We’ve Moved!

This past month, LLI moved spaces in Zone S!  We’re now hosting our Tuesday classes of Art and Reading in a small, local school. Check out the photos below!

LLI International Volunteer Rachel, checking out the space!
The guard dog 😉
Three of our dedicated students using the new space!

Thanks to the Zone S community of Renacer de Julio for many wonderful years using their community space. Gracias a la Zona S, la comunidad de Renacer de Julio por tantos años bonitos juntos en su espacio comunitario.

Meet Lucero, Master of all Things Kids’ Center.

Lucero was born in Peru, raised here until the age of 9, and then made a move to the United States. Now, she’s currently studying business in college. LLI is lucky to have her–she brings energy, organization, and of course, an extra “toque” of Peruvian love to our programs. She runs the day-to-day operations at the Kids’ Center and will be with LLI until at least July, though we hope she will stay longer 🙂

Learn a bit more about Lucero below!


Why did you decide to volunteer in Peru?

I came to the decision to volunteer in Peru because I wanted to give back to the country where I was raised and to be close to my family. I was drawn to LLI because of how much the programs span the different age groups in Huaycan. From 7-year-olds to their mothers, the programs really offer something for everyone.

Tell us about a project you’re working on now to improve the Kids’ Center and/or its programs?

We are currently working on creating new crates and folders for every student. These will give their own space to leave their books, worksheets, art projects, etc… This new organizational system will make it easier for the kids to show off their finished work to their parents. We are hosted a “Parent Night” where parents met the new teachers and saw what their kids have learned and accomplished during the summer session. 

What is life like living in Huaycan?

Life in Huaycan is great. You live in a house with an amazing group of people. You can go running at the cancha early in the morning, have lunch and dinner at the house or go out to eat on quince. You can go out for a walk during the evening or go get a sweet dessert, all within a 5 to 10 minute walk from the volunteer house! You also have the option to travel on your days off, which I love too.


Interested in joining LLI’s volunteer team? Check out http://www.lightandleadership.org for more information!

Teen Center Mexican Cooking Night

On Saturday February 11th, the busiest day the Teen Center has ever seen, we had our first cooking event of the year- Mexican Cooking Night! We made quesadillas and pico de gallo from scratch. Jealous you missed it? Here’s the recipe:


  • Corn Flour
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Limes
  • Cilantro/Culandro
  • Jalapeños (or Aji Amarillo or Rocoto if you’re in Peru)



  • Mix corn flour, water, and salt (to taste) in a bowl until you have a dough that is firm. If it is crumbly, add more water
  • Roll the dough into golf ball sized balls, place a ball in a plastic grocery bag, and roll with a rolling pin until your tortilla is flat and round
  • Cook the tortilla on a nonstick pan (add oil if the tortilla sticks)
  • Put cheese inside the tortilla and fold, cook until cheese melts

Pico de Gallo

  • Cut onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and your pepper of choice and put in a bowl
  • Squeeze limes into the bowl, add salt and mix

Special thanks to Pamela and her Oaxacan roots for helping out 🙂


It’s Summer in Peru (and in LLI’s English Program!)

 “My favorite part about teaching at LLI is the kids! It’s great getting to know these crazy little ones, their excitement to learn is wonderful!”Everyone, young and old, remembers the anticipation of summer. The days would creep by until finally, you were sleeping in until 12, grilling up hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as thinking of anything and everything… except school. As much as summer serves as an excellent refresh button, it can always reignite one’s love of learning, outside the typical school setting.
Our English summer curriculum attempts to do just that. While English is still our most popular program here at LLI, it doesn’t mean we don’t hear the inevitable groans when English class is about to start. Therefore, the approach to the summer curriculum is to allow students to learn English in the most unlikely of places: songs, games, and much, much more.


The goal of these activities is to build a class culture, uniting our English language learners into one collective team, while at the same time highlighting the need for self-expression and acceptance of our unique selves. Our previous long-term English teacher, Jessica Sandlund, designed the unit as a focus on individual identity and how to properly express yourself in a second language.


Here to continue Jessica’s work is our current English team: Stephanie, Rachel, and Brittany. Both Stephanie and Rachel are long term volunteers with us, and we’re grateful to Brittany for her several week stay at LLI this January and February 🙂


Brittany is 32 years old and from Philadelphia (USA). She worked as a civil engineer for 10 years but has also worked for 5 years as a part-time math and science tutor for kids of all ages. She teaches yoga for kids and adults and has been practicing yoga/meditation for 8 years. She loves running, the beach, healthy eating, dancing, being a listener to anyone, and story telling. Brittany left her job in the US in October 2016 to travel Peru and join LLI and is beyond excited to contribute to the education of the children of Huaycan and their bright futures.
“Teaching English at LLI is so rewarding! My favorite aspect of teaching English here is being a part of the future of the amazing kids in Huaycan. They are incredible and so smart and creative. Teaching with LLI and offering the opportunity to learn a second language, especially English, which will open so many doors for them in Peru or even internationally, is incredible. All they need is the education, and they can truly do anything LLI and Huaycan has shown me that.”


Rachel most recently finished three years of teaching in a Japanese high school as an assistant English language teacher. Some of her favorite things are being outdoors, going to Japanese onsen, spending time in her home state of sunshine-y Florida with her friends and family, and watching Korean dramas.


“My favorite moment of teaching with the English program so far happened outside of class. I was walking on Quince with friends one night after dinner and one of my students, with his mother I assume, passed me on the street. I recognized him as he was passing right below my elbow, so we didn’t make eye contact or have time to say hi. I was happy and surprised to see him and turned to my friend and said, “I just saw one of my kids!” and I looked back to see if I could still find him in the crowd. He was still walking along in the opposite direction but he was looking back at me at the same time and when he saw me looking over my shoulder at him he shouted, “Hi Misssss!” I waved and shouted, “Hiiii!” back. It made me smile a lot and also made me even more excited about what this program is all about. That instance is an example of why I wanted to come here, to connect with and get to know the members of this new community. It is the biggest reason why I enjoy teaching. I am excited to be a part of this Huaycan community as an English teacher.”
Stephanie was living in NYC for the past two years before coming to LLI. Prior to her life in New York, Stephanie was working and traveling around the country and world. Living and working in France, she picked up her talent for working with kids, injecting her fun-loving energy in everyone she came in contact with. She recently received her yoga teaching certification, which is her second educational focus here at LLI. She loves to travel, read, and cook. She is currently reading Harry Potter in Spanish!
“My favorite part about teaching at LLI is the kids! It’s great getting to know these crazy little ones, their excitement to learn is wonderful!
This summer curriculum, plus our regular classes, wouldn’t be possible without the support and dedication of our English Program Manager, Olivia! Special thanks and shout out to her.

Obrigado :)

Patrícia (left) and Sara, Women’s Program Participant

Today, we are giving a special thanks to our Brazilian team member, Patrícia, as she leaves LLI!  Since arriving in May 2016, Patrícia has contributed an amazing amount of work, dedication and above all, heart to our programs. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak, as the women’s program carried out 85 educational workshops and events, plus weekly English and computer classes. This is in great part to Patrícia, who hit the ground running when she arrived in Huaycán.

Take a look at what our LLI team has to say about her:

“Patricia has been a major contributor to my overall happiness here at LLI. She has to be one of the most knowledgeable people I know, and that is not due solely to her resume filled with numerous languages and awareness of gender issues on the global scale. I think what makes Patricia so brilliant is her ability to spread this wisdom to everyone she comes in contact with. From our walks around Huaycan when we first arrived that served as an escape from whatever we were running from to laughing in the office about the ridiculousness of our other beautiful coworkers. I am confident that Patricia’s strong work ethic and genuine goodness will stay present at LLI. She will be greatly missed, but the rest of the world needs her. She’s like a super hero for gender equality. She will save the world, I know it.” – Olivia, LLI’s English Program Manager

“It was such a pleasure to work with you because you contributed so many great ideas and your fantastic organizational ability. There was no problem that you wouldn’t put yourself to resolve. You added so much to beautify our spaces too, through your origami and your demeanor 🙂 Thank you so much for all of the work you have done for LLI, and I’m so happy to have worked with you! I know that you’ll be successful in whatever you do next.” – Katie Ehrlich, LLI’s Program Director


“Olá então, tudo bem? Rahhhhh! I can’t believe you are leaving us! Without you, the house will never be the same – the pencils on the bathroom door will go unsharpened, there will be no more flower chopsticks, no more origami, and all of our doors will squeak. Thank you soooo much for teaching me so much about… well everything. And for turning off the light Kkkkk. It’s been amazing to watch you build the women’s program! You are such a gentle and smart woman. We will all miss you so so much.  Beijinhos, Pam.” LLI’s Volunteer Coordinator

“Pati!  Muchas gracias for being such a wonderful coworker, roommate, and friend. From painting quotes on the walls of the teen center to driving into Lima to get the guitars fixed, it has been a pleasure working with you. Your calm energy was always appreciated in the house. More than anything, though, I appreciate you teaching me how to make brigadeiro; I will think of you every time I eat that delicious chocolatey goo. Tudo de bom!” – Jess, LLI’s Teen Center Manager

“Patricia! What can I say, you’ve fair and square won the title of Best Women’s Program Manager of all time. Seriously though, I truly enjoyed working with you this past year and can’t tell you how appreciative I am for all of your hard work and dedication to the women’s program and to Huaywasi. I know you will be equally successful in whatever the future holds for you, but you will definitely be very missed here! Best of luck and hopefully I will make it to visit you someday in Brazil (if you’re even there, haha 🙂 )” – Shelby, Huaywasi Program Director


“Fala Serio, Pati! No te vayas!  You have been an amazing addition to our LLI team and family and it’s with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to you, though I know I will see you again one day. You are an incredible woman and it’s clear that you have many exciting things ahead of you. Thanks for working extremely hard for the Huaycán community–your impact through our women’s program has had a powerful ripple effect that will continue for many years.  Thanks for your laughter with me and just being…well, you 🙂 You will be missed.” – Lara, LLI’s Executive Director
“It has been a pleasure working with Patricia during her time as the Women’s Program Manager! She has done an excellent job tailoring every workshop and class to topics especially important and relevant to life here in Huaycan. I know myself, the other volunteers, and of course the women of the program will miss her greatly! Best of luck with your next venture Pati!” – Caroline, LLI’s Women’s Program Manager

Thank you again Patí!

TC Halloween Fiesta

This Halloween, the Teen Center put on it’s first ever Halloween party and haunted house. A group of teens planned for months in advance in order to pull off this awesome event. Setup began the day before Saturday evening with the help of our teens. Finally, Sunday the Teen Center was prepared for fun and filled with students from the Kids’ Center who came over to get the party started. They got to eat candy, play games, get their Halloween makeup done, and most importantly- get their turn to go through the haunted house. At 5:30pm we said goodbye to our 7-12 year-old friends and got the teen party going. By this time it was starting to get dark, so the haunted house was looking even spookier. The teens played limbo, wrapped each other up as mummies, and raced to eat donuts off of a string.

HUGE shout out to all of the people who donated by buying items off our amazon wish list, we could not have done it without you! From the eerily realistic bugs to the glow in the dark face paint, the donations really allowed us to make our first Halloween a hit. As the teen center coordinator, I would love to see this event turn into a tradition, getting spookier every year.

Este Halloween, el Centro de Jóvenes tuvo su primer fiesta Halloween con su casa de terror. Un grupo de jóvenes planearon este evento increíble por meses para lograrlo. El Sábado comenzamos decorando el Centro de Jóvenes. Domingo por la tarde el Centro de Jóvenes estaba preparado para diversión y lleno con estudiantes del Centro de Niños que vinieron para comenzar la fiesta. Los niños comieron dulces, jugaron, pintaron sus caras con maquillaje Halloween, y tuvieron su chance de entrar a la casa de terror. A las 5:30pm despedimos a nuestros amigos del centro de niños y comenzamos la fiesta para los jóvenes. A esta hora ya comenzó a bajar el sol y la oscuridad hizo que la casa de terror sea todavía más miedosa. Los jóvenes jugaron limbo, se convirtieron en momias, y compitieron para comer donas en un hilo.

Muchísimas gracias a todas las personas que donaron artículos de nuestra lista de Amazon, no hubiéramos podido hacer el evento sin su apoyo. Sus donaciones de maquillaje, hasta bichos súper realistas nos dejaron realizar este evento por primera vez y se lo agradecemos mucho. Como la gerente del centro de jóvenes, me encantaría que este evento se convierta en una tradición, mejorando cada año.

Rosa’s Monthly Blog-October

LLI’s Reading Program

Did you know LLI’s Reading Program offers classes EVERYDAY! We offer a total of 12 classes a week, which include over 65 students. (That’s more than half of LLI participants!)


In our “Biblioteca/Lectura” classes students are able to read a variety of books available in LLI’s library. Afterwards, they test their skills by answering questions to better comprehend what they have just read. Teacher and student correct comprehension sheets to earn a sticker to complete their passport level. Currently, we have students who are all the way on level 12 passports which include longer books, harder questions to respond, and mini projects to complete.

LLI is so lucky to have over over 1,100 books in our library. For a majority of our students this is their only opportunity to choose a book and bring it home.

An exciting piece of information: LLI has been able to include more lighting, floor pads, and bean bags, where our kids can read in comfort.

Interested in helping out our Reading Program? Become a volunteer:here or donate by visiting our amazon wish list.

LLI Thanks You!

On Saturday, Lara and Louella (LLI treasurer and mother extraordinaire) came in with some special gifts for our Kids’ Center. New collections of Legos had the kid’s extremely ecstatic. LLI students faces were filled with smiles during our board games class.

Here are just a few pictures of our students having a blast with their new Legos!

LLI is incredibly fortunate for all of the amazing people that have been able to donate to our Kids’ and Teen Program! Keep a look out for some pictures of our first ever Halloween haunted house.


Haven’t been able to donate yet? It’s not to late, donate here.

Clothing by Guillermina – a Huaywasi Artisan

Huaywasi is LLI’s artisan store and a branch of the Women’s Empowerment Program. One of Huaywasi’s artisans, Guillermina, makes beautiful clothing, incorporating traditional Andean fabrics into original clothing designs. Among these items are hand-made hoodies, dresses, skirts, t-shirts, and more. Watch this video, get to know Guillermina a bit better, and find out how she uses the income she receives from Huaywasi:

Check out one of Guillermina’s newest products, the Wawa Hoodie –

Shop ethically for more of Guillermina’s hand-made clothing now, like these super soft zip-up sweatshirts, with hoods lined in Andean fabric –


Buy Andean Zip-Up Hoodie (Pre-Order)

LLI’s 1st Open House!

Last Saturday The Light and Leadership Initiative held their first open house in Huaycán!

The Teen Center and Women’s Program partnered up to create our event, “Abierto al Público” to recruit new teens and women participants for LLI. The night was filled with presentations on each program, raffles, food, and tons of interest from the community.We had a great night with over 50 people coming into to hear more about what we do as an organization. Not only were the international volunteers there to run the event, but both local and teen volunteers were there to assist with presentations, raffles, recruitment, and childcare. Overall, we had a great turnout and an amazing time seeing so many new faces!

Check out some awesome pictures from the night:






A huge THANK YOU goes out to our amazing local and teen volunteers for all their assistance on such a busy day and their efforts to help LLI grow.

Interested in volunteering? Apply here.