Jovenes Juntos (Teens Together)

About Us

What is Jovenes Juntos?

Jovenes Juntos is a small grassroots program that focuses on providing help and support for kids aged 9 to15 growing up in generations-old domestic violence, extreme poverty, and alcoholism. Jóvenes Juntos is run by volunteers and funded solely from tax deductible private donations. Currently, all of the 15 kids who make up Jóvenes Juntos are from poor agricultural communities 20 minutes south of the second largest city in Guatemala Quetzaltengo. Many of the fathers of these families are either working illegally in the U.S. or have abandoned the families all -together. Alcoholism and domestic violence are two other factors that have left many of these children in unstable family environments.

Each week the 15 kids of Jóvenes Juntos receive after school tutorial support, a paid academic reinforcement teacher twice a week, a counselor once a week for those in crisis situations, and engage in a group activity every Friday.

Future
The direction of Jóvenes Juntos is providing specific resources to the needs of each individual child. For example, some would benefit greatly from a weekly therapeutic program, while others would be successful with more educational reinforcement activities.  In addition, kids could attend different weekly activities depending on their personal interests.

As well as individual support, Jóvenes Juntos wants to make physical improvements to the after school program site where each member is currently spending at least 25 hours a week for 10 months of the year. We have currently made a partnership with Xelateco, a non-profit alternative energy engineering organization based in Quetzaltengo. Xelateco has agreed to build a concrete tower to hold a much needed spare water supply, install a rain water catchment and filtration system, construct a solar powered shower system and provide photovoltaic energy cells. We have agreed to pay for the materials and labor, while Xelateco has offered to provide and install the technology at no cost. This is very exciting as the after school site could become an incredible educational tool for alternative energy and environmental awareness! We have calculated the cost of materials and labor at $700 dollars

 

Individual Support Jóvenes Juntos believes in the importance of building strong relationships of trust with children who, through their hard life experiences, often find it difficult to form trusting relationships. We therefore invest significant time slowly developing these relationships, which then enable us to provide individual support, counseling and tutoring according to each child’s needs. We also link with local community organizations for additional support as needed.

Educational SupportAs well as giving individual extra-curricular tutoring, we have also this year purchased new desks, books, school supplies and have started raising funds to construct a small on site library, which will fulfill vital role in an area where only 7 percent of children attends high school. .

Group ActivitiesOur program of weekly group activities helps children to learn positive coping mechanisms, access peer support and develop social skills, as well as expanding the children’s knowledge, experience and skills base. Activities this year have included library visits, sex education and reproductive health, Earth Day clean-up and environmental education, salsa dancing, Capoeria, computer education, Mayan history and culture, talks on vocational opportunities, and self-defense, among many others. A photography session we ran uncovered so much latent talent that it ended up as an exhibition in a local café!

Family Support The program also provides family support according to individual needs. For example, one family needs financial support for things as basic as food and clothing for the oncoming winter, while another has greater needs financing the education of their nine children. .

 

 
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