A little bit about La Lucha!

La Lucha is a small agricultural community of about 400 residents that is located approximately 3 km north of the Costa Rica/Panama border. The main economic activity in La Lucha is the cultivation and production of coffee. Most adults work on coffee plantations and, because of the lack of economic alternatives, most children are expected to grow up and do the same. While coffee cultivation and production is lucrative for an elite few, a majority of those involved work long, hard hours in exchange for a meager salary. English is one of only a few avenues that, if pursued, provides students with an economic alternative to coffee cultivation and production.

This is the incipient year of JumpStart La Lucha. Students will be coming from 7 local elementary schools, all of which are very rural and provide little to no English instruction. Because of La Lucha's proximity to Panama, many students are indigenous Panamanians who travel with their families to help pick coffee during harvest season. Often, these students miss school to assist their families in the fields. For this reason, many are extremely ill-prepared for the demands required of them when they reach high school. Thus, JumpStart aims to equip rising local 6th graders, both indigenous Panamanians and their Costa Rican classmates, with the skills necessary to be successful throughout their high school career. While the focus of the camp is to improve proficiency in English, students also improve their confidence, leadership skills, and desire to learn—all of which increase their overall chances of success in high school.

The student applicants are not the only ones who recognize the importance of JumpStart, however. The community of La Lucha, and the surrounding communities of participating elementary schools, all acknowledge the importance of learning English in today's world. These communities have already demonstrated support by pledging to donate a variety of camp necessities, including but not limited to: food, transportation, and a cow. Yes, you read that last item correctly: a cow! One prominent community member has pledged to donate a cow to serve as a prize for a forthcoming community raffle, of which all proceeds will go towards JumpStart La Lucha. Such strong community support demonstrates that JumpStart is made possible only when the community shares the same goal as the volunteer and his or her project partners. In La Lucha and its surrounding communities, that goal is to give students an opportunity to improve their English, themselves, and their community through JumpStart La Lucha. 

                                  This is the cow the community has donated!