Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ojos Abiertos

In my quest to find viable volunteer opportunities for teaching English, I recently attended a meeting of a new organizaton called Ojos Abiertos.

"To empower children to grow as individuals and valuable community members through initiatives designed to nurture empathy, support learning, and promote respect and self-autonomy" reads its mission statement.

The founder of the group is a dedicated young woman named Helen who has put together an international team of volunteers to spearhead the program. Their first project will be at a municipal school in Conchalí, on the north side of Santiago.

Last year, I had met with the director of this school. He is serious about improving the lives of his students and is determined to give them more opportunities for success in life. Ojos Abiertos is proposing English and art workshops at this school.

When I visited, I did a brief English encounter in a 7th grade classroom. Like at most Chilean schools, the kids were timid, but curious. By the end of the presentation, most of them had warmed up enough to participate.

Afterward, as I was leaving, one of the girls from the class ran up, leaned into me, and blurted out, "I think you are a very good person."

I put my arm around her shoulders, looked into her shining eyes, and told her, "I think you are a very good person, too."

She gave me a big hug, and an even bigger grin, before running back to join her circle of giggling classmates.

If you have ever considered volunteering, think about contacting Helen at Ojos Abiertos. You will probably receive much more than you can give.

~~Sally Rose
Author of Penny Possible & A Million Sticky Kisses

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