A small leap over the rope, a big leap for Hermelinda

Hermelinda Jumping Rope

Hermelinda jumping rope at our partner school in Santa Catarina. "We have such admiration for this inspiring little girl," says Common Hope psychologist Flor García.

Hermelinda, age 9, says school work is much easier this year. “Before when the teacher would say a word,” she says, “the letters wouldn’t come into my mind and I couldn’t write them. This year I can.” Since last year, Hermelinda has become an avid jump roper — surprisingly, this may be the key to her leap ahead.

A second grader at our Santa Catarina partner school, Hermelinda participated last year in Foquitos Prendidos, or Lit Lightbulbs. Led by Common Hope psychology staff at our partner schools, the program introduces a series of brain stimulation exercises for first graders. The program’s 15 sessions incorporate physical movement that integrates the left and right hemisphere of the brain and develops students’ memory, organizational skills, peripheral vision, ability to concentrate, and cognitive functioning.

When Common Hope psychologist Felipe Bagur first brought jump ropes to class last year, Hermelinda had a very hard time. She also struggled mightily with jumping jacks. Felipe and her teacher told her she needed to practice as much as she could. As Common Hope Psychologist Flor García describes it, “We met a shy, insecure, and incredibly uncoordinated girl with learning difficulties. She responded to most of our activities with ‘I can’t.’ But after experiencing small victories like jumping rope, hitting a ball with a racket, or juggling with handkerchiefs, which she loved, she began to believe in herself and get better.”

Today, Hermelinda can jump-rope up to 20 times in a row before catching her foot. Plus, she seems to enjoy the exercise. “Every day I go home, change clothes, do my chores and homework,” says Hermelinda, “and then I do jumping jacks and jump rope.”

Flor says that it has been a joy to watch Hermelinda’s transformation. “During recess she would ask for the jump rope,” says Flor, “and you could see the pride in her face when she said ‘Look teacher, I can do it!’ It was a wonderful gift to get to know her. We have such admiration for this inspiring little girl.”

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2 Responses to A small leap over the rope, a big leap for Hermelinda

  1. Paige June 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    My son (also from Guatemala) had the same issues with both learning and motor skills. After two years of going from one specialist to another, we finally determined that he had language processing issues…and auditory dyslexia…and that one of the common but odd ways in which it presents itself is in the motor skills area. I am very proud of this girl for doing so much with this simple but effective program…and encourage the adults around her to determine if she does indeed have a learning difference that could be helped even more through additional intervention/work.

  2. nancy chirhart June 26, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    hola, mañana, cuando yo soy voluntaria a la escuela en Santa Catarina, yo tengo a buscar para Hermalinda……..gracias, me gusta la historia. Nancy Chirhart

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