Art of Zentangle

Last week in Zone Z 232 our art teacher Sarah taught kids the art of  Zentangle. It’s a meditative art that focuses on repeated patterns to create a unique and creative piece. Zentangle is easy to learn, relaxing and fun way to engage children.

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Where Are They Now: Eleanor

Meet Eleanor our one of very dear former volunteers from London. Elle, as everybody calls her,  first joined LLI in February 2010 and stayed with us until July 2010. She came back in April 2011 and stayed until August 2011.

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 6.12.50 PMElle studied Spanish at school and then at University, and always had a love of anything Latin American. Her first visit was at the age 18 when she went to live in Costa Rica for 6 months.
At present Elle is a social worker in London, working with children of all ages who are at risk of harm, and she works on implementing plans to address those risks and improve their situation.

Today we are taking a trip to the memory lane with Elle and welcome you to join us :)

Favorite memory from LI days?

Literally almost all of my memories are favourites. One particular one was havine Irene (the 73 (now probs 77) year old woman from Zone Z read her first sentence in Spanish after taking my literacy class.

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What classes did you teach at LLI?

I did some English teaching, more so in my first stint. We did conversation club with the older ones. I became involved in the Women’s Group in my first stint, but got much more into it in my second, coordinating a lot of the activities and sessions. The organisation has progressed astronomically since I was there, and now there are roles covered by all different people, however at the time I was there, I was a bit of a jack of all trades and helped out with many of the projects.

Do you feel your experience with LLI has helped your career path or your personal development? If so, tell us how!

LLI was the reason I decided to become a social worker. I found that working directly with people and supporting them to affect change in their own lives was the most incredible thing, and I returned and applied straight away for my Masters in Social Work.

Are you still in touch with any past LLI volunteers? Who?
Yes I am in touch with many of the past volunteers:
Amy, Bridget, Dana, Cristina, Ash, Chris, Gladys, Mimo, Meri, Whitney, Sarah, Sara (x2),

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Would you like to give a shoutout to a dear friend from LLI and leave a nice message for them to read on our blog and make their day?

Meri – Roomie! I miss you. Hope you’re getting on well, have you finally finished your degree(s)? Learnt anay more languages!? Have such fond memories of that first stint in LLI. Lots of love, Ellie xx

In 5 words describe your experience with LLI.
Immensely enjoyable
friends for life

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5 random facts about yourself :)

My nickname at LLI was BG (British girl) because i was the first and only Brit there during my time.
I have a degree in Economics but couldn’t tell you the most basic principles!
I’ve recently taken up indoor rock climbing
My two closest friends at LLI were both over 9 inches taller than me (Lara and Amy)
I chose LLI out of a number of NGO’s because it said it had a roof terrace on the top of the house (in their first house)

We love you Elle! You’ll always be the dearest British Girl of our team :)

Karaoke Night at Teen Center

A few days ago we hosted a #‎karaoke night at the #‎teen center. We compiled a list of song requests from the teens (plus threw in a few of our own requests ;)) and sang them together using the projector to read the lyrics on the big wall. Owing to the shy teens it was really quite a collaborative sing-along – no solos. A former LLI participant, now adult #‎volunteer, Luis, brought his guitar and played some of the songs live too. We had a pretty even mix of Spanish and English songs, so the teens got to practice their English while we practiced our #‎Spanish :)

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Annual Report 2014

2014 was a big year for the Light and Leadership Initiative. Thanks to both donors and volunteers from all over the world, we were able to celebrate five years of work and impact in Huaycan. Thanks to many talented volunteers, we were able to refine and carryout a vast number of positive changes within our programs.

When I set out to start programs in 2009, I never dreamed of it growing in such an amazing way and to reach five years provides all of the volunteers a great sense of accomplishment. — Lara R. DeVries (Executive Director)

We are excited to share our annual report from the year 2014. Click on the photo below and check out how programs offered by LLI are promising a better future to the kids, teens and the women of the Huaycan.

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Students of the Year

Sticking with tradition, LLI held an awards ceremony at our 6th anniversary celebration to recognize some pretty outstanding kiddos in our education programs. These students were recognized in  specific categories for super attendance, a positive attitude, and just all around passion for LLI’s programs.

We continued the newly added Student of the Year award this year by recognizing Daniela, a student from Los Alamos, who eagerly participates in just about everything and anything possible with LLI. From Art to Reading to English, she is an all-around superstar in the classroom. She is a positive, extremely gifted 11 year old girl who has a bright future ahead of her. We feel lucky to count her as a student!!!

danielastudentoftheyearSince opening its doors in August 2014, the teen center has welcomed over a hundred students ages 13-17. With a new program like this, we’ve been fortunate to have met so many talented and passionate teens. This year, we decided to introduce a Student of the Year Award: Teens. It was very hard to pick just one student, but our staff and volunteer team all agreed that Jhonny was deserving of the title. As a 16 year old, Jhonny dreams of becoming a veterinarian and has a great command of English (he’s now in our part 1 of our Advanced curriculum!!). He’s additionally a pretty great volleyball player and just an overall great teen. 


Now, check out the rest of our talented award winners! 

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Yoga with Karilynn

Kids in zone D are brimming with enthusiasm over the weekly yoga classes taught by our yoga instructor Karilynn Burks. Attendance is going strong in each class as the kids have been having fun learning new nimble poses. They try, they fall, they laugh but they keep at it :)

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El Leaon at the Anniversary

This year we celebrated our sixth anniversary with jungle theme. Fitting to the setting, our mascot was the king of the jungle, el leon. He was the beacon of energy, excitement and enthusiasm throughout the event. It was a busy day for Mr. lion giving rides, playing tag, tickling, wrestling and posing with the kids at the photograph booth. At one point he tried to stuff Johnny’s head in his jaws but it was all in good he says :) DSC_9072
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English Intern: Joshua Khosrofian

Did you know that at LLI we offer internships lasting from three months up to a year? If you or a friend of yours is looking for an opportunity to travel and also make a positive difference in the lives of the kids, women and teens in a small community, look no further. We offer internships in Art Education, English Language and Women’s empowerment.

For information on current internship openings and requirements, please check our idealist page:

Today we are talking with Joshua Khosrofian, our current English Language intern. He’s 23 years old and a graduate from Liberty University with a Bachelor´s Degree in International Business.

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Hi Joshua! What motivated you to intern abroad as an English teacher?

I decided to intern abroad as an English teacher because I thought it would be a great opportunity to travel to another country and learn about their lifestyle and culture.  Rather than being conformed to just look for business-related career with my degree, I thought about what I would want to do for the summer and the first thing I thought about was to go to another country!  I decided to reach out to programs and internships that taught English to kids because of how fulfilling it would be to help kids learn the English language.

What are your first impressions of Huaycan? Anything surprising? Anything exciting?

 Huaycan is a very interesting place, but nothing has really surprised me.  I always enjoy a new environment.  Everything is very cheap in this town.  It will be exciting to get to explore all of the shops on the main street as well as trying different food!

What classes are you teaching? (kids as well as teens?)

I am teaching English the kids from Zone Z 232 and the teens from Zona D, as well as co-teaching many other classes.

 What’s your teaching style? 

Structured but also liberal and malleable.

Have you ever taught an English class before?

No I have not.

What are you looking forward to most during your time with LLI?

I look forward to making new friends (with the volunteers and with my students), seeing my students improve their English skills, exploring different places, and of course playing a lot of soccer!

 Is teaching English in Huaycan different than your expectation? Is it more of a challenge or a reward or both?

Not so different than I expected.  Everything that is new to me is always a challenge but it is very rewarding to see kids improve in class and to also develop an important relationship with them.

Thank you, Josh! We are excited to have you with us. We hope your time with LLI leaves you with plenty of happy memories, and serves as a platform for personal and professional growth!

Where Are They Now: Veronica Chin, Jan 2013-Dec 2013

Continuing with the blog series “Where Are They Now”, today we are talking with one of our dearest former volunteers, Veronica Chin who stayed with LLI for a year, Jan 2013-Dec 2013. Veronica was the Program Development Manager, which at the time, encompassed developing the math, biblioteca, and chess curricula; working with Lara to start a girls’ adolescent empowerment group called SURF; planning all field trips and events for the kids; organizing the anniversary; and maintaining LLI’s social media outlets.


Hi Veronica! tell us something about yourself.

I graduated 3 years ago with a double degree in Math and Chinese from UC Berkeley. I lasted 6 months in sales management when I decided volunteering abroad would be much more exciting. That brilliant idea brought me to LLI for a year. Since being back in the States, I’ve worked at an ice cream parlor, toying with the idea of starting my own parlor, got my feet wet in neighborhood emergency preparedness and workshop facilitation for inmates, and ultimately found myself working at an environmental health nonprofit.

What’s keeping you busy these days? 

Being Program Associate at a small nonprofit called The Green Science Policy Institute in Berkeley, CA. Our mission is to facilitate the responsible use of chemicals to protect human and ecological health. Salsa dancing on occasion too. :)

What’s your favorite memory from LLI days. 

I have so many, how can you ask me to chose a favorite?! But if you insist…the December 2013 Top Performers’ field trip is pretty high up. I planned a scavenger hunt for the kids and it was sooo much fun watching them speed around Lima’s Plaza de Armas searching for all the answers. The Zone D girls cutely pestered a police officer, the young boys bickered over what to write Lara’s mom in a postcard, then proceeded to bicker over who got to put the postcard in the box, only to decide they would all do it together by holding a corner of the card (hah!); the Zone Z girls somewhat disgruntled dawned funky hats in a souvenir shop; and I caught Henry and Willy, two typically untamable troublemakers, share a tender moment of ice cream flavor swapping. Everyone was exhausted on the bus-ride back.

young boys bickering over what to write Lara’s mom in a postcard :)
Zone Z girls dawning funky hats in a souvenir shop
Henry and Willy, two typically untamable troublemakers, share a tender moment of ice cream flavor swapping.

Do you feel your experience with LLI has helped your career path or your personal development? If so, tell us how!

Most definitely. It has taught me flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to more calmly approach unexpected problems. Things like late people, long lines, and disorganized systems don’t get to me as much. I also witnessed and experienced some of the most warm, yet simple, interpersonal interactions while in Peru, moments that are harder to catch in the States. I have yet to hold another woman’s baby on the bus here in California, or be invited by a taxi driver to enjoy a home-cooked meal at his home.

Are you still in touch with any past LLI volunteers? 

Yes, intermittently. Of course with Lara. And on occasion, email or skype exchanges with Kim (2012-2013 English manager), Bekah (English teacher 2013), Adrianna (June-Dec 2013 Women’s Program Manager), Elle (2013-2014 teacher), Michael (2013 teacher), Theo (2013 teacher), Sarah Renkert (2011 House Manager), Beth Weeks (2013 teacher), and Beth Balatti (pre-Adrianna Women’s Program Manager).

 Would you like to give a shoutout to a dear friend from LLI and leave a message for them to read on our blog and make their day? 

Shout out to Elle and our dog adventures and random dance parties. TREASURE! Also a shout out to the girls of SURF. I miss them dearly and know they’re growing into beautiful and strong young ladies.


In 5 words describe your experience with LLI.

You’re just asking for cheesiness, aren’t you?? I’ll give you 7 words: So far, best year of my life.


Five random facts about yourself :)

–I eavesdrop on all Spanish-conversations within earshot (gosh I’m rude)

–I still want the churrero’s secret recipe (if anyone manages to get it from Churrero Luis on the Quince corner, write me!)

–I like going through long drive-thru car washes because it makes me feel like the toys in the Toy Story 3 incinerator scene, but in a good way.

–I really want to learn Bhangra dancing

–I’ve always had to pay the hospital a visit when traveling in a foreign country :(

Books & Hot Chocolate Party

An exciting scavenger hunt  was held in our teen library this week. Fifteen teen students participated in the hunt. The clues were buried in the books. Teams “LLI” (Jhonny and Yefferzon) and “The Wolves” (Pedro & Nilver) won the contest with with 16 points! Afterward, the students got together to enjoy hot chocolate, and discussed what kind of books they’d like to read more of. The event ended with the announcement that from now on Fridays from 3-5pm it will be reading & hot chocolate time at the teen center!!

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