Dear Mil Milagros Amigos-
Since our last update, Mil Milagros has welcomed a new staff member, taken board members and guests to visit our partner schools and communities, trained 14 mother volunteers to apply fluoride varnish to 525 children, launched weekly English classes for a group of 10 highly motivated teachers, and partnered with 459 mother and grandmother volunteers to provide a nourishing snack and/or lunch to 825 eager children each school day. We are thrilled to share our progress with you, the donors who help to make all of this possible for $1.00 per child per day
We are delighted to welcome Lucy Aj, our first full-time Nutrition and Hygiene Coordinator, Lucy, who is tri-lingual, is from Santa Lucia Utatlán, where three of our partner communities are located. She will be working with our mother and grandmother volunteers to continue to improve menu quality, cooking techniques, hygiene, and to help maintain excellent communication between Mil Milagros and our six partner communities. Lucy will also partner with teachers to implement the Healthy Schools program, which was developed by the Peace Corps and is endorsed by the Guatemalan Ministry of Education to promote healthy and hygienic environments in the schools.
Since it is important for children to be healthy and practice good hygiene habits, Mil Milagros takes oral health very seriously. Many of the children never had a toothbrush before Mil Milagros arrived in their schools and the oral health problems were severe. Earlier this year, Kathy Held, a professor from the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, came to Guatemala to teach MM staff and mother volunteers s how to apply fluoride varnish to the children’s teeth, protecting them against cavities and decay. In July, we received a generous donation of 600 Embrace fluoride applications from Pulpdent, a Boston-based worldwide distributor of dental products. Since then,we have trained 14 mother volunteers to apply the varnish at three “clinics” in our partner schools. After her son received the fluoride varnish, one mother said, “Thank you for doing this. Our children have never had anything like this and they need it.”
In, August we began English classes for a group of 10 teachers from Mil Milagros’s partner schools. Last year, we conducted focus groups with the teachers to ask them what areas they needed more support and training. The teachers asked for help teaching Englishas they are required to teach it twice a week and have no training in English. After spreading the word for several months that we were looking for anEnglish teacher, Evelyn Hurtado, a phenomenal educatorr at a local private school, told us that when she came to Guatemala from New Mexico last year, she had hoped to be to do teacher training with local educators. For Mil Milagros and our partner teachers, it was a perfect match. The teachers travel two to four hours round trip every Friday to learn English and new teachingtechniques. After the first class, one teacher commented, “I really like this class because she (Evelyn) is teaching us great strategies to use in the classroom.”
Mil Milagros continues to partner with amazing mother and grandmother volunteers in six communities to provide a healthy snack and/or lunch to 825 hungry children each school day. The mothers in our partner communities are true leaders. As oneight-year-old child in one of our partner schools said, “I’m so proud of my mom because she comes to the school to help make my lunch.” We, at Mil Milagros, couldn’t be prouder of our mother volunteerss and everything they do to ensure that their children graduate from sixth grade healthy, literate and prepared to continue their education.