The objective of this very special L.I.F.E. program is to strengthen the children's sense of self and adaptability to their social environment by establishing emotional bonds that will stimulate their development.
L.I.F.E. provides a monthly birthday party celebration for each community center in which it carries out the daily ABC and Play Time programs. This adds up to two L.I.F.E. birthday parties per week! We put up decorations, make balloon animals, provide entertainment (clown, games, dancing), provide a snack and a birthday cake with candles, give birthday presents, and make photo souvenirs for each birthday boy or girl - often the only photo they will have of themselves. A great time is had by the children, their families, and L.I.F.E. volunteers alike.
This program is directed at primary and secondary school children and also those who have abandoned traditional education. L.I.F.E. volunteers give weekly supportive classes in mathematics, language, sciences and English in marginalized districts of Buenos Aires and its suburbs.
Today we face a reality in which many young people not only have not completed their studies, but practically can't read, don't understand what they have read and can scarcely write. We know that a civil society with deficient or limited education will also lead to social problems, as it won't have the ability to generate values amongst its members. This is why our goal is to uproot the model of indifference which is created by marginality ad to build up a permanent bond of support and consultation in order to develop a new culture capable of revoking its old habits.
Currently, our daily ABC activities include School Support and English Lessons.
The objective of School Support is to help the children review what they learned in school or, in some cases, what they should be learning but have not. There are on average 40 students per teacher in their schools. The teachers, who are drastically underpaid, often lack the patience necessary to teach to so many children. Many of the children are undernourished and as a result have a shorter attention span and find learning and retention more difficult. L.I.F.E. volunteers look to see if students can read and do math appropiately for their age. They provide one-on-one support for children who appear to be falling behind. Additionally, coordinators plan activities to stimulate the children's minds and keep them actively thinking and learning.
Children love learning English! Weekly English Classes are a great way for children to receive edicational enrichment. The program also provides the children with a safe space where learning is encouraged and where they get the attention, support and positive reinforcemente they deserve. Program coordinators plan fun and engaging activities that build English vocabulary even for the youngest of participants.
L.I.F.E. provides a monthly birthday party celebration for each community center in which it carries out the daily ABC and Play Time programs. This adds up to two L.I.F.E. birthday parties per week! We put up decorations, make balloon animals,provide entertainment (clown, games, dancing), provide a snack and a birthday cake with candles, give birthday presents, and make photo souvenirs for each birthday boy or girl - often the only photo they will have of themselves. A great time is had by the children, their families, and L.I.F.E. volunteers alike.
During the last couple of years, the annual event of handing out school supplies has been an important L.I.F.E. activity. We all know how essential it is for children living in poverty to have necessary materials, such as backpacks, pencils, and notebooks, in order to continue making progress in school. The school supplies both prepare them for class and motivate them to go to school more frequently.
L.I.F.E. understands how important it is for children living in difficult situations to receive constant recognition. For this reason, L.I.F.E. created the Student Reward Program. All of the children who participate in the weekly L.I.F.E. activities with a minimum of 80% attendance receive a pack of supplies at the beginning of the school year, and then continue to receive materials on a monthly basis. The pack includes cases with pens, pencils and erasers, compasses, notebooks, folders, backpacks, shoes, umbrellas, and even clothing for the children who need it. The rewarded children will also participate in field trips to zoos, theme parks, museums, and cultural centers where they will see a more positive environment, as well as extend their own horizon.
Today, more than 700 students benefit from the multiple positive effects of the Reward Program. Now many children will no longer avoid school because of their embarrassment for not having shoes or supplies. Through this system the kids also learn the importance of continuity and following a routine in order to receive the things that they need. Thay typically don't have this habit as they come from extreme situations where they may not have their own bed or space: it is difficult for them to organize themselves. When the children attend L.I.F.E. classes and activities they develop values and experience, as well as a great feeling of working hard and succeeding at something. Thus, the vicious cycle of poverty and poor education is replaced with positive experiences and encouragement.
The objective of recreational workshops is to help the children have fun in a healthy way, relate and integrate socially, and let their imagination and fantasy fly.
Children who live in socially and economically marginalized communities, in conditions of extreme poverty and without significant stimulation, affection, or quality time with adults, often acquire either aggressive or extremely shy behaviors. Thay may have a hard time relating and interacting with others, and many times lack capacity for deep reflection or thought. Many of them often suffer from delayed maturity.
Through recreation and play, children form the foundations of their moral and ethical development, as well as their critical thinking abilities. Furthermore, responsible recreation helps facilitate a healthy maturation process and encourages sound judgment.
The recreational workshop take place weekly and cover four activity areas: outdoor games, board games, arts and crafts, and story reading. Aditionally, we always encourage our volunteers to bring a special talent that they would like to share!
L.I.F.E. provides monthly humanitarian assistance to an indigenous community living in abject poverty. The purpose is to help members of this ethnic minority group reach a level of social integration that does not compromise their ideals or involve the loss of cultural traditions and customs. The program seeks to find a middle ground between the pressure to modernize and the desire to maintain what is sacred to these people.
The Guaraní people are currently going through a transitional period in their history. The vast majority lives in a state of marginalization and is confronted by a barrier imposed upon them by an unjust society. They are discriminated against and ignored by authorities and leaders alike. Thus, they are left without protection, sanitary assistance, or economic aid. In addition to humanitarian assistance, these communities need to shift their priorirties due to drastic ecomomic and enviromental changes. They need quality advice and training in order to reap the benefits of their resources. Then, and only then, will they be able to achieve genuine self-sufficiency.
Once a month, a group of ten to fifteen L.I.F.E. volunteers travels more than 1,500 kilometers from Buenos Aires to work in this Guaraní village named Perutí. We come offering our support and services including education, training, consultations, and recreational activities for the children. During each trip, we visit around one hundred families - bringing much needed supplies like food, vitamins, tools, donated clothing, quality footwear, school supplies, and hygiene products. In addition, we hold discussions and workshops on such varied themes as civic rights and responsibilities, human rights, women's rights, care and preservation of the enviroment, vaccinations, nutrition, oral hygiene, sexual education, HIV/AIDS prevention, and responsible family planning
To prevent kids from unnecessary exposure to the dangers of today's society, we provide activities that are structured and supervised, as well as fun and educational. For instance, we organize special field trips to various public parks, the zoo, amusements parks, the aquarium, the planetarium, the cinema, soccer games, and restaurants. Not only are these excursions fun for the kids, they also teach them manners and behaviour apporpiate in public as well as provide unique experiences they otherwise wouldn't be able to have.
AIDS is becoming a disease that desproportionaly affects youth: half of all the new infections are of young people aged 15 through 24. These drastic statitics reported by the UN coincide with the ones in our country. Through the AIDS Awareness Program, L.I.F.E. educates youth about this epidemic which threatens humanity. With amterials from the Nation's Ministry of Health, L.I.F.E. holds informational workshops and campaigns to spread awareness about prevention and early detection of HIV/AIDS.
This program carried out through L.I.F.E. by volunteer professionals of different fields in socially disadvantaged and poor neighbourghoods. The cycle of workshops for youth and adults helps awaken and strengthen habits for a better quality of life.
Workshops directed at adults include the promotion of community awareness on the importance of education, nutrition, hygiene, self-improvement, accident prevention, and other daily life issues.
"Dare To Be Different" Workshops are specifically for teenagers. In these places, many times due to the lack of responsible routines in the behaviour of the adults who form the children's enviroment, the children end up resigning to their limitations. By becoming a reflection of the adults around them, this segment of our social reality has no chance to grow or develop.
The workshops teach self-help techniques to approach and overcome obstacles. They are carried out in a network of soup kitchens and community centers located in socially excluded neighbourghoods of Buenos Aires and its suburbs.
A popular activity that is part of the Growing Program is Cooking Classes. The classes provide children with a space for creativity and entertainment and an opportunity to learn something useful that makes them feel productive. This undoubtedly gives them a sense of accomplishment which helps raise their self esteem.
The children work together under the supervision of a coordinator and learn how to cook a different menu or recipe every week. Most activities involve using their hands and decorating. Simple details such as writing out their name on what they are preparing make each child feel unique in what they do. Once the food is ready, thay all share and enjoy eating it!
This activity takes place in one of the most marginalized community centers which we assist. Here, some children start to use drugs, especially sniffing glue, at a very young age of only 7 or 8 years old. Through the cooking classes children are kept busy and stay off the streets where they may wander on their own, learn about bad habits or join gangs.
For all the reasons, Cooking Classes mean more than only cooking. They contribute to the stimulation and growth of the children.