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Our gifts for Mission & Service support children’s education in Latin America.

Our gifts for Mission & Service provide opportunities for teachers like Melissa Carter to work at Los Quinchos School in Managua, Nicaragua. Here is her reflection:

“I have not come here to change their culture; yet I still maintain that school can be a powerful environment to positively affect self-confidence and to empower these young, bright faces to take on new challenges. One walk around my neighbourhood unveils the fact that they already overcome daily difficulties I can only imagine; they are strong and resilient.

“I try to lead by example. My Spanish is not fluent, but I am trying to communicate daily. I am committing many errors, which sometimes elicits teasing responses, but I roll with it and tell them it is part of the learning process…. I challenged a grade 11 English class to tell me about their weekend in five sentences. Let me point out that very rarely are they asked in their English class to produce their own phrases about their own lives, and here was this crazy Canadian asking them to share about their weekend. As I walked around, many of them were able to produce simple sentences. Regardless of errors in syntax, I used lots of positive reinforcement, as well as smiles, high fives, and fist pumps to both encourage them and hopefully make them realize that ‘Si, tu puedes’ (‘Yes, you can’).

“I savour the daily interactions with the students, for it is in those interactions that I learn about who they are and what they hope to accomplish. And maybe, I can help them learn some English or make them realize that they, too, can fulfill the dreams they currently hold as well as the dreams they have yet to discover.”

Source: The United Church of Canada
Photo credit: Melissa Carter, James Hodgson/The United Church of Canada