I am a grandmother paddling alone over 2,500 miles from Maine to Guatemala. Along the way I will be:
- telling the story of the children who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump community
- honoring their entrepreneurial mothers
- talking about the success of the Safe Passage model school and
- raising funds for additional grades for the school.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Solutions for Generational Poverty: Guatemala and Virgina

Teacher and student at Safe Passage
There is so much that is similar about the Safe Passage approach to generational poverty and an approach I saw in Virginia.
When visiting with the Rotarians in Kilmarnock, I had a wonderful conversation with Tom Kinney, the President of the Kids First Foundation.   His organization is similar to Safe Passage in that it is addressing generational poverty through education.  It was so exciting to find out how both organizations are using much of the same research that shows how important early childhood education and health are for the future adult.  Tom's organization is organizing and funding preschool programs in their rural area for at risk children, and then involving the parents as well.

Also this week I "attended" part of the Safe Passage board meeting being held in Guatemala via conference call.  I was so energized to hear about the recent work being done with the Safe Passage "school of their own".  An international team has been working on making the Safe Passage Educational Philosophy even more of a living document by involving the staff in the design of the learning methodology for grades 4 through 9.  Thy have visited other schools in Guatemala to see how well their methodologies might fit with our philosophy of active learning.  I was pleased that Expeditionary Learning is one of the approaches being studied by the Safe Passage team, as my grand-daughter, Izzie, attends a school in Denver that has recently adopted that program.  It was such fun to see Izzie as a kindergardener so excited about explaining all of the parts of an insect to her cousins when they found a praying mantis at my niece's wedding.  Just one of the man things she was "exploring" at school.  If you are used to a teacher as a "sage on a stage", then this active learning model of the teacher as a "guide on the side" is so exciting.  It's the type of learning that has been part of the Safe Passage Educational Philosophy for years, and is represented so well in the "Planting Seeds" program started there by Susan and Richard Schmaltz.

Could I possibly be even more excited about Safe Passage than before?  I know that giving my time this year to raise awareness about Safe Passage was so much the right decision!  

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