Josué Moisés and his older brother Jorge Luis love to chat with visitors to their home. First topic of conversation: they like to study. Second topic: they like to help their mother with chores, which include a daily task of feeding the family chickens. What they like most of all: to eat chicken, and when they do, they give thanks for the blessing. At the same time, they give thanks for the support of Common Hope, because when they received school supplies from Common Hope, they were able to use the money they saved to buy little chicks.
Alma Marroquín, San Miguel Milpas Altas coordinator, learned all this at a recent home visit with the family of Josué Moises and Jorge Luis. She says this is just one example of the many children she and other social workers have had the pleasure of visiting in recent weeks. This is all part of the continued work of getting to know the community, new to us in 2011 — its needs and goals. In addition to relationship building with families, there have been several new developments in terms of our collaboration with community groups and the school.
Work is underway to make improvements to the public health center building. The goal is to create an office space for Common Hope staff members Alma Marroquin and Sofi Diaz. These arrangements are part of a plan created with COCODES, a group of community leaders that encourage participation of local citizens. Alma and Sofi will move in as soon as the work is completed.
Several of our education promoter staff recently came to the community to share tips and strategies for working with first grade children. Pati Gomez, coordinator of our education promoters, and Ligia Pol, education promoter in San Rafafel, met with members of the school and the community. They have had some great success with their strategies to reach and motivate children on the importance of reading, and the teachers in San Miguel Milpas Altas were grateful to learn from them. Doña Aurora Chacón, president of the COCODES of Health in San Miguel Milpas Altas, also attended the training, with the objective of observing and learning to work with the children.
Quarterly grades for preschool and primary students were recently shared by the school. These will help us to get a better sense of the particular challenges and goals for the community. From the initial review, Alma says that one of the challenges will be to create a stronger tradition and expectation of completing homework and finding ways to reinforce its importance to both students and parents. This will be something to work on in the coming months, as relationship building and collaboration continues.