Birthdays!

Since LLI has a whopping FIVE program participants’ birthdays this month, the awesome moms and students of zone Z decided to throw us all a joint Peruvian birthday surprise party complete with papa huancaina and Inca Cola. Such a blast! Happy birthday Donya Jahedmanesh, Jessie LSweet, Lara DeVries, Marcus Hess and Carlos Cruz!

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Beading and bonding

Women’s workshops are often a time of family bonding. At this month’s artisan workshop, mothers learned and collaborated with their children to create beautiful wire jewelry.

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Día de los Muertos

Zone Z has a huge Día de los Muertos celebration every year where families gather and honor the dead, often by bringing flowers and repainting the tombstones of their lost loved ones. Carina and Carlos used this celebration as a way to share their own Mexican culture with the students of 232, as they explained differences in festivities such as the Mexican use of “calaveras” decorated skulls. The students then had a great time decorating their own calavera masks before joining their families in festivities!

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Art workshop with Sucheta

It was incredible to see the students, from the sweet small kids to the independent teens, use their vivid imagination to draw, illustrate, color and paint!– Sucheta

We had an entire week brimming with creativity in Zones D, Z and S and the Teen Center, thanks to our Art teacher Sucheta! The little kids went all out with their imagination and drew funny creatures with an assortment of heads, bodies, feet and tails of their choice. They even presented the colored drawings to the rest of the class. Mermaids were by far the most popular, closely followed by butterflies, horses and sharks.

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Over at the Teen Center, the students split into teams and wrote short stories. Later they illustrated them on wood panels using tempera paint. Here as well the mermaids made their debut and so did a Monster Scooby-Doo, courtesy of Franky and Gabriel. Later in the week, the students in the Zones S and D painted Tibetan-inspired wish/blessing flags with animals that represent positive emotions of courage, hope, freedom, beauty, love and happiness.

Volunteer interview & insights: Javier Janik

An insightful interview with our former volunteer, Javier Janik, originally posted on http://www.gooverseas.com/interview/staff-interview/59767

I’m Javier Janik and I volunteered with the Light and Leadership Initiative for 7 months from the beginning of January to the end of July. I was born in Pittsburgh and am very proudly Colombian-American, my mother being born and raised in Colombia. I’ve been here and there since graduating from college in 2009, from living in Colombia, to working as a financial analyst in Pittsburgh, to quitting my job to walk across the United States. Eventually I found myself in the beautiful country of Peru volunteering with LLI. The best way I can describe my teaching experience in Peru in one sentence would be to say that the people of Peru, and especially the kids, taught me a million times more about life and the human spirit than I could ever teach them about English and Math and whatnot.

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Why did you decide to volunteer abroad with Light and Leadership Initiative?

Javier: In mid 2013 I knew I wanted to do a volunteer abroad experience. I looked into a lot of volunteer organizations, and was specifically looking for something in the range of 6 to 12 months.

I preferred a Spanish speaking country since I speak the language. When I found out about LLI through idealist.org I had a great feeling about it, since working with kids was something I knew I would love.

When I looked more into the organization and began speaking with its founder, Lara Devries, I fell in love with the idea of working for a small grass roots organization. At any given time LLI has around a dozen volunteers giving their time, and being part of such a small group was truly unique and amazing.

Small organizations sometimes lack the resources to recruit volunteers (especially long-term) as easily as larger more well-known organizations, so to volunteer with LLI really made me feel good about helping not only the community I served in, but also making a significant impact on such a great organization.

Describe your most meaningful souvenir and why you love it?

Javier: I brought home a lot of souvenirs with me, due mostly to the gifts that students and friends gave me when I left. But the coolest thing I hung onto was far from a typical souvenir. I gave private tutoring lessons 2 days a week to the sweetest little 10 year old when I was there. And after every class I would walk him home, just a short little 2-3 minute stroll up the road.

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“Enderson and I. Enderson came to class one day wearing a Colombia jersey. Needless to say we became best buddies immediately.”

One day when we left the classroom, little Eduardo started kicking this little rock up the street. He’d kick it as far as he could and then I would find it and kick it further up the road. Each time he would line up to kick the rock again, I announced as if he was his favorite player, Messi, taking a free kick for Barcelona.

We both smiled and laughed all the way to his front door, where this little tiny rock made it to. I picked it up as I left, amazed at the amount of happiness we extracted from a little rock, and as a reminder that we don’t need fancy gadgets or huge homes to bring about such happiness. Sometimes all we need is to maintain that beautiful innocence of a child.

Did you run into a language barrier? Did you ever think you knew more/less of the language?

Javier: I think the language barrier issue is an important one to shed some light on. Its something everybody has to deal with on at least some level, and that was no different for me. While I have a decent knowledge of the language, it is still my second language.

I essentially learned it as a small child, stopped using it when I was 5, and had to re-learn when I started making frequent visits to Colombia (my mother is from there) as an adult. There were certainly times in Peru when I wouldn’t completely understand someone, or when I would stumble over a word while speaking.

But the important thing I would like to share is that, don’t be hesitant or think “I would like to volunteer in this country but I don’t speak the language…..” One of the neat things about LLI is that it doesn’t require any Spanish knowledge to volunteer as a teacher.

Our English classes are taught entirely in English, so even if you don’t know Spanish, it doesn’t lessen the impact you can make. It also doesn’t lessen your life outside the classroom much. We had several volunteers who came not knowing any Spanish and they would all probably tell you they had the time of their lives too.

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“Jumping off a rock, goofing off, celebrating with my favorite class after they passed their final exam with flying colors.”

What made this volunteer abroad experience unique and special?

Javier: The LLI program academically is truly unique. My favorite part of being a teacher with LLI is the amount of freedom I had to teach how I saw fit.

We do have a curriculum, but there was never any pressure put on me, and more importantly the students, to finish a book in a certain amount of time, or take a test a certain day. I never felt any pressure to “prepare my kids for a test”.

All I ever tried to do was prepare them as best I could to understand and speak English just a little better. Whether it be doing the recommended lesson plan the book gave me, or shaping it how I saw fit, maybe by challenging the kids a little more when I felt I could.

Or sometimes I would come in one day and say “Alright kids today were going to write a Mother’s Day card to our moms”, or “Were gonna read some Shel Silverstein poems.” There was always that freedom to do those things, and that’s what made the teaching experience truly truly special.

One day when we left the classroom, little Eduardo started kicking this little rock up the street. He’d kick it as far as he could and then I would find it and kick it further up the road. Each time he would line up to kick the rock again, I announced as if he was his favorite player, Messi, taking a free kick for Barcelona.

We both smiled and laughed all the way to his front door, where this little tiny rock made it to. I picked it up as I left, amazed at the amount of happiness we extracted from a little rock, and as a reminder that we don’t need fancy gadgets or huge homes to bring about such happiness. Sometimes all we need is to maintain that beautiful innocence of a child

Volunteer Needed: Women’s Program Manager

We are looking for a lead manager to start in January or February 2015 and commit 6 – 8 months with LLI. APPLY NOW! Must be available for the time commitment stated and MUST speak an advanced level of Spanish. Low Cost Program Fees (this provides you a place to sleep, work and eat!) are required for this position and discounts are given to those willing to commit 8 months!

DSCN3241Responsibilities would include:

  • Lead coordination of weekly educational workshops with our women’s group concerning health issues, human rights, trade skills, etc.
  • Networking and maintaining/creating contacts for the program
  • Teaching Spanish Literacy
  • Teach at least two sections of Computer Literacy
  • Development of Computer Literacy Curriculum (materials and guidance provided)
  • Track impact and program development
  • Oversee the Artisan Program (this is great for candidates who have an art and/or design background!)
  • Organizing an educational field trip for the group (one per session)
  • Expanding the program to other areas of Huaycan (Zone D or others)

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This position is perfect for you if you…

-Are highly motivated by women’s issues

-Possess advanced Spanish skills (written and oral)

-Are organized and an independent worker

-Possess strong interpersonal skills

-Are looking for real responsibility to make real impact in LLI’s programs

Interested in assisting here and there with the women’s program, but your Spanish skills aren’t up to par or you can’t make the time commitment. Consider teaching English or Art with LLI and helping out in our women’s program in your free time! Check out our website for more info on those programs!

For more information on our volunteer program and the fees, please visit ourwebsite.

Volunteers Needed: English Teachers

Are you looking to teach English abroad and want to make an impact in a developing community? Join Light and Leadership! We are looking for English Teachers to start late February/early March 2015.

It is sometimes hard to get a good group photo, but we try. Volunteers (from left to right) Caislin, Lindsey, Javier and Avan with some of the Zone Z English students.

It is sometimes hard to get a good group photo, but we try. Volunteers (from left to right) Caislin, Lindsey, Javier and Avan with some of the Zone Z English students.

As an English Education intern, you can expect to:

1) Teach several English classes weekly

2) Lesson plan using our curriculum, but bring creative ideas and activities into the classroom

3) Participate in Teacher meetings, giving feedback and bringing new ideas to the table

4) Record test scores and provide student/parent feedback

5) Play sports and games with kids, plus have the opportunity to get involved with our other programs as a secondary placement (math, chess, art, women’s empowerment, etc)

6) Make life-long friends and discover the beautiful community of Huaycan!

Minimum 3 month commitment is required. We welcome interns with or without teaching experience to join our team. Knowledge of Spanish is not required as our program is immersion style.

  • Not available for the time commitment? Still come volunteer with us! We welcome volunteers from 1 week to 6 months!

Please ask about our available start dates!

Housing and Food:

The English Teacher positions require low cost volunteer program fees which will provide the volunteers with (delicious) Peruvian food, secure housing, a cell phone, hot showers, wifi and more! For more information on our volunteer program and the fees, please visit ourwebsite.