Community Links organized its yearly summer camp this August. We are very grateful for the donations of clothes that delegations left us. Thanks to the money made from the sale of these clothes, we were able to raise enough funds for the summer camp.
Thirty-seven kids from the community of Tecuanipan participated in the daily classes for one week. The theme of the summer camp was “Children’s Rights and Responsibilities”. We used multimedia tools such as documentaries, images and drawings to make children aware of those rights and responsibilities.
The reflection on the right to a healthy environment was high on the list. Kids were exposed to images of the pollution of vital resources and the implication on the lives of children all over the world, after which they were challenged to come up with proposals to take care of the environment in Tecuanipan.
We also included a field trip to Cholula to the Institute of the Blind, a partner nonprofit organization that serves visually impaired children and adults. Children learned the basics of Brail system and were invited into the world of the visually impaired through different activities which they had to perform blindfolded. The message certainly got across: every person deserves to be treated with respect and offered opportunities to fend for him or herself. At one point during our trip, the founder of the organization, Virgilio, who suffered an accident and became blind in his twenties, posed a question to the students: were we taking advantage of all the opportunities we have in life? Were we thankful for them?
On that note, we thank the founders of the Institute, Lic. Norma Olmedo Damián and Virgilio Pineda Calderón, for taking the time out of their busy schedules to meet our students and for providing them with this opportunity for reflection on tolerance and disability.
Another one of the week’s activities focused on respect for cultural diversity. We invited the kids on a sensorial immersion trip to Japan and Morocco where they learned about the social, cultural, religious practices of each country. A powerful discussion on prejudice and racism emerged when we shared several photos of children with a different skin color. It made us all aware that a positive sense of cultural identity and socio-emotional skills are as important to the healthy development of a child as academic skills. We are committed to make these topics and essential part of the curriculum of the after school program.
We want to thank the teachers Lidia Tellez Velazquez and Maricela Tellez Paredes for all of their help with the summer camp. Lidia is the mother of two students of the program and has shown a huge commitment to the after school program by teaching on a voluntary basis for the past year. She graduated from the University of Puebla in biology. Lidia will also be part of this coming year´s educational program.
Our other teacher, Maricela, is a middle school student who has participated consistently in the after school program for the past two years and has shown academic excellence. We trained her to participate in the summer camp and she was involved in helping develop reading skills.
Last but not least, we would also like to thank the parents of the participants who prepared food for the kids each day of the week. It is through these efforts of solidarity and community that we were able to successfully offer the summer camp.