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Posts Tagged ‘education’

A Good Start to the New School Year

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

Ready for A New School Year

By Kelly Shank –

Just one month ago, our children started a new school year. Once again the counters in our homes are lined with lunchboxes and book bags. Our kids are up early and headed to their various schools in bright, new uniforms. Unlike in the United States, the Guatemalan school year begins in January and ends in October.

A few months ago we gave you a sneak peek at our plans for the 2018 school year. Some of our children started new schools this year while others are experiencing the joy of seeing all their friends after a long break. Everyone is starting to settle into the new school year.

With 36 children headed to 5 different schools each day, keeping up with everyone’s homework and special activities is a full-time job. Luckily with we have 2 great teachers who help us stay on top of everyone’s school work.

Meet our Teachers:

Lucky

Our teacher, Lucky.Prior to becoming our teacher, Lucky was a Special Mother for 5 years. Working as a Special Mother gave her a unique perspective on our children. She helped them with homework, cared for them each day, and understood their unique emotional and intellectual needs.

When our teaching position opened up, Lucky knew she wanted to focus on helping all of our children through learning. Lucky believes that “teaching is not transferring knowledge, instead it’s creating possibilities for children to produce and build knowledge.” As she works with our children, Lucky focuses on helping them believe in themselves and overcome any obstacles they face in their school work.

Each year, Lucky works to improve her own teaching methods to best meet the needs of our children. She has completed courses in Montessori methods as well as those in human rights. Her goal is not only to help our children excel academically but to also prepare them for adulthood and raise them in a way that promotes their emotional well-being. She aims to reinforce the vision of our team—to raise children who become independent, strong, loved, prepared, and successful adults.

Yoselin

Yoselin is a teaching assistant at Dorie's Promise.Working with the children at Dorie’s Promise comes naturally to Yoselin. Not only does she love working with children, but her mother, Mirna, is also our staff nurse.

In 2017, Yoselin joined our staff to provide extra support for Lucky. During that first school year, she worked with the teachers of Mario and Joshua in their classrooms, providing an invaluable connection between their school and our home. Thanks to joint efforts of Yoselin and the teachers, our boys made good process in school. This year Yoselin is overseeing the school work of half our boys.

In addition to working at Dorie’s Promise, Yoselin attends college as an education major. We appreciate how she incorporates her studies into our home, adapting her classwork to each of children and watching them improve. Yoselin hopes our children become lifelong learners.

The 7 Keys to Learning in Our Home:

  1. Identify each child’s interests and help them explore these subjects to become active learners
  2. Encourage reading for all children
  3. Promote and reinforce healthy values
  4. Allow children to investigate and create through dynamic learning activities
  5. Offer stability and order at home to replicate school
  6. Teach self-disciple and responsibility
  7. Always offer positive reinforcement, unconditional love, and motivation to succeed

We want to thank Lucky and Yoselin for their dedication to our children.

New Schools in the New Year

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

Abraham C. does school work. He is one of the children attending a private school in Guatemala.

By Kelly Shank –

Several of our children attend the private Colegio Shaddai school.Last week we shared about the fun activities our kids are enjoying during their school vacation. As they are honing their soccer skills and learning new songs on the keyboard, Cecilia and Alejandra have been busy preparing for the new school year. In January, 36 of our children will be attending school.

Spread between five separate schools we will have children in grades ranging from Pre-K through high school.

Enrolling children in five different schools might seem like unnecessarily making life harder but offering individualized education is one of our core beliefs. The majority of our children will attend one of four private schools in Guatemala City: Colegio Hossana, Colegio Shaddai, Centro Educativo Verapaz, or Coeli. A few children, mainly those who are foster care placements and those who are newer or behind in their schooling, will attend our local public school. Once they are caught up academically and placed with us permanently we will determine if a different school best meets their needs.

These schools each offer a very unique opportunity for children. Centro Educativo Verapaz and Coeli offer specialized learning environments for our children who struggle with delays, need some extra help, or work best in a different type of classroom. Coeli is especially helpful to prepare older children because they offer classes that prepare kids for their future careers like culinary arts.

Coeli is especially helpful to prepare older children because they offer classes that prepare kids for their future careers like culinary arts.Colegio Hossana and Colegio Shaddai are amazing private schools where our children have flourished for years. Although they are academically challenging, our children are excelling in their programs. One of the biggest benefits is that our children are able to learn English which gives them a valuable skill for their future. We are lucky to have found schools who value each of our kids and partner with us to help them excel.

It’s been amazing over the last several years to watch the changes within our house. We have transitioned from a house full of cribs to a house full of backpacks. Five more of our children will be attending school for the very first time with us this year. Carlitos, Lucero, Carlos Emmanuel, Marco Antonio, and Marvin Omar are all very excited for the adventure of going to school. Alejandra says they are really excited to make new friends and learn new things like the older kids.

For some of our children, January will mean attending a new school. Four of our children will be attending Centro Educativo Verapaz this year because we believe it offers the best learning environment for each of them. Additionally, three of our children are transferring to Colegio Shaddai as well. For these children the transition may mean that school is a little bit more difficult than before. We like our children to be challenged in school so they can also celebrate the joy of achieving their goals. Each year we are amazed by the growth we see in our children’s education.

A teacher from Colegio ShaddaiThanks to the efforts of Lucky, our teacher, the children are well-prepared for the new school year. Even though our kids were enjoying the break from school, Lucky made sure they were still practicing their math, reading, writing, and English. They are ready to share everything they’ve learned and done over their break with their teachers and friends, including their new soccer moves and piano skills.

Providing the best possible educational experience for each of our children is a high priority for us. We truly believe that by investing in their education we are giving them the opportunity to become successful adults.

If you would like to invest in our children’s future by helping them receive a quality education, please consider becoming a monthly sponsor today or giving a one-time educational donation. Thank you for investing in our kids.

Trading Backpacks for Vacation Fun

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Trading Backpacks for Vacation Fun

By Kelly Shank –

School is out in Guatemala until January.While children in America are counting down the days till their winter break our kids are savoring their vacation from school. Most of our schools ended by the middle of October and won’t start again until the middle of January. Our home is full of excitement with all of our children out of school.

We’re all enjoying days that start a little later, special activities, and a break from homework. With everyone home, the Special Mothers have extra hands to help out during the day too.

This past school year was tough for some of our kids but we are so proud of how well they finished. (For a few of our children this was their first year in school so they are enjoying a well-deserved break after their hard work.)

Everyone at our home was ready for a little break at the end of the school year. We traded in lunchboxes and backpacks for later mornings and camp. With so many kids in our house over break we want to balance letting them have free time with making sure they have opportunities for fun activities too. We like to try out new activities during the summer before committing to lessons or teams during the school year.

Nayeli Soto is one of the children from Dorie's Promise who is in soccer camp during the school break.Lately our home has been filled with the sound of piano music. One of our mission teams this past summer generously donated an electric keyboard for our children and now 7 of our girls are learning to play the piano with the help of a local musician who visits our home. Music is helping these girls learn a new skill, have fun, and gain a new level of confidence in themselves. For some of our girls who struggled with school and other activities, playing the piano has been an activity where they finally felt successful. Alejandra has especially taken an interest in the piano and is learning quickly. Last summer the missions team played the piano and sang for our children. We’re hoping that our girls can play some songs and sing for the team when they return next summer.

While a few of the girls are discovering a new interest in the piano over break, all of the boys, along with Myra and Nallely Soto, are upping their soccer game by taking part in camp. Everyone who visits our home knows just how serious our children are about the game. If you’ve ever played soccer with them you also know that they don’t hold back either. Soccer is a big deal in Guatemala and it’s no different at Dorie’s Promise. Every summer we enroll our kids in soccer camp to help them improve their skills, have fun, and practice playing on a team. We especially love to watch the smaller boys learn new skills and show off when they get home. Visitors beware, they’re practicing hard to win the upcoming kids versus mission team soccer games.

With about one month left before school starts again we’re trying to have as much fun as possible with our children. Before we know it, we’ll be packing lunches and backpacks for another great school year. Until then, our home will be filled with piano music and soccer balls.

Watching Brayan Grow into Adulthood

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Brayan is turning 18 in January.

By Kelly Shank –

Brayan when he first arrived at Dorie's Promise

Brayan in 2007.

When Brayan was barely 3 years old he toddled into our home for the first time. It’s hard to believe that in just 2 short months he’ll turn 18 years old!

For Heather, our founder, Brayan is like one of her own children. Having spent several years living in Guatemala with her family during the opening of Dorie’s Promise, Heather has known Brayan since he first entered our home and her family’s memories include him as a little boy playing with her children.

Recent visitors to our home will recognize Brayan as the fun-loving young man who towers over the other boys. He’s also the one you will definitely want on your soccer team because he’s really good. If you’ve spent any amount of time with Brayan you can’t help but smile when you think about him because he’s one of the happiest children in our home, always smiling and his laugh is contagious. Plus, he’s always ready to help anyone whether that’s during community projects with teams, the maintenance men around our house, the Special Mothers, or the other children. He’s a really good kid we all love.

In the last year we’ve started to make a transition in our home.

Where our home was once filled with cribs and babies, now it’s full of video games, makeup, tweens and teens. Almost half of our children are 10 years old or older and many of them will be with us until they reach adulthood. So, just like Nayeli last year and Brayan this year, we’re carefully trying to help prepare each of them for their future.

Brayan in 2017 at Dorie's Promise.

Brayan in 2017

We are about to begin what may be the hardest work we’ve ever done—helping each child become a successful, independent adult. We have many ways to make this happen and great opportunities available for our children but we truly want to make the absolute best choice for each individual by balancing their desires, their unique talents, their struggles, and the resources available.

Although he will turn 18 this January, Brayan will be staying at Dorie’s Promise. He has another year of school left in his vocational training before he graduates. Giving him the benefit of a full education is a priority for us. Brayan is working hard in school because he wants to get a good job. Thanks to his schooling, he will have experience and training that gives him an edge in the workforce. Plus, there are more things he wants to learn this year, like photography. Alejandra, our Director, is hoping to enroll Brayan in photography classes to help him improve his skills and explore his career possibilities with local professionals.

Both Heather and Alejandra are committed to doing the very best for each of our children. The children of Dorie’s Promise are their children too and like any good mother they want to give them the best opportunity for success. For Brayan, right now that means finishing his last year of high school and taking classes that will prepare him for his future career. He might be a chef or a photographer, time will tell. No matter what, we’re committed to launching him well into adulthood.

School’s Out for Summer (in Guatemala)

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Dorie's Promise Director Alej, cheks in on children doing homework.

By Kelly Shank –

Let the fun begin and the homework end at Dorie’s Promise!

Nayeli Soto reading at her school El Shaddai.Summer vacation starts this week for most of our children and they are excited for later mornings and fun activities. Everyone at Dorie’s Promise is taking a much needed break this week. We had 30 children in 5 different schools this past year. That’s 30 lunches to pack each day, 30 children to get ready each morning, and a lot of time spent driving to drop-offs and pick-ups.

We’ll share more stories about the fun activities we have planned for them over the next few months but for now we want to brag about how great our children did in school.

Three of our boys graduated from Kindergarten. Elvis, Yire, and Abraham Najera spent the year working on their reading, writing, and math, when they weren’t running around playing soccer or tag. Our home had no shortage of colorful art projects either thanks to these boys. They are excited to join the bigger children in elementary school next January.

School is where Nayeli Soto shines. Ever since she was little Nayeli loved learning, even getting extra help on math from visitors when children others were outside playing. Her hard work paid off this year. She was recognized as one of the top students in her grade. We’re so proud of how hard she works in school.

Brayan took a cooking class at his vocational school.Our oldest child, Brayan, finishes school next month. His vocational school helped him discover skills that are both useful and enjoyable. Participating in the “Mini Chefs” program furthered his love of cooking and also gave him the opportunity to experience cooking in a restaurant environment. We were very proud to see his art work and sculpture included in an exhibition at the Rozas Botran Foundation as well.

Mario had the most difficulty transitioning to school. At the beginning of the school year he had trouble following directions, sharing with his classmates, and would cry because school was overwhelming. Working with both the Special Mothers and his school, he was able to move him into a different program that accommodates his challenges but still allows him learn. We’re grateful that he attends a school where he can learn, despite his challenges.

Second grade was tough for Juanita and Monica at the beginning of the year. Both girls struggled with reading and writing, making their classwork difficult. Thanks to the Special Mothers and our teacher the girls received extra help at home on these two subjects. As they became more comfortable reading and writing their self-confidence grew. By the end of the school year the girls became avid readers who now enjoy looking for new books to read on their own. Reading has unlocked their confidence and excitement for school.

Summerr break has started for the kids of Dorie's Promise.Some of the biggest successes we watched came from Myra, Cristina, and Manuel. These three came to our home after the fire at the Virgen de la Asuncion orphanage. We didn’t transition them into school until May but the success they experienced is phenomenal. Manuel and Cristina are learning to read and Myra is excited for the chance to attend school. Seeing how grateful they were for the opportunity to attend school reminds us just how important education is.

Education gives our children the ability to dream.

Thanks to the support of faithful donors, our children were able to achieve their goals in great schools. Early morning wake-up calls, packing 30 lunches each morning, and spending hours driving between schools is worth the effort as we watch our children thrive as individuals.

We’re committed to providing high quality, individualized education for our children again next year. If you would like to support the education of our children, please make a one-time education donation today or consider becoming a monthly sponsor.

6 Months After the Fire… Moving Forward On Faith

Friday, October 20th, 2017

The three children from Virgen de la Asuncion who now live at Dorie's Promise.

By Heather Radu –

Myra is now thriving at Dorie's PromiseSix months ago the news rang out across the world that an orphanage in Guatemala had burned to the ground and children had died. 

After the fire, our team immediately knew that we wanted to help in any way possible.  We did many things like send food, water, and blankets to help the children there in need.

The best thing our team did was accept several children into our home.

We didn’t really have the space or the budget to accept them but we took them anyway moving forward on faith knowing it was the right action to take.

Each child that came to us faced different challenges because of their individual background and the conditions that they had lived in previously.  The government orphanage was a large facility that housed hundreds of children and the caregivers weren’t able to give the level of individual care that we would expect in our home.  The ensuing investigation brought to light a history of abuse, mistreatment, and neglect resulting in several people being charged with various offenses related to the facility and fire.

Moving from those conditions to our home after such a traumatic event has been difficult for the children, but we are happy to share six months later, we are seeing great progress.

Cecilia, our staff psychologist, shared with me some of the growth that she has seen in these children.  I want to share that with you and ask for your continued help to take care of them.

Manuel and one of the Special Mother's enjoy a game of UNO at Dorie's Promise.Christina was scared, Myra was skeptical, Manuel needed extra care. It was not easy for them to learn to trust again, but because of the patient loving care of our staff the children have opened up. They are engaging with others, trusting again, and dreaming again.

We are so thankful for the opportunity to impact these children and help them thrive after experiencing such a great trauma and loss.

Now it is time to take the next step and get them enrolled in school!

Please stand with me and consider a special gift to help make sure that each and every one of our children receives the education they need to learn and mature.

The average cost of sending a child to a private school in Guatemala is $1,700 per year. That’s just about $142 a month — which covers everything they need; tuition, books, uniforms, after-school activities, tutoring, supplies, and transportation. We’d like to raise $25,500 before December 31. 

Give Today!

 

P.S. Thanks to you Myra, Manuel, and Christina are thriving.  Let’s help them take the next step in their care and make sure they get the best education we can give them in Guatemala City.

What Nayeli Teaches Us about Success

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Nayeli (or Nalleli) and Dorie's Promise director Alej.

By Kelly Shank –

Nayeli’s made the transition to the US, found a great group of friends, and is doing well.Last year we reached a milestone at Dorie’s Promise. Our oldest child, Nayeli, completed her schooling in Guatemala and transferred to a private school in the United States.

Watching her over the last year has been exciting. She’s made the transition to the US, found a great group of friends, and is doing well.

After only one semester at her new school she was able to transfer to a local community college to begin her college career full-time. Nayeli’s college success comes as no surprise to those who know her well. She is one of the brightest, most determined young women we have ever met. While living in our home she was a natural leader to the younger children, a diligent student, someone the staff could rely on, and a valuable resource for visiting teams.

What we hadn’t realized until recently is that the success of Dorie’s Promise will really be measured by our ability to raise children who can live what we would consider regular lives and become fully themselves.

Nayeli taught us, without even knowing it, what lies in the heart of our children—the desire for us to see them as individuals, not focusing only on their story. Like each of us, our children carry a personal story that has shaped them and we work diligently to help them heal from their past hurts. Nayeli has transcended her story and become a confident young woman who owns her future. Our ultimate goal is to allow our children to become the best version of themselves.

We’ve succeeded in raising a young woman who feels confident in her abilities and is taking this opportunity to become herself.Nayeli’s story is successful because she is pursuing her college degree in a field that interests her. She is creating a life filled with family and friends, just like each of us. She persevered through her first semester, adapted to life in the US, and became more comfortable with speaking English full-time. Listening to her tell about how much she enjoys the variety of classes she’s taking is refreshing. Even her uncertainty when asked about what she wants to do after college is encouraging.

We’ve succeeded in raising a young woman who feels confident in her abilities and is taking this opportunity to become herself.

The future of Dorie’s Promise is already impacted by Nayeli’s success as she anticipates returning to Guatemala to mentor our older children as they prepare to graduate and move into the next phase of their lives. Her experience gives them an example of the opportunities available when they face their fears and chase after their goals.

We’re grateful that Nayeli has been so influential to everything we do at Dorie’s Promise and can’t wait to see what her future holds!

Homeschooling Success Stories

Monday, August 14th, 2017

The backpacks of children from Dorie's Promise and neatly lined up and ready to go.

By Kelly Shank –

Dorie's Promise teacher Lucky gets some papers ready.For many of us August signals the end of summer vacation and beginning of a new school year. We’re busy scoping out back-to-school sales, shuttling kids to sports practices, and attending back-to-school nights as we ease back into our routines. We don’t question whether our children will attend school, just maybe which school is the best fit for them.

Education is a great equalizer but when children are born into generational poverty they lack access to this gift.

Often children entering Dorie’s Promise, and those in communities where we serve, lack opportunities for quality education. Education can be a luxury because survival is the priority.

Did your family ever move when you were a child? Do you remember walking into your new school on the first day, unsure about where to go and not yet having met your new group of friends?

Now imagine this same situation but you’re 7 years old and you’re entering school for the first time ever. No preschool, no kindergarten, no formal schooling. Earlier this year we welcomed Cristina into our home after the horrific fire at the Virgen de Ascunsion orphanage. Based on her age, she should be well into elementary school by our standards, but this bright young girl has never attended school before. The mix of an unstable home and eventual transfer to a large government orphanage caused her to miss out on her education. She wasn’t just behind in school, she had never been exposed to school before.

Earlier this year we welcomed Cristina into our home after the horrific fire at the Virgen de Ascunsion orphanage.

Christina

We are starting at the beginning to help her catch up on her studies and she is excited to experience school for the first time.

Cristina isn’t our first child who has needed special help with school. For some of the poorest in Guatemala, their childhood revolves around picking vegetables or selling trinkets on the streets of Guatemala City to help support their families. Many years ago we opened our home to a beautiful young woman who had been working to help care for her four younger siblings. We knew that she was full of potential and wanted to learn but school would not be easy for her. Instead of Spanish, her native language was one of the local dialects which made learning in a traditional school and communicating within our home difficult. Overcoming this obstacle was key to her future school success.

Both of these girls are bright and filled with promise, our job is to help them be successful. Thanks to our teacher at Dorie’s Promise and the efforts of the Special Mothers in our home, both of these young ladies have made huge strides. The young woman who came to us many years ago made tremendous gains during the years she lived with us.

At Dorie's Promise children get education to match their needs.After being homeschooled she was able to attend a local vocational school that offered her the chance for a good job. The girl who struggled to speak Spanish eventually went on to surprise us by learning conversational English. We are thankful for our dedicated teacher and Special Mothers who spent countless hours helping these girls so that they could make up for many lost school years.

These are just two examples of the difficulties our children face. Identifying the struggles and strengths of each child in our home is key to helping them succeed! We give our children opportunities to be adults who can break the cycle of generational poverty and become the next generation of leaders.

Last Chance to Give for 2016

Friday, December 30th, 2016

A BIg smile from one of the children at Dorie's Promise GuatemalaPlease consider a special gift to help us end 2016 strong. Your gift will help us make sure that we are able to send the children of Dorie’s Promise to the schools best fitted to their individual needs and learning abilities.

The average cost of sending a child to a private school in Guatemala is $142 a month, or $1,700 per year — which covers tuition, books, uniforms, after-school activities, tutoring, supplies, and transportation. Everything they need to be successful.

We invite you to help us give our children this exceptional education, a chance most orphaned children will never have, through your kind giving. Maybe you could give a gift of $1,000 or $500. Maybe that’s too much. Maybe you are better able to give a gift of $50 or $100. Please give today, before the year is out.

Thank you for making a real difference in the lives of our children!

Ana’s School Breakthrough!

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Ana is in the fourth grade.By Heather Radu –

A beaming Ana at her school, Shaddai.Last week I gave you updates on Nayeli and Brayan (if you missed it, read that post here.) I’d really like you to know about Ana too. Because of your help, we have been able to get Ana into a wonderful Christian school called Shaddai. She is in the fourth grade. When she came to us 7 years ago, she was behind in her schooling. We worked with her, of course, but always knew her math skills were lagging.

This year she’s had a breakthrough! Her teacher has been spending extra time with her on math. Ana has been getting regular tutoring on the subject … and you know what? She was recently selected to represent the school in a math competition!

She did well and proved to herself that it just takes extra effort to get ahead and do well in school. What a great life lesson!

Alej says that Ana is now talking about attending college and becoming a doctor someday!

Ana had a breakthrough in school this year.Stories like Ana’s, of lives that being changed at Dorie’s Promise, are an every day occurrence. They are stories of lives being changed because of you, your heart, and your giving.

We need to raise about $30,000 to secure schooling for our children before their school year begins in January. Please pray about it. Whatever God lays on your heart to contribute, I want to urge you to give it today.

When you give, I want to do something really special for you. I’ve been thinking about what would be nice to do that would connect you with the work of education. If you can send a gift of $100 or more, I want to send you one of our children’s report cards with a note from them saying thank you. My hope is you will keep it close by — on the fridge or in your office or in your Bible — somewhere it will remind you of the important work you are doing in Guatemala to help the orphans at Dorie’s Promise grow and thrive.

Let me hear from you soon. We are making plans for schooling for each of our children as you read this. Please Give Today.