domingo, 13 de marzo de 2011

Art, Art, Everywhere!

We've had some good artsy last few weeks here at LLI. Check out the photos to see why it's been oh-so-good:

Face masks in Los Alamos, Zone Z

Andy Warhol prints

Our women's group checking out ICPNA's exhibition on Peruvian Women's art, celebrating 55 years of women's right to vote.

Karla in our month long drawing workshop!

Nicol and Anel-- experiencing the joys of creating foam animals :)

Art is awesome. We hope you agree.

Don't forget to sign up for our 5K here on April 30th!

Published by Lara DeVries on behalf of the Light and Leadership Initiative. Special thanks to Kim Smith for the photos and teaching Art and Sarah Renkert for organizing the Women's field trip.

sábado, 12 de marzo de 2011

Light and Leadership: The 5K

Run or walk to support Light and Leadership! LLI is hosting its first ever 5k run/walk Saturday, April 30th! Find the details below:
  • Registration begins at 7:15 am
  • Race begins at 8 am in Yankee Woods (165th and Central, Oak Forest, Illinois).
  • Payment (Registration before April 23 $25.00, Registration after April 23 $30.00, Children 4 - 12 years walking or running with their parent: $15.00)
  • Be sure to tell others: run with your best friend or walk with your kids!
The application form can be filled out online. Please fill out one application per participant and be sure to encourage friends and family to participate too. You will receive confirmation of your online application and received payment within 24 hours VIA EMAIL, so please be on the look out!

miércoles, 2 de marzo de 2011

Volunteer Spotlight: Elizabeth Jongetjes

LLI sees over 40 volunteers come to work in Huaycan every year. Volunteers quickly become part of LLI's family and the Huaycan community.

Elizabeth Jongetjes, a recent college graduate (Trinity Christian College) from Delavan, Wisconsin, just finished a two month stay in Huaycan with LLI. Please read on to hear her thoughts about volunteering, LLI's work, and living in Peru.

1. What are your responsibilities with Light and Leadership? Describe a typical workday (or your favorite workday):

My responsibilities with LLI keep me very busy. Each day is a little bit different, but primarily involves preparing for and teaching classes. I am responsible for a variety of classes from basic math to intermediate English. I teach kids as young as 6 years old as well as a couple classes for adolescents and adults. I love the variety of classes, locations and students that make up my week. Thursdays have become one of my favorite days each week. Each Thursday I start my day at 10:00 teaching English to 10 – 13 year old students in Zone D. The class consists of one hour of English followed by one hour of sports. It’s a great balance of work and play. Around 12:30, we have lunch at the volunteer house. Each day we enjoy a delicious traditional Peruvian meal together. It’s a great time to enjoy food, company and talk about new ideas and experiences as well as ask questions. At 2:20, I head up to Los Alamos to teach another English/sports class. The kids in Los Alamos have quickly become dear to my heart. Definitely makes the hot and bumpy combi [bus] ride well worth the while. My last responsibility for the day is the opportunity to private tutor a boy named Moises for an hour and a half. It’s a great to be able to work individually with one student. My responsibilities vary each day, providing me with a rich and rewarding variety of classes, experiences and opportunities.

2. Why do you think it´s important to volunteer (abroad or domestically)?

Volunteering has become a very important part of my life. Volunteering has opened doors for opportunities and experiences that have made an impact not only in my own life, but in the lives of others. Dedicating my time to a cause that I believe in is highly rewarding. I have found over and over that the times that I focus more on others and less on myself are the times when I experience the greatest measure of joy. It is healthy to take a step back from my own world and become directly involved in someone else’s. There are countless volunteer opportunities available everywhere. For the last few years I have volunteered domestically and been greatly blessed by such experiences. Going abroad and volunteering in Peru has been an amazing volunteer experience that I would highly recommend to anyone with a love for adventure, learning and service. Volunteering in Peru allows me the opportunity to explore a new place, learn about a different culture and give back to the people that I quickly came to love.

3. What has been your favorite aspect of volunteering with Light and Leadership?

My favorite aspect of volunteering with Light and Leadership is building relationships with the people I came here to serve. Getting to know my students and other people in Huaycan makes everything I do here incredibly personal and exciting. Everyone is very friendly, welcoming and thankful. Hugs from students each morning, hearing my name shouted while walking down the street, receiving a piece of homemade chocolate from a student’s mother, being thanked and loved every day, and always being asked, “When are you coming back?” Are just a few of the reasons why I love this place, this group of people and my life as a volunteer.

4. Do you feel Light and Leadership is making an impact in the community? If so, how?

I definitely feel that Light and Leadership is making an impact in the community. Enthusiasm for education has spread quickly. The community takes pride in their ability to learn English, French, computer skills, art and more. Light and Leadership offers the people of Huaycan excitement, pride and new possibilities. As education increases, so do opportunities, potential and joy.

5. What is it like living in Huaycan? What are the biggest differences and/or similarities compared to where you are originally from?

Huaycan has quickly become home for me. When I first arrived, I wondered how my life could ever feel right in a place so different. However, I was warmly welcomed into this community and found the people and culture to be very special. The differences in landscape, economics, language, and customs were drastic, but the similarities in hospitality, emphasis on family and love for life made me feel at home. I’ve found that it’s the people around you that make things feel right. The simplicity of life here is refreshing, and has taught me a lot about what I really need and what is most important to me.

6. Was your experience in Huaycan similar to what you expected?

My experience in Huaycan had elements that I anticipated, such as learning about a new culture, teaching classes, and learning a bit of Spanish. In addition, my experience provided me with friends from all over the world, the opportunity to explore new places, the ability to communicate in a new language, and the amazing feeling that I am making a difference in the lives of others. It’s inevitable to go to a new place without a list of expectations and anticipations, but often, it’s the surprises, changes of plan and unexpected challenges that add to the value and richness of an experience.

Light and Leadership relies on enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers, just like Elizabeth. Be a part of our team! We currently need volunteers from August - December (2011) and January - February (2012). Check out our program!

Published by Lara DeVries on behalf of Light and Leadership. Special thanks to Elizabeth Jongetjes for being a great volunteer and lending us her thoughts! Come back soon!

And the Winners Are (and yes, a drum roll please)...

In the spirit of the award season, LLI is announcing our own winners! For the month of February, LLI held a contest to recognize the highest test score in each English and French class for ages 6-15.

The prize? A brand new backpack full of school supplies. Kids were excited about new folders, fresh markers, cool erasers and more. School starts this week, so our winners were ready with new gear. Backpacks were packed with pencils, notebooks, folders, markers/crayons, erasers, pens, scissors, glue, rulers, compasses, pencil sharpeners, ABC games (for little ones!), jump ropes and/or jacks.

Why a backpack and school supplies?

In one of our meetings with mothers of our students in Zone Z in February, it came up that several families struggle to afford the long list of school supplies (the average list costs about 500 soles/175 USD) for every child. Although LLI is unable to provide backpacks to all participants (over 140 this semester!), we decided to offer a contest in every class to help alleviate the burden of some families. Kids got very excited and eagerly awaited the results from their teachers (pictured above... French students gathering around to see the contents of the new backpack).

So onto the winners...!

Zone D:

Alessa (also perfect attendance for January/February)
Anel (also perfect attendance for January/February)
Erick (also perfect attendance for January/February)
Mao and Renzo (tie!)
Gabriela (French II)
Deysi (French I)

Zone Z:
Valery (Los Alamos; also perfect attendance for January/February)
Deysi (UCV 232)
Anabella (UCV 232)
Mery Jane (UCV 231)
Andrea (UCV 231)
Xiomara (UCV 231)

Zone S:
Valery in Los Alamos (Zn Z) showing off her new backpack

Gabriela and French teacher Lorene Mermin

Natividad with her backpack in Zone S

Anel and English teacher Lauren Kenyon

Andrea with her new backpack.

Special thanks to all LLI's volunteers for teaching this summer and to our supporters for giving us the opportunity to do such contests! In total, 13 backpacks were given out. THANK YOU!

Published by Lara DeVries on behalf of Light and Leadership. For more information, visit Special thanks to Connie Wood, Elizabeth Jongetjes for the photos... and for being great volunteers, too.