We send a big “Thank you!” to students in the Global Education Network (GEN) Club at Longmont High School in Colorado. This compassionate group of students chose Opportunity Tree as their project for this year, with a goal of supporting a full year of studies for two high school students in Nicaragua. In January, the GEN Club students planned a week of “random” and fun activities at LHS to increase school spirit and raise funds, including a salsa dancing class, a jazz band performance, a photo booth, a geography game, and a teacher lip sync competition. During that week’s efforts, the GEN Club exceeded their goal and raised more than $500 to support Opportunity Tree’s scholarship program for students in Matagalpa. Thanks again to the GEN Club and its generous supporters at LHS!
Scholarship students take the initiative to design and present educational programs for their peers and lead discussions of issues of social, emotional, and physical health. In the photo, two high school students present their poster on gender roles related to work, gender-based violence, adolescence, sexuality, HIV/AIDS, and the importance of self-protection.
The in-school library at El Capulin Elementary School is up and running! Parents and teachers got together to paint the room and set up the bookshelves. Books have been delivered, and students are already starting to enjoy the benefits of having library books at their fingertips right in their own school.
Opportunity Tree is thrilled to have received grant support for 2015. For the second year, First Congregational Church of Boulder will be supporting scholarships for a group of high school students in the Matagalpa area. We’re grateful for FCC Boulder’s philanthropic focus, their compassion for Nicaraguan youth, and their support of our work. After a difficult year that included earthquakes and heavy rains, the students are very happy to be able to continue their studies thanks to the support of this grant and the ongoing generosity of all of Opportunity Tree’s donors.
Opportunity Tree is excited to announce that it is sponsoring the first stationary in-school library among rural elementary schools served by the Mobile Library Project. At the request of teachers at El Capulin Elementary School, a permanent collection of books will be made available for students to read at school and borrow for home use. This will give students access to many more books than before, and will encourage book-related discussions and read-alouds, and make possible a range of critical thinking and creative class projects. This pilot project may be expanded once it has been implemented and evaluated over the course of 2015. Opportunity Tree’s highly successful Mobile Library Enrichment Program will continue at all of the schools it currently visits. Thanks to our donors for making this new library possible!
Secondary students in the Opportunity Tree scholarship program are asked to find fulfilling ways to share their knowledge, skills, and personal development through community service projects. In this picture, Sharo, in her fourth year of secondary school at Aguas Amarillas School, assists in a “Dental Brigade” to bring much-needed dental exams and care to children in rural Matagalpa.
We have exciting news about the Mobile Library Enrichment Program. The teachers at the schools are working with library staff to help them plan additional enrichment activities to do on their own, during the weeks when the mobile library doesn’t visit. That means students at these schools will get to have an enrichment class every week!
During our trip to Nicaragua in February, 2014, we had the opportunity to visit several schools and two universities that Opportunity Tree scholarship students attend. At Aguas Amarillas secondary school, we talked to a group of girls who told us about their dreams to become a lawyer, a science teacher, a psychologist, a nurse, a Spanish teacher, and an agricultural engineer. They all want to stay in school and go to college, and are grateful for the scholarships that make those dreams possible.
It was fun to watch Nicaraguan elementary school students enjoy one of the games made for them by students at Longmont High School in Colorado. “Emociones Confundidas” (based on the concept of Twister) prompted many laughs and much excitement.
Our sincere thanks go out to students in Becky Freeman’s psychology class at Longmont High School in Colorado. They designed some creative, fun, and very thought-provoking games to help Nicaraguan elementary students learn more about emotions. Several of the Longmont students even translated their own instructions and materials into Spanish. We’re excited to bring the students’ games to the mobile library in San Juan del Sur. Most of the games are replicable and can be reproduced to bring them to more locations if they prove to be popular. We thank the Longmont students for their enthusiasm and their great work.