All our latest stories and updates in the July Newsletter
All our latest stories and updates in the July Newsletter
All our latest stories and updates in the July Newsletter
Wow! I can’t not believe my time is already up in PASEO program. My name is Ali. I am a rising 3rd year clinical psychology doctoral student who participated in the PASEO program and worked with SKIP for 4 weeks this summer.
I was initially drawn to the program for a number of reasons. Personally and clinically, PASEO provided an opportunity to improve my Spanish to be able to conduct therapy and assessments with Spanish- speaking clients. While this is an ongoing goal of mine, it has been difficult to realize given the limited opportunities for Spanish-speaking training. As an incoming low/intermediate speaker, the opportunity to take Spanish classes increased my confidence in having the language tools to get the most out of an immersion experience. Supplementing such learning with an understanding of cultural competency and adapted evidence-based practice for Latino populations seemed like an integral piece to such training that was offered by PASEO. Further, the ability to learn and train in an immersive environment abroad seemed like a dream come true (cheesy, but true!). Lastly, the program also appealed to my research interests in global mental health providing not only seminars in the topic, but the chance to actually see mental health services abroad. Really only one of these reasons would have attracted me to the program, but having so many just compounded my excitement.
Amazingly, over my time working with SKIP and in the program, all my expectations were met and exceeded. I feel that I have a much stronger foundation in language skills that will be the starting point from which to continue my training and learning. General Spanish classes, those specific to psychology, immersion and exposure to the language all worked together to facilitate such a foundation. (I would write the next sentence in Spanish but don’t want to show off). Classes in cultural competency, global health, working with Latino youth and families, and working in low-resources settings enhanced my appreciation for the immersion experience, the field, the people, and the immense need. I felt that this all culminated to then being able to actually work and interact with youth and families in the area through service-learning. Teaching and working with the families themselves was invaluable. Being able to actually learn from the youth and families in the community with every interaction defined much of my experience in the program. (Also seeing the look on a child’s face when he or she does not understand you in Spanish is a quick way to really begin and try learning the language without embarrassment.) Further being able to observe and participate in groups and workshops for youth and mothers began to teach me how to use the language and clinical techniques specific to working in this community. For example, watching how the psychologist would introduce topics such as discipline strategies or suicide in a safe and effective manner was important to my clinical skill development.
While I think it should be obvious by now my feelings about this experience, there were two more aspects of PASEO and SKIP that shaped my time. That was working and learning in Peru and the people. Being in such a culturally rich, welcoming, and warm country I felt flooded by opportunities to learn from everything around me. The families at SKIP further embodied such openness and welcoming. Lastly, the people involved in the program (and outside the program) were wonderful. I left the program with a network of individuals who are all passionate about contributing to minimizing the need for mental health services for Latino youth and families. I believe that this network, along with continued supervision of my individualized goals through the program, will help me improve as a Spanish speaker, clinician, researcher and student. The amount I learned through the experiences in this program is hard to describe, but I feel very agradecido por it all. I hope to be back soon!!
“My little school” (Escuelita) was the name of the class for the 1 and 2 year olds. It took time for the children to adapt to their new experience in first grade of cycle 1. They got used to the routine such as not crying when they entered the classroom. The strategy was to be kind and give them confidence, and we did this by starting off the routine with toys, going outside to the playground to eat lunch in train formation, singing at the start of an activity and using movement activities with instruments and music, believing that they can enjoy growing up and their education without missing out on the opportunity to sing, play and share. This is the best recipe so that they form an excellent relationship with learning and means that they can learn in a fun way.
~ Ingrid Pereda Valdiviezo (SKIP Nursery Teacher)
The year began with a Holiday Club designed to occupy the free time of El Porvenir’s young people in a different and exciting way. We thought it would be good to repeat sandboarding, so we got back in touch with Wilson Ibáñez, the instructor in charge of this activity last year. He worked with us, providing us with the sandboards and his knowledge and experience as a teacher in schools, not to mention giving us the peace of mind of working with a professional sandboarder.
The instructor helped us from the start. He paid close attention to the safety of the children and the way they went about the activity. We sandboarded on Bolongo Hill in Alto Trujillo, a huge mountain of sand where the children could enjoy the sport once a week on a voluntary basis. It was a popular activity and the number of youngsters doing it gradually increased.
Wilson shared his know-how and helped us achieve our first runs down the hill. He showed us how to get the most out of sandboarding, how to improve our technique, and how not to get frustrated if we kept falling over. All in all, a healthy activity and an experience that everyone really enjoyed.
We asked one of the youngsters to write a short article about their experience of sandboarding, which you can read below.
~ Montse Garzon.
What do you think of sandboarding?
I think that it’s an enjoyable sport, which you can have fun doing. Sandboarding can help you to clear your mind. It’s a healthy sport that doesn’t hurt anyone and can be done by children and teenagers.
What is sandboarding?
It’s a sport that you do on sand using a board.
What’s your opinion of sandboarding?
I think that more young people in El Porvenir should know about it. Personally, I’d like it if there were events with sandboarding competitions. All the young people from El Porvenir could be invited to take part, and this would help to reduce the influence of gang culture.
How do you feel when you do sandboarding?
I felt relaxed, de-stressed and very happy doing the sport. When I started, I felt a little nervous and afraid, but when I started doing it, all that went away.
How do you think you could organise the events you mentioned earlier?
Working with the local government of El Porvenir, and the police, colleges and SKIP – all together they could make these events happen, for the benefit of the young people of El Porvenir.
~ Heidy Dayanne Valdiviezo Vasquez
All out latest stories, new and updates in the April newsletter
At the start of every year, during January and February to tie in with the students’ school holidays, we at SKIP run our Holiday Club.
Everything starts with the planning and organisation: timetables, groups, lists, teachers, activities, workshops, applications, jobs, etc. All in the name of creating a place and a time for fun, alternative leisure activities and meaningful learning.
A few weeks dedicated to continuing learning in a more active, practical and creative way, using the students’ holiday time so as to not lose the dynamic built up over the rest of the year, as well as promoting healthy leisure activities.
Appropriate ways to organise having been found and a lot of effort having been put into the planning, the fun can start.
At Primary, from Monday to Friday, two of the five days are dedicated to continuing to reinforce communication and maths skills with a fun component, and specific topics, mixing academia with magic: communication through history, colours, tastes and the flora and fauna of Latin America, or impossible riddles and tongue-twisters, or learning maths by way of experimentation, magic and science, or origami to teach geometry.
The teachers of these subjects led their groups with an effort, dedication, constant work and sincerest love that brought out the best in themselves as well as the students, perfectly managing the children’s behaviour and creating a truly magical and relaxed atmosphere every day.
English, as ever, was full of surprises, such as learning in English how to plant a seed and watch it grow, and added to the magic that drives these weeks. The energy and creativity of the teachers brought about truly fun activities and learning that held more meaning for the students.
Sport always figures among our activities and on this occasion we had a Brazilian volunteer on the team who organised treasure hunts, obstacle courses and impossible ball-passing challenges.
Art and recycling proved to be the best way to continue raising awareness among the children of El Porvenir. Robots, masks, collages… all planned and organised with the utmost care by the subject teachers to be as free as possible. It really was a space that allowed the children to create, imagine and express themselves freely, resulting in great works of art.
Music was taught alongside theatre and, largely thanks to the teachers’ effort, creativity and involvement , turned out to be one of the Holiday Club’s most powerful workshops. They learnt songs, keeping the rhythm with buckets, water bottles and other recycled materials that could be turned into musical instruments, acted and, throwing off any shyness, fully expressed themselves.
Another star of the Holiday Club was the subject Values, the SKIP psychologist, who, with the help of other psychology volunteers, ran workshops and activities to promote teamwork, respect towards others and conflict resolution through empathy and understanding rather than violence. Everyone enjoyed the videos and activities, and, of course, carried on learning to better themselves.
The swimming pool: water, games, sun, joy, excitement, splashing, delight. All with the end of offering our students a place of learning and play, through the greatest possible involvement and commitment from the volunteers.
All this was designed to be a party to say goodbye to the summer and to welcome in the new school year, with a special ‘see you’ to the primary class of 2014 going on to secondary school in 2015, who made such a huge effort over the whole year to reach their goals. Well done everyone! Carry on studying so hard and so well.
At the farewell party, we were able to enjoy 5 fun water games ending in a “water fight” between everyone, which the students had been waiting for since the moment they saw the first drop of water.
Every day made us laugh, rejoice, learn together, jump for joy, dance, hug, dream… Every day filled us with satisfaction, joy and even (we could just squeeze some more in) love.
A huge thanks to all the team that worked on the Holiday Club 2015: Megan, Alex, Rachel, Smile, Grace, Theo, Diego, Nadia, Loredana, Lori, Jake H., Jake S., Katarina, Brie, Jean Claire, Joy, Diego, Kerrie, Cheryl, Laura and David.
It’s been a pleasure to learn together!
Great work, team!
Another year, mission completed… fun and learning!
~ Vanessa Bellón, Primary Coordinator.
Click here to see more photos of the holiday club
At the SKIP Holiday Club, secondary students were given the opportunity to improve their English language skills through the exploration of cinema and filmmaking. Students watched English language films and discussed genres, storytelling and character development. Students then worked together to create their own films in English, including practicing techniques to better project their voice while on camera. One group used interview techniques and monologues to create a range of documentary shorts. The second group wrote, directed and starred in a horror/comedy short about zombies.
At the end of the holiday club students were given the opportunity to provide feedback on the unit of work, and have input into the focus of English classes at SKIP in the future.
Student feedback about the class was overwhelmingly positive:
100% of respondents said that the class was fun.
95% of respondents said that they would tell their friends to do this class if it was offered next year.
85% of respondents felt that because of the class they were more confident about speaking and reading English.
Here is some of what students had to say about what they learnt:
‘I learnt how to act in front of a camera alone and not to be scared’ ‘aprendí a desenvolverme sola en la película y no tener meido’
‘[I learnt] to speak better English and filming techniques’ ‘[aprendí] hablar mejor inglés y técnicas para grabar
‘[I learnt] how to create a film [and] how to speak English with fluency’. ‘[aprendí] como hacer una película [y] como hablar con inglés fluido’
Students’ favourite parts of the class included:
‘creating and developing a film [and] when we were painted as zombies’ ‘crear la película y desarrollarla [y] cuando pintaron a los zombies’
‘screaming when the zombies were chasing me’ ‘gritar cuando los zombis me perseguían’
‘the filming and when we had to shout very loud, more slowly and almost silently (whisper)’ ‘las grabaciones y cuando teníamos que gritas más fuerte, más despacio y casi silencio (bajo)’
‘being a zombie’ ‘ser zombie’
‘when we made our monologues’ ‘cuando hicimos nuestros monólogos’
Students provided a diverse range of responses when asked what they would like the focus of English classes at SKIP to be in the future, including: a focus on vocabulary and grammar; reading; conversational fluency; and more storytelling, filmmaking and exposure to English language media. We will use this feedback as with think about our future planning so we can continue providing fun and engaging lessons.
SKIP Director, Liz Wilson, has had an article published in an academic journal this month for a special Edition of the Journal of Worldwide Tourism and Hospitality Themes exploring “How and Why the Volunteer Tourism Experience Should be Improved?” Liz’s contribution entitled, “Finding the Win-Win: Providing supportive and enriching volunteer tourism experiences while promoting sustainable social change” explores issues around child protection and encourages practice improvements within the industry to better safeguard both volunteers and people they may be working with.
This week was a really busy one in SKIP but the kind that helps me feel connected with the work we are doing because we were giving out school supplies to all the families. Well, I say giving out, but actually these days the families choose the supplies themselves, we just provide a voucher for the stationery store, Copy Ventas, and they are able to select the things they need.
On the first morning, we were a little anxious about how things would go because last year there were huge delays and people had to wait for hours to get served. There were two of us working the line, giving out vouchers and generally making sure things were organised. Upon arrival, just before 8.30am, there was already a queue of over 20 families so we knew that the start was going to be a bit chaotic. As the first three families went to the open tills, we waited. And waited. As the minutes ticked by we started to feel a bit worried as it became clear this was going to be a very slow process. Memories of last year and the long delays began to creep into my mind and I started to doubt that we had learned enough to make the process efficient.
I realised that there was a bit of a discussion going on at one of the tills and I walked over, the shop assistant was saying, “No, sir, you have to go back to the line. No! You have to wait your turn…”
I leaned towards to the father to listen to what he was saying, he was very calm. As many of the fathers we work with are, he was a little unsure of himself and he laughed a bit in that way you do when someone is being kind of unreasonable to you and you feel powerless to do anything else. “Yes, I know,” he was saying, by this point I was guiding him away from the till so we could talk, he continued, “I want to know if you can give us a price list of the items we can choose, so we can prepare what we want to buy before we get to the till.”
And there it was, so simple, the reason why this was all taking so long and another reminder of how easy it is to disempower people even when you have the best intentions. Without prices, no one could prepare a list that added up to the amount that they had to spend, which meant they were taking twice as long at the till. I remembered my frustration and confusion about how long the shop assistants were taking at the tills last year, I hadn’t thought to consider how that process was working.
We printed lists of prices and set to work. For those who were able to work independently, they did the calculations themselves. For others, we worked with them to make the calculations and some families also needed help to decide what they wanted to buy. Time at the tills halved and then quartered.
In moments like these, I am reminded how hard it is to have empathy. How we forget to step out of our narrow perspective and look through someone else’s eyes. How difficult it is to understand the experience of any situation when you are not living it. Most of all, I am reminded to listen.
~ Liz Wilson, SKIP Director