It seems that every year that we pray about how to help our local school God shows us something different. Last school year it was going on Fridays and teaching classes; as in all of us, being the teacher in a classroom, as in Faith being the 1st and 2nd grade math teacher, as in John, Jeremy, and Timothy doing PE for a few hours with all of the classes.
This year we knew it was time for tutoring to happen. The community center building has plumbing and electricity - so with some tables, chairs, and dry erase markers we started. Let me back up a bit.
We have wanted tutoring to happen for a long time. Everytime we have made the effort to start it has just fallen flat; not because of lack of need, but probably because of lack of time (and God protecting my sanity). Until recently I was homeschooling everyone. Oh my. In February Daniela, Cindy, and Misael started to school at La Providencia. So that certainly took some work off of my shoulders. Almost as soon as we made the final decision to put them in school, the Father opened doors for help in tutoring. As soon as I released my will, He brought his. Thankful. You can imagine that there is much more to the story.
I want to share some of the special ways that God confirmed His will in this situation. First of all the kids were thrilled about school. Of course they were, I was the issue. And I was thrilled about what I found at the school. So that made what could have been a tramatic transition smooth. God also sent a special trusted friend during the whole decision making process that just encouraged me and spoke truth.
Within a day or two of the 3 kids going to school the special, patient lady that helps me with homeschool 2 days a week shared how she had previously worked with an organization that did after school care, etc. Well that lit me up and I shared our heart about tutoring. She was all in! She volunteered to help on her 2 days a week with us. Wonderful! She is a dear Honduran lady that loves to teach Math, is patient with the kids, expects the best out of them, and gives her time generously. So Glenda (that is the lady), knows a good bit of the ins and outs of helping out a local school, working with kids, and organization. What a blessing. Isn't God good?
Then as soon as I shared with others our heart about the community center, tutoring, and more things that we believe God has given us to do, some really special people gave some special offerings for this. One that was really dear to me was a young man giving the money that his Sunday School teacher gave the class, to share and be a blessing to others. Honestly, prior to considering putting some kids in school, I just hadn't even had the energy to share about the vision.
We then had the best communication we have ever had with the local school. They are always so gracious and open to us, but you could tell that this was going to be a great fit. They even opted to send kids during the regular school day (which has recently been lengthened to 3pm). So we were able to work out a permission slip, communicate with parents, and also have the teachers share exactly what each child needs help in. Those things happened rapidly for here. You could sense the teacher's relief, the excitement of the parents, and the anticipation of the kids.
Our first two weeks we offered to take 10 kids. In talking with the tutorers after those 2 weeks; Glenda, John, Faith, Tim, Reynaldo, Arnold, and guard Eli, we have decided we can add 4 more. We hope to add a few neighborhood youth to help tutor, just waiting to hear back from them. It is also set up in such a way that volunteers would be very easily assimilated into helping.
Each week we learn a little more about what each child truly needs, how we can help them, and are gaining their trust and confidence. So far the kids have been respectful, excited, and open about their lives. We are learning that the help they need isn't just multiplication and reading, but motivation, care, kind and gentle words of encouragement, and a sense of belonging and competence. They need to know that they CAN.
We are excited. I feel so blessed to be able to do this. It is such a joy to me to see kids learning. It is such a joy to help kids that need some help and love. I am thankful for: the building to do it in, Glenda and her knowledge, John and Faith for their willingness and patience, Timothy, Reynaldo and Arnold for being willing to take a leadership position, Eli for helping to get things ready each week, the teachers and parents at the school for trusting us, the special teacher friends that I have that have shared ideas and planning, and for each person that gives and prays for us.
Looking forward to special times with this group of kids and seeing how God works in their hearts and lives.