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Meg’s English 12 Project

30 May

Doing this project has allowed me to explore my passion and find things that intrigue me and make me wonder what I can do to make a difference in the world. Because that’s what I really want to do. I want to make a difference in the lives of people in the developing world. I want to end poverty. And I know now, having been to Honduras and having done this project, that I’m on the right track. Through these experiences, I’ve discovered that change is possible, you just need to believe in it. Having realized this, I found something that I know I’ll need if I ever want to create change. I found faith. And that’s something without which, I could never hope to fulfill my dream. Because a dream without something to believe in is one that will never come true.

Link to video: http://youtu.be/G2jwZTTcVrc

Megan Steeves – Gr. 12

YHS and El Hogar: An Empowered Exchange

28 Apr

By Gina Cai

On a cool early Saturday morning in April 2015, a group of 10 Yorkies and 3 chaperones ‒ Señora Marte, Madame Forte and Ms. Kelly Van Unen ‒ embarked on a journey to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The final destination of our service trip was El Hogar ‒ a home and school for at-risk and homeless children and youth from ages 6 to 15. For some of us, this was the first time traveling to a developing country, but ultimately, we welcomed the new experience by eagerly exploring the local Honduran culture. In addition, through participating in literacy development, project work like painting, and hosting student-led workshops, we were driven by the common goal of helping underprivileged children realize their potentials.

 

After a tiring day of travel filled with stressful flight connections, the bright smiles and bear hugs waiting for us overwhelmed us with love and rejuvenated our travel-weary spirits. img_2124xThe children at El Hogar were not only full of energy, they were also a curious bunch, asking for our names, where we came from, and when we could play with them; some observant students even asked about the filter tube in my giant thermos bottle. Their eagerness to get to know us better was their special way of inviting us into their big family.

 

Following this warm welcome, we hopped into a van to Santa Lucia, 20km outside the capital city, where we had the opportunity to bond with around forty girls from the young ages of 6 to 18 who are current students and graduates of El Hogar. Over the Easter long weekend, the younger girls went to live with the older graduates at the El Hogar dormitory in Santa Lucia, while the boys stayed at the main home and campus in the capital city. img_0010xAfter the girls graduate from El Hogar, they are financially supported to attend a local private school. Shortly after our arrival, our laughter and stories filled the dorm as we cooked, danced, and sung together. We ended our rewarding first day in Honduras with a communal dance celebration. 

 

Before the trip, we had only heard of the poverty-stricken and often harsh living circumstances that the girls and boys of El Hogar came from, including suffering sexual abuse from family members and burdens from taking care of handicapped parents. When we interacted with the girls at their home on the first day, we were amazed by their infectious happiness and unbreakable sisterhood. However, we were inspired on a different level when we visited Virginia Sapp, a local private school, and watched the older girls integrate into a brand new environment compared to El Hogar’s to achieve academic success independently.img_0443x When we asked the girls about their thoughts on their futures, they weren’t afraid of telling us about their ambitious goals of becoming doctors, lawyers and leaders in their fields. After touring the campus of Virginia Sapp and interacting with the girls and the other students at the school, we left feeling optimistic about the prestigious education these young girls are able to receive and were sincerely proud of their active choice to make the best of their opportunities and pave their own ways to actualize their promising futures.

 

When we were back at El Hogar for the rest of the week, we became very immersed in the loving and hopeful environment that the children and staff created. El Hogar holds true to its name, which means “the home” in Spanish, for it quickly became our home despite the fact that we were in a foreign land. Never before have I dared to trust and love others as freely as I did with the children at El Hogar. To the children, we were not mere strangers; they knew that we had chosen to dedicate some time in our lives to be there with them and teach them and love them. In return for the time and effort that we offered to them, they expressed their sincere gratitude by opening their hearts to us, without any hint of judgement or reservation.

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One of my favorite teaching moments throughout the week was the special music lesson that I gave to Gabriel. As a passionate pianist, Gabriel seized the rare opportunity to play the piano (the children don’t usually have access to the musical equipment). Without hesitation, Gabriel dedicated 100% of his attention to me while I taught him new songs. When I congratulated him on his natural talent for music, I saw one of the most humble and happy smiles from his heart. It was one of the rare moments when I could literally see the bursting potential in someone. Despite the dusty and half-broken piano keys, Gabriel was determined to master the songs.

 

In my remaining classes later that day, I saw Gabriel’s unswerving determination in the other children as well: when they were working on high level math problems, practicing the fundamental values of academic integrity, conducting eloquent interviews as journalists for a day or trying to read a story in one breath. The level of understanding and maturity displayed among the children reaffirmed the reason I was at El Hogar ‒ to be a role model for the children and encourage their individual pursuits to become future leaders of their community, state or nation.img_0846x

 

The trip was full of surprises, as none of us had expected the number of “firsts” that we would experience throughout the week. Some of us attended our first church service ever at a Spanish church, while others got their first tastes of “Honduran nachos,” an appetizer made with delicious cheese and refried beans. In addition, we also painted an entire building that housed the arts classroom, visited a very poor home where one of the students came from situated on a construction site, and made over 100 friends within a week.img_0222x


We had left for Honduras hoping to empower these young children through literacy development and student workshops; however, in reality, the impact that the children made on us took on unexpected proportions in a way that changed all of us for the better. We strived to create small changes, one at a time, within each child, and we witnessed some inspiring transformations, especially within the new students at El Hogar. For example, a fourteen-year-old boy named Juan Pablo along with his eight-year-old and six-year-old sisters had just arrived at El Hogar two weeks before we did. At the beginning of the week, Juan Pablo had always fixed his gaze on the ground and wore a dejected look on his face whenever we walked past. By giving Juan Pablo and other new children to El Hogar the emotional and mental support that they lacked and by encouraging their every attempt at adapting to the new lifestyle at El Hogar, we soon saw their stubborn frowns break into some of the purest smiles. For our brave efforts at reaching out to the children most in need of our help and love, we were rewarded with the gift of gratitude and some lasting relationships that we will sustain through letter writing, skyping and fundraiser projects between YHS and El Hogar. At the end of the day, it was our passion for building connections with the children and commitment to kindling their aspirations that became our best manifestation of the YHS motto: “Not for ourselves alone”.

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April 10th, 2015

10 Apr

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Nicole

Today we got to do a home visit and see one of the houses that a couple of kids had come from. The juxtaposition between the wealthy houses down the road and the rundown shacks that these kids lived in was startling. The mother of the house we saw was still proud of her home because it was very clean and she kept it that way. We also got to visit a market and do some souvenir shopping which was really fun. Despues nosotros jugan con los niños. It was an eye oppening day and no one is looking forward to saying goodbye.

Lucy

We visited one of the student’s home today. Seeing the condition of the house was an eyeopener for me, and Señora Marte said that the house was actually not as rundown as some of the others that she had seen before. Afterwards, we visited the market where we bought souvenirs. Soy muy triste porque es la ultima dia.

Gina

Fue el día con mucho amor y reidos. We thoroughly enjoyed all of the activities today from the home visit to shopping at the market to saying our last goodbyes at El Hogar. Estoy muy triste que vamos regresar a Vancouver, Canada pero voy recordar todos que paso aquí a El Hogar!

Brianna

Today was a really emotionally day. First, we visited a home of one of the students in El Hogar. It was eye opening to see how rundown their shack was beside a single mother and her two daughers under four smiling proudly. At night, we had a farewell party where the students sang some songs and a couple students talked about how much they appreciated us coming and that we were all siblings. Yo lloró cuando he visto algunos chicos que estaban llorando.

Magali

¡Que día emocionante! Me dio pena decir adiós a los niños y a los maestros y maestras del Hogar pero espero que soló es hasta la próxima. It has been an incredible experience to meet new friends in Honduras. I am grateful I was lucky enough to come and chaperone a group of such amazing students and leaders that made this experience even more special for me.

Meg

Today was a great day and the perfect way to end our trip. We got to see one of the homes that some of the children have come from, which was a great chance for us to see the difference between where the kids were and where they are now. We also got to go to the market to souvenirs. Then, to end our day, we had a little celebration with the kids and teachers. We sung some songs for one another and we exchanged a few gifts. They day ended off with ice cream for all of the staff and students of el Hogar. But now our trip is over and we have so many memories. Y yo sé que quierido volver una día. ❤

Maggie

I learned so much today! Seeing a home of a lady who lives in Honduras with her kids and seeing a very different life style to mine, experiencing a Honduran market, and learning more from the kids. It was the perfect end to a great trip. ¡Gracias Profesores!

Bridget

Today we said goodbye to all the kids. First we had a small ceremony where we sang songs to eachother, played instruments and danced. Then we shared thank yous with all of them and finally, we got to give them ice cream, a huge treat for them. Es una día muy triste, pero tambien muy feliz.

Jenna

Today was an amazing day! We started off by seeing a house of one of the children at El Hogar. It was very hard think about all we have when we were looking at how small the house was for 3 people.

Later, we had the opportunity to have an evening full of music, smiles and a few tears. We all sang songs, gave big hugs, had ice cream and said goodbye.

Marysa

The entire day was a highlight for me. We had such an incredible day at the market and interacting with the boys back at El Hogar. It was really sad to say goodbye, but they are so sweet and generous and made it impossible to not want to come back!

Alicia

El dia es la ultimo dia. I had a really awesome day today. I spent a lot of time with the kids and they also wrote their names all over my newly bought El Hogar t-shirt. I will miss the kids very much and hope to come back.

Kelly

This trip has been a dream come true! I have been surrounded with incredible love the entire week both from the York House girls and the children of El Hogar I feel truly blessed!

Sra. Marte

Este día fue increíble. Fuimos a visitar la casa de uno de los alumnos que viven en El Hogar, fuimos de compras en Valle de Ángeles, pasamos la tarde con los niños, hemos hablado por Skype con la clase de mi hijo Westley, y la clase de español 10, y al final celebramos con los niños con helado y galletas.

This trip was more than I could of imagined. Thank you to the 10 York House Spanish students who made the adventure what it was. They were remarkable with the children, playing with them, singing with them, teaching them, and loving them. Thank you to Mme Forte for her help, support and enthusiasm. Thank you to Kelly Van Unen for organizing activities her, for her endless energy, kindness and friendship.

With everyone’s help we were successful in building relationships and connecting two vastly different worlds.

Jueves, el 09 de abril, 2015

9 Apr

Sra. Marte

Hoy en la cuarta clase me entrevistaron, fue una experiencia maravillosa. ¡Los niños de El Hogar son ángeles!

Nicole

Today we finished painting the art room, which is good because it smelled incredibly toxic in there! Nosotros tambien leer con los niños pequeños. Nos leamos el autobus magico! We also got to write letters with the oldest boys and they were so excited. It was really sweet.

Lucy

I went to the grade 2 classroom today, and read with a few students. One of them was Katilina. She was so adorable and we became really close during our reading session. She kept finding me for the rest of the day. Los niños leen muy bien.

Meg

We had a great day today. We got to spend time with the kids in their classes and we finished painting the art room. We also did the last of our letters/photo frame sessions with the oldest boys which was a lot of fun and way less messy than the other nights when we had the younger kids. Me gusta todos los chicosy chicas!

Gina

Fue una día muy especiale y divertida! I am glad that we finished our painting project today and I greatly enjoyed teaching the children in the afternoon. Afterwards, I read stories with three children including Edwin the curious reader! We finished off the day with our evening activity – letter-writing and polaroid photo & frame-making – with the older group of boys who were both very intelligent and kind!

Brianna

Today was our last full day to spend with the children at El Hogar. My favourite part of the day was when a little boy ran up to me and gave me a card he had made. It was incredibly sweet and touched my heart. Hoy es una día que me recordare para siempre.

Bridget

Today, we worked in the grade 1 classroom and helped the kids do their math work. Then, we had our last card-writing session. Me siente muy triste porque es casi la fin de este semana.

Maggie

Today I helped out in a grade 3 class room. The kids were planting frigoles (beans) and watching them grow! Although we are in another continent, kids are the same everywhere! There was excitement and energy radiating from the class room.

Alicia

Today, I helped out in the grade one classroom. I enjoyed helping children learn to read. I also helped children write cards to their penpals. Hoy es una bien dia.

Jenna

Today we got to Skype my classmates in Canada and it was really fun! We got 5 boys from El Hogar and they asked the girls in Canada questions and vice versa. Another highlight was the food today. They served us cereal, fresh fruit, chicken, rice, pancakes, and so many delicious things.

Marysa

Today I had the opportunity to read with some boys during their breaks throughout the day. It was very powerful to have them read to me in English and then for me to read for them in Spanish. By helping each other, I think we really strengthened our bond.

Magali

Disfrute pasar tiempo en las clases de cuarto grado y de primer grado hoy. It reminded me of the time, just a few years ago, when I was teaching in the Junior School. The little kids in grade one were so enthusiastic and affectionate, and the students in grade four impressed me with their knowledge of and passion for politics and democracy. ¡Que escuela fantástica y que experiencia especial para nosatras, alumnas y profesoras!

Miércoles, el 08 de abril, 2015

9 Apr

Sra Marte

Hoy fuimos a la escuela Virginia Sapp. Me gustó mucho ver las chicas de El Hogar estudiando en esta escuela privada. Luego comemos en un restaurante que nos sirvieron comida muy rica. Llovió allí, que sorpresa.

Nicole

Today we visited Verginia Sapp, the private school that the high school girls aTHttend. It was a beautiful school and we got to talk to a few of the kids in both Spanish and English. We also had lunch at an off site restaurant. ¡La comida era muy deliciosa!

Meg

Today in the morning, we got to see some of the girls from Santa Lucia when we visited their school, Virginia Sapp. It’s a co-ed private school that isn’t so different from our own (aside from the boys of course). Many of the students spoke some English so we were able to talk to them in both languages. After visiting the school, we went to a restaurant for lunch, where we had an appetizer of Honduran nachos, which are basically cheese and refried beans. Era muy bien y quierido lo come mas veces. In the evening we did another arts and crafts/letter session with the kids and it was a lot of fun, as always. One of the boys decided to rub two stickers together to get sparkles and another introduced himself to me as Megatron! I found out later that his name is actually Abraham.

Lucy

This morning, we visited Virginia Sapp. Virginia Sapp is a private school where a few girls from Santa Lucia go. After visiting the school, we went to a restaurant where we tried traditional Honduran nachos. In the evening, we had another picture/letter session with the kids. Los niños debujan en las cartas.

Bridget

Tonight I helped the boys write letters and they were all really excited to receive cards from Canada. Despues, nosotros hemos bailar y cantar con ellos.

Brianna

Today we visited a private co-ed school in Virginia Sapp. It was nice to see the students so happy to be at school. We also went out to a restaurant for lunch that served really good nachos. ¡Fue una día muy divertida!

Maggie

Today we drove out of the bustling city of Tegucigalpa and into the mountains. Instead of the beating sun, we were in the clouds! We stopped for a delicious lunch at a restaurant where we treated ourselves to authentic Honduran nachos and other foods. ¡Estoy muy impresionada para la comida de Honduras!

Alicia

Hoy nosotros vamos la escuela de Virginia Sapp. We also had lunch on the mountain, which was really nice. In the afternoon, we painted part of the outside of the art room and part of the inside.

Magali

We spent most of today outside El Hogar, visiting the secondary school of Virginia Sapp which is very similar to York House in many ways. It’s a very academic and welcoming environment and it felt like a privilege to be given a tour of this beautiful campus. Nos hemos pasado un tiempo increíble para el almuerzo en un restaurante escondido en las montañas cerca de Tegucigalpa. ¡No me voy a olvidar la comida o la vista!

Sra Marte

8 Apr

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WOW what an amazing day!! We spent the day in the classroom with the children working on literacy development. Hemos leído con los niños, también les enseñábamos escribir y hacer matemáticas.

Another one of my highlights today was Skyping with my Spanish 9 class at YHS. Connecting vastly different worlds.

Sra M

Kelly

8 Apr

kelly

I am feeling extremely grateful to have such an amazing group of youth and teachers from York House on this trip with me! We are having an incredible time together sharing in the life of the children at El Hogar!

Nicole

8 Apr

Nicole

Hoy yo leo con los niños del grado 2 y son muy bonitos. We also saw a litter of kittens being fed by their mother (who keeps breaking into our dorms in search of food.) Hoy es un día llena de los cosas adorables.

Meg

8 Apr

meg

Today we did some more hands on work with the kids. We read to them in the morning, and in the evening, we helped the girls to write letters and make photo frames. Tambien, nosotros vemos los gatitos.

Marysa

8 Apr

My highlight of the day was spending time with the Grade One kids and teaching them how to read. They were working so hard and were very happy to practice their knowledge. ¡Tambien, nosotros pintamos (pintar) una pared de la escuela azul!

marysa