As a Peace Corps volunteer living in Peñas Blancas, I am hoping to participate in the national JumpStart English camp initiative in January of 2015. I truly feel as though by attending this camp, the lives of 20 students will be forever changed. Not only will it provide students with an ideal opportunity to improve their English, it will also better prepare them for their educational futures and teach them valuable life skills they can then put to use as they enter high school. This intensive English camp, which will be held in the escuela of Peñas Blancas, would involve 20 hardworking and motivated students from 3 different communities just outside of Perez. Of these 20 interested students, 11 would be coming from General Viejo, 4 coming from La Hermosa, and 5 from the community that I live in, Peñas Blancas. In the various applications I received from these extremely driven individuals, they have stated that this camp for them is an opportunity of a lifetime that will open so many doors for them and their futures. Some of the students have dreams of living in San Jose when they grow up working in call centers, while others are interested in careers in rural tourism which would involve using English, while others would like to become English teachers themselves someday.
The parents are equally as excited about the possibility of their children being offered this amazing opportunity, about being able to provide their children with educational opportunities and a better life than they themselves were afforded as kids. This enthused group of parents has already been hard at work brainstorming fundraising ideas, which include organizing various raffles and soliciting in kind-donation from numerous local businesses. As another means of collaboration and support for the camp, this group of 20 dedicated and determined parents has also agreed to take on the responsibility of providing snacks for the students throughout the camp, each parent taking on the cost of snacks for one day of the camp. On top of 20 ambitious, interested students and 20 equally as excited parents, the Costa Rican co-teacher that I will be working with to make the JumpStart camp a success, is by far the hardest-working, most inspiring individual I have met in my 8 months having lived in country. While she has a busy home life with three young children and a husband that she provides for, she also manages to teach English classes at the colegio in General Viejo during the day and more English at the night classes at the local technical school. She is very passionate about what she does and believes her work is a blessing rather than a means to an end. Ana Yansi takes a lot of pride in her career and feels honored that her profession allows her to make such a positive impact on the lives of so many students in need.
At this point, we have the interest, the organization, and the commitment necessary to make this JumpStart camp a reality for 20 eager students that will soon be moving on to high school, and facing new challenges, both socially and educationally. As a group, we also have fundraising activities planned to try and raise the funds we need to make JumpStart Peñas Blancas 2015 an unforgettable experience for the students. These students and parents, along with my co-teacher Ana Yansi and I, are taking a very proactive role in doing all we possibly can to transform this dream into a reality-but we certainly can’t do it alone! Any additional financial support that could be provided would be greatly appreciated and very well worth the investment.