Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Recruiting for next summer!

Hello socios!

I hope this message is finding you all well. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Johanna, I'm from California, and I worked this summer as a support person on the Costa Rica team. This year, along with ten other GL volunteers from Costa Rica, Nicaragua and the US, I am in a new GL leadership program called Global Leaders. (Please see our recent e-newsletter for more info.) In Global Leaders, I am holding the role of Co-Director of GL's School Enrichment Programs. Part of this new job is to coordinate U.S. volunteer recruiting. My experience thus far with Global Learning has been incredible and I'm psyched about getting the word out about GL to potential new volunteers.

Would you be willing to help recruit new volunteers for GL this year? Your promotion and energy are the key to creating a large and diverse applicant pool. Thank you for doing your part!

Recruiting is a rather simple process that is very well supported by GL documents. From emails to professors to a sample 3-minute talk, we have templates. The only thing you need is your enthusiasm for GL and the desire to share this experience with other people. Recruiting is the most important thing we do all year. It forms our teams and it is thanks to these teams that our programs run.

What follows below is an overview of the GL recruiting plan in the U.S. from now until applications are due on February 28, 2010. The timeline is a suggestion, a template of what has worked in the past.

If you are interested in recruiting, which I hope you all are, please send me an email letting me know and I'll keep you informed and send you more detailed information as needed. I encourage you all to take the initiative to be regional recruiting coordinators and lead the effort in your area.

I look forward to working with you all in your recruitment efforts this year!

Johanna Langill
Co-Director of Global Learning School Enrichment Programs (USA)

Recruiting General Timeline

We had our first training for the US directing teams on the East and West Coasts and set concrete goals for making this year's team diverse not only racially, ethnically and socio-economically, but also in the variety of campuses represented.

We are updating the written information we'll use for recruiting in the coming months.
Volunteers across the U.S. will start planning the informational meetings to be held on our campuses in November (finding a space, putting up flyers, getting the word out).
U.S.-based volunteers will be emailed documents (flyers, email templates, written info to distribute, etc) and Power Points to use when recruiting.

Volunteers in the U.S. will email program info and the 09 application to our friends, family, campus clubs, electronic bulletins, and list serves.
We'll continue to organize on our campuses and publicize the open (informational) recruiting meetings to be held this month.
We will hold the informational meetings.
We will contact professors in order to make 3-minute presentations about GL in our classes and at least 5 classes that are not ours.

We'll continue with classroom visits.
We will contact spring professors about visiting their classes at the start of the new semester.

We will send emails to the interested contacts we've collected from our class visits, with GL information attached and a reminder that applications are due in February.
We will plan for class visits in the spring semester.

We will make 3-minute presentations about GL in our classes and at least five classes that are not ours at our college.
We will make class visits on a nearby college in order to increase the diversity of schools that GL volunteers attend.
We will send emails to the interested contacts we've collected from our class visits, with GL information attached and a reminder that applications are due soon.
Applications are due February 28. Selection interviews will be held February 28 to March 18.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

De Grace: Voluntaria en Costa Rica 09

En estas semanas con el grupo de Aprendizaje Global, en Liberia, he tenido la oportunidad de adquirir mayor conocimiento en distintas áreas. Primero que todo, con respecto a la educación, he tenido aprendido acerca de cómo aplicar la enseñanza de una manera diferente, en la cual alumnos y maestros enseñan y aprenden de una manera mutua. Además, la relación entre ambos (maestro-alumno) es más de igualdad, se nivela la posición de estos, para eliminar de cierta forma el paradigma de “Yo soy el maestro y ustedes los alumnos”. Este método da resultados grandes, lo he podido notar con la respuesta de los niños luego de impartir las clases, ellos se sienten muy agradecidos y esperan ansiosos la siguiente visita de equipo; esto es algo que realmente satisface y motiva tanto a los voluntarios a seguir trabajando por los niños, como a los pequeños a continuar aprendiendo.

Por otra parte, la relación con los miembros del grupo es muy agradable, cuando vamos a las escuelas nos levantamos muy de mañana, como a las 6:00 a.m., desayunamos, hacemos la limpieza del lugar y aprovechamos para escuchar música y de esta manera disfrutamos mucho del tiempo juntos. Luego de terminar las lecciones en las los centros educativos, almorzamos, hacemos trabajos individuales, me gustan mucho, ya que es la oportunidad de interactuar aún más con los compañeros, ya sea haciendo compras en el centro de Liberia o trabajando el las lecciones en las residencias que es donde vivimos. También tenemos tiempo personal, en el cual nos relajamos de muchas formas. Además, todos los domingos tenemos la dicha de poder descansar un poco mas, haciendo giras como a la playa, bosque, etc. Esto nos ayuda a comenzar una semana con gran energía. Algo importante es que todos somos como hermanos, nos ayudamos mutuamente y compartimos nuestras vidas en este mes.

En Aprendizaje Global tenemos la gran oportunidad de tener un intercambio de culturas, esto algo que me gusta mucho, he aprendido mucho de cada uno de los compañeros, locales y extranjeros, todos compartimos nuestras experiencias de vida, las cuales siempre son de gran provecho. En esta organización he trabajado duro con le resto de los miembros de grupo, sin embargo la satisfacción de ayudar es inmensamente grande. Cuando entre a GL pensé que me perdería de unas maravillosas vacaciones de verano con mi familia, pero ahora se que estas han sido las mejores vacaciones de mi vida por que he hecho algo productivo, no solo para mi, sino para los demás y por esta razón quiero mantenerme activamente en el equipo por mucho tiempo. Solo puedo decir, gracias a todos.

Grace Gonzalez Valdez
Voluntaria de Aprendizaje Global, Costa Rica 09

From Lily: GL Volunteer in Costa Rica 09

One week left. I write these words with regret because they signal the approaching end to my wonderful experience here in Costa Rica with Global Learning. Coming into the Global Learning program, I did not have many concrete expectations. I think I was mostly worried about my Spanish skills and excited to work with kids. I could have never anticipated how close I would feel to twenty-one incredibly diverse individuals. What has surprised me the most about my experience here in Costa Rica is the sense of camaraderie amongst the volunteers. There are people here that I feel like I have known for years instead of a few weeks. I am already making plans to visit Boston next year to visit with some of the volunteers who attend school there!

Global Learning has given me so much in terms of making new relationships. I am inspired everyday by the passion of my fellow volunteers. Their dedication not only to the GL program, but also to their personal endeavors allows me to feel more confident about my own dreams. Here, I have met university students, teachers, and even former Peace Corps volunteers. Everyone here believes in the importance of service in a global sense, and I am saddened to leave such an empowering and nurturing environment next week.

Now, onto the children. We returned to El Salto today to do a community project centered around recycling and protecting the environment. I was very surprised by the number of kids that showed up. It was amazing how much trash and recyclable goods we collected in such little time! Seeing children I had taught before and having them remember me was a very rewarding experience. I feel especially close to the children at El Salto because we were able to give special classes to them a couple of weeks ago when their school was technically closed. We were also able to attend a cultural festival there yesterday full of excitement, dancing, recitations, and laughter. I was able to share lunch with some very talkative kindergarten students. They cannot wait until next year when they can participate in the lessons.

Tonight was very special because we had an open house for all present and past volunteers. I was able to meet former volunteers like Javier, who was part of the pilot GL team back in 1998, and who continues to be a major force in the program. It was interesting to be part of a melding of two different generations of volunteers. This coming week is going to be full of planning, teaching, and hopefully a lot of laughter. I arrived in Costa alone, but I am leaving with a family.

Lily Fabela
Current GL Volunteer in Costa Rica 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

GL Honduras Program Postponed

Global Learning Community,

Surely you have all been following the political and social unrest in Honduras reported recently in the news. As volunteers' safety is a primary concern for us in Global Learning, we in the organization have been monitoring the situation unfolding in Honduras carefully. Local partners have been reporting from within the country, and members of the GL leadership team outside of Honduras have been following news reports and travel warnings daily.

Though our Honduran program site near La Ceiba is relatively calm, last week it became very clear that the situation overall is too risky and uncertain for us to hold the new program in Honduras this year. Foreign volunteers selected for the 2009 team in Honduras have been invited to participate in our other programs in Central America which start this month. We will save spots for selected Honduran local volunteers on the upcoming program in their country, which hopefully will take place in 2010. The program has been postponed rather than canceled.

It is certainly disappointing to report that our new program will not be happening this year in Honduras. Of course, the political instability certainly has larger consequences for the people of Honduras who are bravely moving through what is a challenging and tumultuous time. I hope you will join me in wishing Honduran citizens, and in particular our local volunteers, a speedy, peaceful, and just resolution.

It is important to note that the political and social unrest in Honduras is isolated. It has not directly affected our program sites in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. We do not have any reason to believe that the internal conflicts within Honduras will spill over into neighboring countries.

Our long-running programs in Costa Rica and Nicaragua are stronger than ever. I am confident we will have another successful year in our current program sites, and will look forward to a new program running in Honduras when the context has stabilized.

Thank you for your support and understanding. As always, please write with any questions, concerns, and/or suggestions.

All the best,

Jana Kiser
Global Learning Executive Director

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Leadership Training 2009

This month GL program coordinators and support people (assistant coordinators) are gathering in Liberia, Costa Rica for Global Learning’s sixth annual leadership training. The leaders present are preparing to guide the 2009 School Enrichment Programs in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Honduras. Over the course of several weeks new and experienced coordinators and support people are focusing on topics ranging from GL’s pedagogy to accounting systems to conflict resolution techniques.

What follows is a first hand account about how the training is going from ­Ashley Engel, a new GL Support Person who will work in Nicaragua this year.

We´re here! I have been in San Roque, Costa Rica (near Liberia) for a week and a half. As soon as I arrived, I have felt so welcomed by everyone. I live with nine other people in a house that a GL supporter is allowing us to use. We have volunteers from diverse parts of the United States, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Working with such a diverse group is a wonderful experience. Because we differ in nationality, socioeconomic status, personality, religion, ethnicity, cultures, and gender, we all contribute to the group in different ways. Although we are such a diverse team, we all work well with one another as we work to achieve the goals of GL. I love learning about different cultures and experiencing new things while I am in San Roque. I feel as though I am a part of something bigger while working for Global Learning. I am spending my time doing something worthwhile and meaningful and am getting really excited to work in the schools.

A typical training day runs from about 8am to 9:30pm. Our team starts each day eating breakfast together. After cleaning up, we have a training session that lasts about two and a half hours in the morning. Then, we have lunch and enjoy some free time. In the afternoon, we have another training meeting for a few hours, and afterwards, members cook dinner. We have personal time to rejuvenate after dinner and then have another meeting at night.

In the bilingual training sessions and meetings, we are always learning. We have been studying the pedagogies of GL through numerous activities. The coordinators are instructing us on GL´s teaching tools to effectively teach in classrooms. In small groups, we practice these techniques in Spanish to prepare. In addition, we create visuals for the leaders and also other visuals to prepare for the arrival of the volunteers. As a support person, I am able to see the inner workings of the organization. The meetings are full of group activities where we learn about each other, ourselves, teaching, and the organization. The activities are about team­building, collaboration, and forming relationships between the leaders. Although training is about learning and working, the house is always full of laughter, and we are always having fun even through work.

In the house, I feel comfortable around everyone and am constantly laughing. I love learning cooking techniques, feeling like a part of a community, being a support person in an international organization, and learning teaching strategies. I really feel connected to each member on the team. In our free time, we can go to the internet café, which is only two blocks from the house, play cards, go to the town center, and even play soccer in the street. We also go on field trips to bond and to take a break from working to feel rejuvenated. As a group, we already went to the beach. We will be going to a waterfall soon. I feel so lucky to be here and am so excited for the program. I cannot wait for the new volunteers to arrive! See you soon in Nicaragua!
­Ashley Engel
GL volunteer, Nicaragua Support Person 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

January Recruiting Update

Hola a todos! Happy Holidays to you all! Thank all of you for your hard work with recruiting in 2008! We are now moving on to recruiting in 2009! The following message is related to U.S.-based recruiting. An update about how to help in Latin America is coming soon.

During this month of January, most all colleges campuses in the U.S. are enjoying winter vacation. Let’s take advantage of this time to prepare for recruiting in the spring semester. Now that professors, and hopefully you all, are not as busy, let’s make a goal to contact professors and set up at least 10 class visits for the month of February (or whenever it is that classes resume on your campus). Once things are set up, the only thing we’ll have left to do in February is send a quick reminder to Professors and go do the 3-minute class presentations. (Please if you would like me to resend you the emails with the template email to professors, 3-minute class presentation notes, etc.)

This month, we can also use our beloved Facebook as a tool to spread the word about GL. On behalf of the entire recruiting team, I invite you all to donate your “status” to GL, every Monday of the month of January. We can make a big impact if we all change our status to say “Want to volunteer in Latin America?” .

Now is also an opportune time for us to send informational emails to friends and family members who may be interested or know others interested in volunteering. Let’s also send follow-up emails to contacts made from our fall recruitment, reminding them of the deadline for applications and encouraging them to check out Global Learning’s new website: I’m sending a follow up email that has volunteer information with GL’s new website address. It’s the same email that was sent last semester (with the header “Unique Volunteer Opportunity in Latin America”), only with our new website.

Thank you all again for your efforts and for giving back to our organization that has given so much to us.
Un abrazo fuerte,