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July 2012: Engaging Youth through Teaching and Tutoring

posted Jun 2, 2013, 5:58 AM by Henrik Mitsch
Dear friends of Building Dignity,

Greetings from Lomo de Corvina (Lima, Peru), where Building Dignity is working hard to address one of the area’s most pressing challenges: the lack of resources and support for students. 

In January, Building Dignity welcomed Ana María Mejía Huisa to the team as our Program Coordinator. In six short months, Ana María has helped expand our Community Education program and deepen the impact we have on the lives of young people. The Center for Development with Dignity is now open three days a week for one-on-one and small group tutorials and homework help. As Program Coordinator, Ana María welcomes each student to the Center as they arrive. She reviews the assignments they bring from school and pairs them with a volunteer tutor who helps them study. Students pore over Building Dignity’s growing collection of encyclopedias and reference books and delight in the opportunity to conduct research on one of the Center’s laptops.

Ana Maria Teaching

Book donationsLaptop donations

For Ana María, the goal of our tutoring program is broader than helping students complete their homework. The goal is also to cultivate good study skills and a love of learning. That’s why Ana María and Program Director Andrew Mueller invite students to stay at the Center after they’ve finished their homework to read a book or play board games that exercise math skills. Thanks to the energy of Building Dignity staff and volunteers, students often stay until the minute the Center must close for the evening! Approximately 50 students benefit from our tutoring program each week, and many of them attend on a regular basis.
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Building Dignity is grateful to the volunteers who make our Community Education initiatives possible. This month, we invited two of our former volunteers, Daniel and John, to share a bit about their experience in Lima. They write:

Dear friends of Building Dignity,

Our names are Daniel Franklin and John Boyce; we are both students from Canberra, Australia. Some months ago we completed a four-week volunteer stint in Villa El Salvador. During this time, we developed a relationship not only with Jesús, Martha and the family, but also with the community and its leaders.

As volunteers, we were able to establish a relationship with La Buena Esperanza, an elementary school in the community of Oasis. John and I were able to assist in English classes for all grades at this elementary school. Throughout our time at the school, the kids were enthusiastic and eager to learn, and took an interest in Australian culture.

Daniel and John with 5th graders

Throughout our stay, programs of sport (basketball and soccer) were organized every afternoon for children of the La Encantada community. The kids were always full of energy and keen to participate. We were amazed by the amount of talent that a number of kids displayed in soccer, with the both of us struggling to keep up with the frantic pace of the kids!!

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in La Encantada; we gained a unique insight into the life of Peruvians in Villa El Salvador, and more specifically the communities of La Encantada and Oasis. We are forever grateful for the opportunity provided to us by Emily and Paul, as well as the hospitality and love shown to us by Jesús, Martha and the family. We look forward to visiting the community in the not so distant future.

Building Dignity extends a heartfelt thanks to John and Daniel and the other volunteers who have contributed to our Community Education initiatives. We also wish to thank our friends and donors, whose generous support sustains our tutoring program, community education classes, and in-school support for students.  Finally, thanks to the members of Soulside Out for contributing to the photos used in this newsletter. 
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