Monday, February 9, 2015

Working in the Community

Most of my days i spend at home, scribing away at this computer. That's all well and good, but because the rebelangel tends to give me a lot of guff about my Spanish pronunciation, i figured i'd better get out in the community a bit more. It's my natural inclination to do something to support kids or education, or usually, my daughter's school (which i'm also doing) so it was really only a matter of time before i found myself working with a non-profit here.

The organization i chose was Empowerment International, whose primary focus is supporting kids through school and helping them get to graduation and beyond. I like it because it's working within the existing framework, but adding to kids' experience and helping them succeed.

They also help kids get uniforms and other supplies that are required at school -- often things that, when they don't have them, will make a kid decide to skip school to avoid the embarrassment. Back home a mom might decide to go to the thrift store or buy her kids second-hand clothes online (which you can get at shops like the consignment store LilJellyBeans) -- but since used clothes tend to cost just as much as new ones here, that's not the easy option it is in North America.

K so i did wear a helmet on horseback...
For the past few Saturdays i have been helping some of the teens -- who already have advanced photography skills -- plan and shoot videos that will be used on the organization's site. The idea is to help them learn how to create and edit video, so they can use those skills in other aspects of their lives. There are a few really motivated kids in the group who i could totally see going on to become directors, photographers or other creatives in their community. I love supporting them and seeing how much fun they're having learning this new skill.

One of the groups is creating a video that discusses the reasons for hand-washing and general cleanliness, while the other is discussing why it's crucial to wear a helmet on a bike. I hate to admit that while i'm adamant about wearing one back home, i have yet to pick up my own casco here in Nicaragua. Bad mom. So once again, entering into a volunteering gig is not just about going in and teaching, but learning something too...

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Among the dangers of riding your bike without a helmet is the threat of a head injury, like a concussion or worse. If you have kids who ride without helmets or are in sports that may put them at risk of head injury, you'd do well to read this book, Winning the War Against Concussions in Youth Sports. I need the advice and cautionary tales too!

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