The pandemic forced us all to change the plans we had for this summer, but that didn’t stop us from creating fun memories and enjoying these past few months. For the volunteers at Rancho, they were still able to come down to Mexico to help teach the orphans several classes in our summer camp program. Summer always goes by too fast, and their weeks flew by in a blur of games, beach days, bonfires, and teaching. We’d like to share the incredible experiences they were able to have and highlight the hard work they all put in to make this program a success.
“English class has exceeded my expectations and I’m really impressed at how willing the kids are to learn. I feel like I’m actually teaching them something useful and a skill that they can use.”
Grace went down to Mexico to teach courses on first aid. When asked about her experience, she said that she enjoyed teaching the children skills that would benefit them in the future. Though creating a schedule was hard at first, they were able to figure out a system that worked. The children loved their classes and were able to learn a lot!
“I feel like I’ve impacted the kids because of the friendships I created with them. I feel the interactions they make with others are crucial and they should learn to bond with other people besides their house parents. It’s important for them to feel loved and I think I’ve created that with them.”
Alli decided to teach ukelele lessons to the orphans this summer. The class went well and Alli was able to use colored stickers on the frets to help the children learn. From time to time she would come into the art class, which was a fun experience as well. The schedule the volunteers created worked well and allowed them to have breaks in the afternoon. Though pre-school and the cooking classes were a little bit harder to manage, the volunteers were eventually able to get things to run smoothly. New programs are always a learning experience and we are thankful to the volunteers who helped us refine this process! When asked about her experience Alli says, “It’s been great, I’ve loved it here! I wish I could stay longer!”
“I feel I was able to make a difference for the other volunteers through my translating and alleviating the language barrier for those who didn’t speak Spanish.”
Andrya grew up attending trips to the orphanages and was able to refine her Spanish during a year abroad in Colombia. Though prior knowledge of the language is not required in order to volunteer, she was a big help for the others who needed translation. Due to her fluency, Andrya was able to have a more administrative role and helped provide direction to the other volunteers. She also taught dance lessons to the children as part of the summer camp program.
“Since I’ve arrived, I feel like the kids are a lot more excited to participate in each class since I always validate them and praise their work.”
Jacob taught a variety of classes to the orphans this summer and says that he bonded with the kids more than he expected to. The volunteers spent a lot of time with the children outside of class and were able to form meaningful relationships with them. Jacob also says the children cooperated well the more they got to know him, and that they did a good job participating.
“We started art this week and the kids have been really really happy with it.”
Melissa was able to teach a variety of classes to the children, including art, cooking, and English. As they worked with the children and listened to their feedback, they were able to modify classes and the schedule to help things run smoothly. Though planning beforehand was difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were still able to make the summer camp a success.
“I truly enjoyed seeing how involved [the children] are, and responsible.”
As a fluent Spanish speaker, Emely helped the children a lot with reading. She was able to read out loud to them and understand what level they’re really at. One of the children she worked with is 10 years old and could only recognize ten letters in the alphabet. Emely taught him the letter “L” with the corresponding sound. After repeating it to himself he came back to her and proudly repeated it out loud. In her own words, “I know these are small steps but once it’s added up, it’ll make a great difference.”
“There were a lot of smiles and laughs even with a language barrier.”
Jerod was able to help the children with math while he was in Mexico and worked through problems with them. Another success the volunteers had together was keeping everyone engaged. The orphans picked the activities and the volunteers made sure to apply any suggestions from them.
Kylee and Remonda
Kylee recently arrived down in Mexico and is planning on staying down in Rancho for a whole year! She wants to help with English and any other staff needs. During the summer camp program she helped the other volunteers as well. Kylee is interested in working with orphanages long term and we are happy to have her help. Remonda was a summer camp volunteer and helped with English, reading, art class, and sports and recess. We know the niños loved all their classes and their teachers!A huge thank you to all our summer camp volunteers for all their time and effort down in Mexico this summer. In the words of Valery, one of the orphanage workers, “The kids this year were desperate awaiting these classes because they were so bored without school. I can tell they always have the most fun when the summer camp comes around.” This is a fairly new program and we are excited to see how it will develop in the future.
This could be YOU in 2021! Contact us if you’d like to plan an unforgettable summer in Mexico working with children and befriending others your age! What’s not to like?