grant Writing Intern studied Sociology and Psychology as an undergraduate student and is currently applying to graduate programs. She is a Virginia native who has had a lot of writing experience in previous jobs which has been helpful as she assists Katie to narrow down grant opportunities for LWH. Best of luck with your grad interviews!

If you are interested or know someone who is the perfect fit to become an intern with LWH, we accept interns on a rolling basis! You can learn more about current intern opportunities on our website. 

 

5. Kicking off our Ally Program

Our Hero School staff is preparing to meet the first group of Hero School Allies. During a first Zoom meeting, which will take place today, February 10, both staff and allies will discuss the work that is being done at the school, as well as the motivation behind this new effort to exchange culture and knowledge and debate on education matters. If you are interested in learning from our heroes about the tangible meanings of sustainable community development, please consider becoming an Ally to our Hero School! #BeAHero

 

6. Education at LWH: College Courses and the Green Building Academy (GBA)! 

Matt and Katie have started teaching the college courses for this Spring semester! Our first experience with our student, Asa, was more than we could have imagined. We are excited about all of what this new semester will bring. If you are interested in earning college credit* while supporting the work of LWH at an incredibly affordable rate, then make sure to check out our Certificate in Critical Pedagogy and Sustainability, a perfect way to gain an educational and pedagogical foundation in relation to sustainability. *Available for both undergraduate and graduate levels.

And finally, we are thrilled to announce that we are beginning to accept applications for our fifth Green Building Academy (GBA) in July 2021! The GBA is Long Way Home’s unique 4-week intensive course designed for individuals who wish to dive deep into green-building and design topics, as taught by expert instructors. Participants who join the Academy will contribute to our efforts to make healthy and resilient housing accessible to low-resourced and climate-stressed communities. Sign up here to attend the GBA and celebrate with us as we re-energize after a very tough year!

                                                                                                                Support our Heroes. Make a Difference!

The Science Lab construction area
The Science Lab construction area
Interns Estefania and Koryna
Interns Estefania and Koryna
Become an Ally to Our Hero School and #BeAHero
Become an Ally to Our Hero School and #BeAHero
Sign up for the July 2021 Green Building Academy!
Sign up for the July 2021 Green Building Academy!

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Organization Information

Long Way Home, Inc.

Location: Culpepper, VA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @lwhome_org
Project Leader:
Matt Paneitz
Executive Director
Culpepper, VA United States
$63,357 raised of $100,000 goal
 
1,148 donations
$36,643 to go
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