Xela, Guatemala: June 2017
In June 2017, Georgia traveled to Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala for her Ambassador capstone project. Over the course of four weeks, Georgia taught up to four classes each week day at three different organizations. With the help of JUNTOS international liaisons, Georgia used the leadership skills gained through the Ambassador program to bring her project vision to life.
Georgia taught at three locations: Xela’s school for the blind and deaf, Education and Hope, and Caras Alegres. She spent most of her time at the school for the deaf, a place that offers education to students with hearing loss. It was there Georgia taught various ages dance once a day, culminating the month in a piece of choreography for the children.
After her mornings teaching, Georgia either headed to Education and Hope or Caras Alegres. Education and Hope is a non-profit organization focused on increasing access to education and has expanded to offer after-school programs, tutoring, and a family wellness center. Education and Hope also focuses on integrating the arts into their educational services, (a great match for working with JUNTOS!). Caras Alegres is a non-profit organization that provides after-school programming to at-risk children living in the Las Rosas neighborhood of Xela. At both schools Georgia worked on self expression through movement, offering students an alternate method of emotional expression and self confidence.
“My day starts between 7 and 8am and my last class ends at 5pm. At first, I wasn’t quite sure how I’d make it through, struggling to communicate with two languages I’m not exactly fluent in: Spanish and Guatemalan sign language. However, the long days became easy when I saw my eager students smiling. It has been a beautiful experience, being able to share so much time with them and watch them work, change and grow over the last month.”