We have been having a really special couple of weeks as a call to participate in the project's selection process brought in far more teenagers than we could imagine. Although maybe we shouldn't be surprised as Higor Soares who worked in the project last year says "being a reading mediator was one of the best experiences I have had. It was unbelievable to arrive at the schools and to see the children all excited, whispering to each other 'today ACER is here, today ACER is here'. As all the teenagers in the community go to one of four schools, it is easy to see how word of mouth brings the candidates in.
As one of the candidates, Oseias tells us, "I want to be a mediator because this project is and opportunity for me to mature and will also be my first job" and goes on to say "the prime focus is on the children... it will certainly help them grow as many of them have lots of problems."
After a rigorous selcetion process we now have a group of 20 teenagers who are all local High School students and will dedicate 20 hours a week to being trained and delivering the project to 5,200 local elementary school children. As you can see from Oseias' statement for the teenagers this is an opportunity to get their first proper job and contribute to their households as well as contributing to their own development.
Stephanie, one of the teenagers, is really focussed on the training she is undergoing so that when she starts delivering the project in schools next week, she will be able to "encourage the children to read, which is most important, but also to help them participate because then the children will want to go to school more to learn in a fun way instead of missing school and hanging on the streets where terrible things happen."
We at ACER are all looking forward to next week when the project starts up in the schools.
Thank you all for your support.
Planning a Story Telling Session
Telling a Story with an Audience
Gaining Courage to Deliver to Children