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Summer Psychology Workshops

Values and social competencies are essential to a person’s success in their personal and professional lives. For this reason, SKIP focuses on providing quality education to prepare children for their futures and offers psychology workshops to all children attending the primary education program.  The workshops started at the end of 2015 and topics were chosen based on the needs of the identified service users. The first set of workshops introduced topics regarding communication skills, self-awareness and identifying emotions, as well as anger management and impulse control.  During the second set of workshops held as part of Holiday Club (the programme we run during the school summer holidays), SKIP offered intensive courses with two topics per week which addressed teamwork, empathy and anti-bullying training, enhancing active listening skills and encouraging peaceful conflict resolution.

The third set of trainings are running for 6 weeks during June and July. This time, Elizabeth Burnett, who is earning her Masters in Social Work at Miami University in Ohio, and serves as a Social Work volunteer at SKIP, joined Hanna Voelkl, SKIP’s Social work, Psychology and International Development Course (SWIDP) Facilitator, in the planning and implementation of the workshops. In constant communication and collaborating with SKIP staff members of the Social Work and Psychology Programmes, the quality work to the children has been ensured.

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The topics chosen for the current workshops are self-esteem, social responsibility, gender roles and equality, as well as a second anti-bullying training, as bullying is a continuous recurring challenge worldwide for children of all ages. These workshops have been implemented based on the principle of learning by doing and playing and using interactive methods like games, creative arts, videos, storytelling and role play. With the use of these methods, the children have been able to absorb and use the acquired knowledge and also had fun!

There have been several highlights thus far during trainings but one in particular was during the self-esteem workshops. By using crafts and art, children created trees, flowers, and shields of arms which included drawings or kind words in regards to themselves, encouraging them to recognize their personal qualities, talents and skills sets they all individually carry. At the end of each self-esteem workshop students lined up one by one. Elizabeth had a blanket over a mirror and said, “there is something very special and beautiful beneath this blanket”. The students would inquire with curiosity about what was underneath this blanket. As the children patiently waited to see what was underneath the blanket, they soon realized, as the blanket was being pulled up, that special “something” or “someone” that was being referred to was themselves.  When Elizabeth saw the children looking at themselves in the mirror she would say the word “You! That special person is YOU”!  Each child, no matter how young or how old, was able to receive this message with a large smile upon their face. To say the least, it was a success and very inspiring!

Elizabeth Burnett and Hanna Voelkl

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Volunteer Blog – Shabeena’s story!

I have been back home in the UK for 2 weeks now. It has taken me 2 whole weeks and I still have not managed to process my entire experience at SKIP and how it has overwhelmingly exceeded all my expectations

Going abroad to volunteer and teach primary children English had been a dream of mine for the last decade so the hopes that the experience and the charity could live up to a life achieving dream was almost impossible in my mind.

 

SKIP – THE ORGANISATION

In a world where making a decision on where to volunteer, includes seriously avoiding the volunteer tourism traps that are out there and ensuring that where you spend your time, money and emotions are on a charity where you can make a true, positive impact on those receiving the services as well as helping you to grow, learn and develop areas of yourself is so important and difficult to make.

Shabeena kids

With SKIP’s focus on the whole family receiving services such as welfare psychology, economic development and education as well as the contribution fees being paid in the Peruvian currency; proving that all money is spent within the country shows 2 major differentiators from all the research I had previously done with other volunteer organizations. The 3rd differentiator is when you land and see your weekly timetable – it is clear – you are there to work hard and make an impact.

The education of the families include Economic Development and Microcredits, where the mothers of SKIP use their skills to make items to then be sold in local coffee shops and markets, with the profits going back to the mama’s. Microcredits are issued in order to help families achieve a better living standard or profiting their businesses.

And then of course there are the children…. In my case primary children, all bundles of energy… admittedly not always to the benefit of the English lesson. I am sure that these little beings have taught me more about myself and challenged me more than I them. Where language is a barrier and their energy endless (and their ability to use a human as a climbing frame… a very unique talent), together we created what I can only describe as our own ways and language to learn….me correcting their English, them correcting my Spanish and together learning the most important thing – respect and kindness for each other, our differences and similarities.

I’m not going to lie, there are lessons you jump with excitement that you achieved your lesson plan! Then there are days where you feel you did not achieve teaching the children a single word…. not even just one… but then you are reminded from the rest of the very dedicated team around you – sometimes it is not just about being able to teach the children “It is 8’Oclock in the morning” or “I brush my teeth in the morning”, it is the experience, the attention, the care, the other social and cultural exchanges you give the children which are almost a bigger lesson than what you initially intended to teach.

 

SKIP – THE FAMILY

Shabeena group

When I got on that plane and travelled 22 hours (3 flights!), I did not think I would be flying to a place where I was to meet my family away from home. The volunteers are passionate about SKIP but the volunteer coordinators are a true foundation and the core of SKIP. They are dedicated like no other. Working around the clock to ensure that the running of the organization continues as smooth as possible – looking after me when I was sick, making me ginger tea to clear my itchy throat, going over my lesson plan so I was confident around the kids, being true mentors and inspiring leaders and making the SKIP volunteer house a home. The bonds created and shared was not anything I had imagined to be part of this experience and I am so happy that I chose SKIP and met what I truly consider my second family – there to challenge and inspire me in all I did during my time there. I have carried the lessons I have learnt from the people at SKIP and the children in my heart.

I would urge anyone to go and challenge yourself and be challenged with the support of this incredible SKIP family.

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Celebrating Mother’s Day in SKIP

On the 14th of May we had a celebration in SKIP for Mother’s Day. For this special day the organisation decided to arrange a trip just for them and this time they visited the beach in Huanchaco where they had a great day full of happiness and fun.

Arrangements were down to the Social Work Programme who were able to obtain two buses, loaned by the University UCV, for a free ride to the beach. As well as the games that we played at the beach, there was also a special lunch in a restaurant in Huanchaco.

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The buses arrived at 10am and all 60 mothers piled onboard. We left at 10.30am with all the mothers super excited for the trip, for a number of them it was the first time they were going to see the sea.

Arriving at the beach they were excited and got off the bus to run and see the sea, a great spectacle, their happiness reflected in their faces as well as the surprise of being there for the first time. Some of the women entered into the water to catch crabs, while others lay in the sand to soak up the sun.

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We started the journey armed with equipment for volleyball and ran a small championship, everyone was really enthusiastic to get their teams together and give everything on the court with words of encouragement they would spur each other on. When the mothers who were not playing encouraged their favourite team it would lift their spirits and at the end of every game we had a winning team!

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After the adrenaline of the volleyball game, came the moment to relax and enjoy the energy from nature. Hilda ran a yoga session for the mothers and as they are always keen to get involved, the women followed all of her instructions. The yoga was a really rewarding and somewhat healing experience and many women commented that they felt better, more relaxed and free after the exercises.

After this we went on a beautiful walk to enjoy the landscape of Huanchaquero together, socialising and walking on the seashore, enjoying the breeze and sun and sea until it was time to eat! We headed to a restaurant where they were waiting with open arms and tables ready.13173623_585857851577939_8499673377319456677_n

The lunch was delicious and best of all the mothers were happy, having fun, talking and eating really tasty food. After a day full of fun and excitement we couldn’t forget the dancing and we all went over to the dance floor together and with great fanfare we moved to the beat of the music with jokes and applause for everyone.

The day ended when we arrived back at SKIP, the faces of each of the mothers was unforgettable as they were so full of happiness and appreciation, the goodbyes with hugs and promises that we would do this again was the best ending of all. It was a great day!

~ Cynthia Méndez Castañeda

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Updates from Holiday Club 2016

Club Vacacional is an extremely exciting period in the SKIP calendar. Our students have a long break from school during the Peruvian summer months and during this time they are often playing in the street or working with their families. Holiday Club is a six-week elective programme designed to provide a safe environment for the SKIP kids to play, love and learn together. The Primary students attend classes at the community centre four times a week during Holiday Club, and the Secondary students twice weekly. Alongside communicacíon (language and literature), maths and foreign language English classes, the students can participate in many extracurricular activities, such as Art, Sport, Journalism studies, Film Club, and Science and Experiments.

Reflecting on my six month SKIP experience, Holiday Club was without a doubt my favorite time of the year! Although the heat was exhausting, and our teaching schedules were busy, the results were worth the sweat, tears and late-night lesson planning sessions. Seeing each group so frequently during the week meant we easily built rapport and strong relationships with the students. In addition, working with more flexible curricula, we were able to complete projects in a matter of weeks that would usually take several months during the school year. In Art classes, for example, all the students contributed to creating a huge jungle in the art classroom. We’re still finding brightly painted insects and monkeys in hiding places throughout the community centre! In English classes, we had even the youngest students producing full sentences in their brand new second language, precisely because they were exposed to an hour of English four days consecutively every week. This is a huge achievement!

12771595_10153658553737670_2338177857518929412_oThis year, we rounded off the experience with a huge end of term party. Each Primary group performed a song and dance, and we were lucky enough to share the experience with “Tony the Magician” who put on an incredible magic show for the kids.

In summary, then, Holiday Club is a unique, fun, high-energy teaching experience and I would recommend it to anyone with oodles of enthusiasm and a knack for acting like a big kid.

~ Hatty Farnham

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Social Work and Psychology Training Programme in Peru

Hey, I’m Adam! I’m a social work student from the UK and I’m currently volunteering with SKIP for my practical placement. In my role here I have been teaching English to primary and secondary students, both within SKIP and in partnership with one of the local public schools, as well as working one to one with students who require extra support. Alongside this I have also been taking part in the social work training programme.

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The social work programme provides an opportunity to consider the social factors relevant to the lives of the children and families in El Porvenir; as well as a wider appreciation of the approaches to, and challenges of, international social work. We meet weekly and receive training from various members of the SKIP staff, covering topics such as child development, mental health and migration. In a recent session we shadowed a member of the social work team undertaking assessments of families. These house visits were a stark insight into the realities of life for those we work with.

The programme has been hugely beneficial to me as a social work student; however, I know that it has also been extremely rewarding for those on the programme who are not social work students. The sessions give opportunities to consider the work that SKIP does as a local organisation, as well how it fits within the broader picture of international intervention. Together the sessions have framed my understanding of my role here, and allowed me to reflect on my experiences in ways that have been incredibly insightful. I couldn’t recommend the programme enough for those who are interested in broadening their perceptions and making the most of their volunteering experience.

¡Saludos!

~ Adam Burton

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Blog: Leeds Rag Volunteer 2015

Volunteer blog: Peru Project 2015 Leeds RAG

Hello, I am Jessica Belfield and I have spent two consecutive summers volunteering in the Peru Project at SKIP through my university: Leeds. I have now graduated with a degree in Mathematics.

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I have grown up with a love and interest in the Peruvian culture, so when this project was advertised around the university, I knew it was an amazing opportunity and something I had to participate in.

In my first year with the charity, I taught English in two of the local schools in Trujillo and in a variety of different classes within SKIP; some of these included Sports, Art and Library sessions. I thoroughly enjoyed building a strong relationship with many of the pupils as I taught them in both their Primary school and at SKIP.

As a group of 36 volunteers from Leeds University, we built a beautiful mosaic of the world in the outside playground in SKIP. We constructed all the pieces out of blue and green tiles except for Peru, which we had in red, so that it could stand out in comparison to the other countries. This was a fun project and hopefully a piece of artwork that will remain in the charity’s area for a very long time. We also painted beautiful animal images around on the walls to make the area look more colourful and enticing.

Mosaic

I loved the project so much, after it had finished, I applied for the Leadership role for the next upcoming year. I successfully passed as an applicant and at the beginning of the university term, started planning the project. There were four Team Leaders and two sets of groups each of around 20 volunteers. We had to gather our volunteers through advertising and then delivering presentations to gain a team. This was fairly easy as Peru is an interesting and fascinating country so many people were very keen to participate in the project. We managed our team efficiently by making sure they had guidance and support in their teaching and projects.

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We also lead numerous projects, one of them included planning a very successful ‘Family Day’ which was an organised event to celebrate the charity’s successes with its team and members. It involved innovating a theme, short play and a range of fun activities; some of which included hat making, football and bowling.

Another project we did was renewing a classroom in SKIP. This involved sanding, debugging, repairing and then painting a classroom. The changes to the room were astonishing and our group were very proud of what we had achieved.

Lastly, we created a ‘Leeds RAG Games Box’ which included renewing or creating fun games for the children such as: Cards made out of DVD cases, Frustration, Fruit and Animal Snap, Guess Who, Operation, Maths Worksheets, Doll Dress Up, Dice, Checkers.

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Overall, my experience with SKIP has been amazing and I have learnt so much about teaching and team leading skills. I adore the charity and will continue to remain in touch with them to see their positive developments and the growth they will have in the many years to come.

Amazon Smile

You Can Help! Amazon wish list

If you aren’t already using Amazon Smile – please do sign up and link to SKIP – you don’t have to pay anything and the money is simply automatically donated by Amazon when you shop online.

If you would like to make a direct donation – please take a look at our wish list which we have put together on Amazon. With items starting at less than $2, every little helps. Especially for those of you who have volunteered with us, we’re sure there will be things on the list you could imagine having used in classes!

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Emotional Intelligence in the Classroom

In October the Psychology Programme started a new project called Inteligencia Emocional en el Aula (Emotional Intelligence in the Classroom) for the primary school children. The goal of the project is to help the children be better able to identify, manage, and utilize their emotions in order to be more successful in school, at home, and in the community.

The psychology programme worked with the primary teachers to identify what social and emotional abilities are the most difficult for their kids, and also conducted a series of classroom observations to get a baseline of “problem behaviors” so that we can better track if the classes are helping. Each class will receive four emotional intelligence classes based around such abilities as

  1. Recognizing and naming basic emotions
  2. Identifying how emotions are experienced in the body
  3. Recognizing how others demonstrate emotions in order to build empathy,
  4. Understanding the relationship between situations, emotions, and behaviors,
  5. Developing skills to manage difficult emotions, such as anger, stress, sadness, and fear, and
  6. Learning strategies to manage impulses.

We started classes with Groups 1, 4, and 7, and the kids seem to be enjoying “la clase de emociones!” The class combines videos (including the recent Pixar Movie Inside Out, about the emotions living inside an 11-year-old girl), reflection through writing and drawing, games, stories, and skills teaching (such as teaching children about how to “turtle” by going inside their “shells,” breathing deeply and repeating a calming statement to reduce impulses or sensations of anger) in order to introduce children to vital skills necessary for self-regulation and interpersonal effectiveness. Below are some photos of the children illustrating the primary emotions that they feel as being “in control” of their actions, and how they think these emotions might look. The kids are doing a great job with this complex and sensitive topic!

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