Monday, March 7, 2016

Books & Tornado Bottles: "Average Days" at the Family Support Center

Text and photos by Elizabeth Barnes

On the blog we tend to focus on special days at the Family Support Center—most recently el Día de la Mujer, el Día de Tecún Umán, and el Día de Cariño. These events usually take place on Thursday afternoons, when Pop Wuj students join us out in Llanos del Pinal to spend time with the kids.

But of course the kids and their teachers spend Monday through Friday at the FSC. And as much as we love celebrating holidays with them, the social and academic support that kids get on "average days" is what makes the FSC a successful, worthwhile project. Have a look at photos from a few average days in 2016!

Getting homework done is always the first order of business. Our newest intern, Adam, helps Santos with his class of 1st through 3rd graders while a few older kids who have finished their work play Uno.
Gustavo talks Wilson through an assignment. Individualized homework help from our excellent teachers is one of the biggest benefits of the FSC—last year all the FSC kids passed their grades and continued their education, which is nothing to take for granted in a rural community like Llanos del Pinal.
Pop Wuj students and teachers stake out sunny spots to read with FSC kids who have finished their homework. Kids who can read are expected to do so for 20 minutes each day, and Pop Wuj students who come out to the FSC often choose to join them.
Nora, a student in the Pop Wuj Spanish for Teachers Program, reads with Damaris, a fourth grader who's new to the FSC this year. Damaris is a strong reader who tends to plow through a half a book before handing it over to a volunteer rather than alternating reading pages out loud, as most kids do. 
With Santos' help, los chiquitos (the little ones,) read a few board books from our extensive collection. (Yosvin on the left doesn't seem to mind that his upside down.)
Of course after finishing homework and reading we play! Amy, Santos, and his class wait for Samuelito to choose a "ganso" in "pato, pato, ganso."
Long-term volunteer Dawn brought a parachute from the U.S.! Bouncing the beach balls was a huge hit, although we had to give up on the classic colors game ("Everyone on a blue section, cross under the parachute and switch spots!") after three attempts to repeat the directions still ended in all the kids running under the parachute and staying there, giggling.
Dawn also brought materials to make a tornado in a bottle! Five seconds after this photo was taken, when Dawn asked who wanted to try swirling the water next, every single hand hit the air. 
Brenda and Ilcy get started on a second tornado bottle as Moises looks on. We love when volunteers bring cool activities to do with the kids!
Yadira was very pleased when she finally got a turn with the tornado bottle.
Whether you have an extracurricular activity you'd like to do with the kids or you'd just like to settle down in the backyard to read Jorge El Curioso, we encourage all our volunteers to join us for an "average day" at the FSC.

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