Teaching street children in a youth centre helping children from challenging backgrounds
Teaching street children in this project that provides educational support and healthy meals to children from the age of six, living in one of the tougher neighbourhoods of Puerto Vallarta. The children are not homeless but come from poor backgrounds, with parents on a low income that they may work extremely long hours to earn, or possibly being involved in crime, prostitution or drugs.
The children attend school for half the day, but typically would be on the streets with no parental supervision for the remainder of their day. The centre provides a safe and friendly meeting place for them, with both fun activities and homework support available to them.
In total there are some 60 children attending. Around 25 come to the centre in the morning at 10am, have lunch there and then go to school in the afternoon, returning after school. 35 children are at school first thing, then arrive at the centre for lunch and stay on for activities and homework clubs in the afternoon.
All types of participation from volunteers is welcome; teaching street children in English in particular, helping with the children’s homework, giving training in IT on the 8 computers they have, plus more recreational activities such as dance, music, drama, sports, art & crafts (face-painting and puppetry are quoted as being in demand). It is a wonderful, positive project with the open opportunity for a volunteer to make their own impression.
Also basic workshops are given for their parents to try and help them with employment, in addition to bible study classes which are a required commitment from the centre.
The children and staff speak Spanish so it is a perfect opportunity for volunteers to become fluent in the Spanish language.
This project is suitable for volunteers interested in teaching English, working with street children or with experience in social care.
This is a great project offering volunteers the opportunity to support the education of the children and to lead a variety of recreational activities, including singing, dance, music, sport, craft and art. There are also weekend activities that you could get involved in.
The timetable is very flexible and can adapt to include any sessions that volunteers want to lead, which would be enthusiastically welcomed by Captain Alberto, who enthuses over the diversity of activity for the children.
In addition to teaching, volunteers are needed to help with meals and other pastoral / caring type work. The children put on concerts (mainly singing) and you may be asked to help with these.
There are also workshops for parents, to encourage them to earn their own money and to promote self-help. These are usually through crafts or sewing.
The existing staff are full of passion and work extremely hard to provide the structure and resources they do, while trying to finance it as well.
Volunteers can make a huge impact by supporting the educational activities, giving more time to the children and helping them develop. The energy and talents of volunteers then brings a new dimension to the activities at the centre and the lives of the children.
Finally we caught a glimpse of Chimo… we could see the small settlement on the coast, surrounded by jungle and mountains. It was more beautiful than I had ever imagined…, Teaching, Mexico