Jovenes Juntos (Teens Together)

Educational Support

One of the specific needs of the children in Llanos del Pinal is support in their educational endeavors. As in many poorer communities, education is not a highly prized commodity by either the townspeople or the government. The public schools in Llanos accommodate over forty-five kids into a classroom with a teacher who is often under-trained and underpaid. Only about 15% of the population in Guatemala attends high school, and in rural areas such as Llanos, that number is far lower. Those who are fortunate enough to have the money for uniforms, transportation to the city, and other school supplies, may attend one of the private schools in Quetzaltenango once they enter the middle school grades. However, for many students entering their teens, formal education ends after primary school, at which time they begin to work with their families in the fields.

It is at this crucial, transitional age that Jovenes Juntos focuses its energies. The money that we receive will go to a variety of aspects in the lives of these teenagers. We are working to improve both the personal lives and the educational situations of each of the children. For example, we currently have a professional teacher who comes twice a week to provide remedial classes specifically for the “grandes”. Señora Rosalba gives classes on topics such as basic mathematic concepts and Spanish grammar and spelling, both of which are challenging to learn in the chaotic settings of the Llanos public schools. We hope to eventually be able to provide the children with a professional educator on a daily basis and expand our subject range to include weekly art classes.

While all of the children can benefit from the additional classes and homework help, we also want to focus on several other needs for each child on an individual basis. For example, many of the children are struggling with the absence of a father, as many of the men in Llanos work illegally in the United States. Alcoholism and domestic violence also plague many of our children’s families. With all of these issues in mind, we hope to be able to provide therapy for the families and children as it is needed. Beyond counseling, there are many other needs particular to each child that we will be able to address with your donations.

 

Group Activities

firestationtripOur weekly Group activities are aimed at broadening cultural awareness, enhancing leadership skills, and providing recreation. Activities have included salsa, swing dance, capoeria, trips to the zoo, reading at the library, museum trips, hiking, linguistic classes and much much more. These field trips offer the kids experiences they would normally never have,and most importantly they have a blast doing them!

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