Here are a few pictures of the progress on the Trade School. At this point, we've finished 95% of the structure of the school. Now we will be doing wiring and plumbing work, as well as building work tables and desks.
For next year we have carpentry, agriculture, and welding classes set up. It looks like we'll be doing an extensive project with raising tilapia fish, while simultaneously teaching this in agriculture classes for several members of our community. Please stay tuned for updates on this exciting new area of the ministry.
Why Homeschooling is for Us:
At the start of 2015 we made a ground-breaking decision for the future of our kids in the GiveHope2Kids family. We became homeschoolers.
Actually, our homeschooling story started a little earlier than this. Let's introduce you to Daysi. When Daysi first arrived at GH2K, she was 11-years-old, but due to her life circumstances, she'd only had a chance to attend first grade in school. We tutored her for two months, and she was ready to test into the 5th grade level at school.
Unfortunately for Daysi though, the educational system here had just set several rules that: a) made it impossible for students to advance ahead in grades, and b) keeps older students from entering local junior highs. Under these rules, Daysi would have graduated 6th grade at 16, with almost no chance of continuing on with her education.
So, we got creative. We ended up working through an alternative learning program. We've successfully fast-tracked four of our kids now, to help them catch up on the school they missed earlier in life.
In 2014, both Daysi and Carolina worked very hard to complete 5th and 6th grade in one year and graduated from elementary school. What an accomplishment it was for them!
Now both girls are studying at Instituto El Rey. They are on track for finishing high school, and both have dreams of going on to study in university. (Both girls are in need of more sponsorship, if you're interested in helping either of these girls succeed.)
You'll hear us talk a lot about education changing lives, and it could sound a little trite, but for our ministry, it's the real deal. By homeschooling our elementary students, we can take them from struggling and behind, to competitive or even ahead.
For the past 9 months, we've homeschooled our K-6th graders four days a week, and they've attended our village school the fifth day. We have seen so much positive growth in these kids during this year! They recognize how much they're learning and are loving it. So for 2016, we're venturing into full-time homeschooling.
How will this play out? We are now working with the department of education, so we can become an official homeschooling community and have our curriculum approved. In the future, we hope to tie our homeschool program right in with the Trade School, so we can offer our kids even more opportunities to succeed in life.
We will still seek to bless our village school and its students, as this is one of our values. As much as possible, we will continue teaching them computers and English, help the school with renovation projects, and provide them with educational resources.
This is a big undertaking. Please pray that we would have wisdom as we invest in our kid's education. When we consider the rough backgrounds that these kids came from, and then see where they are today, we are so encouraged for the future!
Dia del Nino
Dia del Niño, or Kid's Day, is probably every kid's second favorite day of the year (after Christmas). For this fun-filled Kid's Day, all the kids in the village met at the elementary school for a morning of games, fun, food, and—of course—candy. But the highlight of the morning for all the kids, was getting a turn to hit the piñata. And we didn't just have one, but three whole piñatas! There were so many laughs and so much sugar.
Dia de Independencia
September 15th is Honduras' Independence Day. All the school kids get a chance to march in a parade through their town. This year our kids participated in many special roles in the parade: Miss Independence, the Beautiful Indians, traditional dancers, and cadets. Our awesome house-moms worked hard putting together all their special outfits, and our volunteer Daniel, made ceremonial wooden machetes and rifles for the march. They looked incredible! The march started up at the Urraco school, and the kids paraded the length of the village and back again, with a crowd of family following behind.
Deepening Our Well
Like many places in the world, Honduras has experienced a serious time of drought this year. In southern Honduras this has drastically affected crops and caused concerns of food shortages.
While our climate in northern Honduras is not nearly as dry, we've also experienced some issues with water shortages. Because so many people live on our property, we've decided to take steps to guarantee that we are not left without water in years to come. For that reason, we are working on improving the well that we dug in 2012. We're increasing the amount of water that we can pull from our well so it will be sufficient for future growth.
Hand-digging a well is about as tough a job as you can do, but our guys are doing a great job! We've more than doubled the well's water capacity.
Kind and Responsible.
Daysi and her three brothers have been with us since Christmas 2013. Daysi is currently in 7th grade and is doing wonderful in school! Her grades are very good, and her teachers love her. When Daysi isn't working hard in school, she enjoys readig and cooking with her house-mom and sisters. Daysi also loves dancing! She and the other teen girls on the property frequently choreograph dances for our Friday night Youth Group. Overall, Daysi is a kind-hearted young girl, who loves to help.
Recently, Daysi was considered for the Miss Independence role in the Independence Day parade. Contestants for this position include one individual from every grade who are quizzed on various facets of Honduran history. Even though Daysi didn't end up getting this position (which is typical for first-year students), the fact that she was considered for this position is a testament to the wonderful young lady that Daysi is becoming.
We are currently looking for sponsors for Daysi! If you would like to sponsor Daysi, please click the button below.
We started our sponsorship program nearly 4 years ago. We estimated the amount of money it would take to raise our kids, without having actually ever taken care of children. Now we see, as is too often the case in life, that it takes nearly twice the finances we thought to provide education, a family to look out for them, food, etc. For this reason, we'd like to ask if you would help us provide one of our children this chance for a better future.
Over the next few months, we will be featuring one child a week. Our goal is to have all of our kids fully sponsored by the end of the year. If you would like to be a part of our sponsorship team, please read more here.
School starts right at 8 o'clock here. (Of course, by that time our high school girls have been up for hours and are already studying at Instituto El Rey.) All of the kids start with Bible class, learning about different aspects of God and heroes of the Old and New Testaments. Next, it's time for math and science. After a quick recess, they study Spanish and reading. While the younger kids are now done for the day, the older kids get an hour for lunch and back they come! Depending on the day of the week, they could have English, art, computer, social studies, geography, or physical education.
We have incredible teachers: Our house-moms, Sinndya and Belkis, teach our Kindergartners and 1st graders. Doris is a former student of ours, who has worked with us for almost 4 years, and is now teaching three subjects. Kaitlen is a great volunteer who came for a year and is still here more than two years later. She is also teaching three subjects. Our newest teacher is Ruby, who has a long history with GH2K. She comes with her baby Jason and teaches math every morning. Once a week, Jason (geography) and Sarah (art) teach a class too.
We are blessed to have Sharon Washburn come and share her schooling wisdom with us. The Washburns are the former administrators of Instituto El Rey, and our mentors, so we love adding their heart and experience to our work.
Our kids do love to chat and get distracted, but when they're focused, they do great. Our teachers have done wonders encouraging positive attitudes and behaviors. We are seeing a lot of positive growth in the kids this year, and we are very encouraged for their future!
Thanks to Our Summer Groups of 2015!
We had absolutely wonderful groups come this year. The people were lovely, with great hearts and attitudes, and we made many new friends here at GH2K. We accomplished several great projects, and they all did a great job investing in our kids.
Our first group of the summer, Destiny (AL), came and blessed our socks off with great tools for the Trade School. This group always accomplishes so much when they're here. This year they helped us break ground for the Trade School, they built us school desks and furniture, and they trained our guys how to use a new welder.
Cloverhill (VA) has sent a group to us 7 years in a row! Through the years, they've built great relationships with our kids and staff, and we really appreciate them. This year Cloverhill focused on doing a VBS for our community. They also helped with some painting, cleaning and organizing.
In July, we hosted a great team from Parkside (MN). We enjoyed many thoughtful conversations with these friends and they accomplished so much with the number of people they brought! Their main project was doing a makeover on the first house we built. They repainted all the window bars in this house and put up new screen and window frames, among other projects.