Turrialba is a bustling city of about 80,000 residents laying a lush green valley surrounded by coffee plantations in Costa Rica.
The community’s acknowledgement of English as a tool has been providing the children of the city with opportunities to become the first members of their families to go to the local University. However, with the strict language requirements to enter the University and the unequal distribution of access to English classes throughout the community, many students fall behind as they enter high school stressed about their lack of English and their abrupt transition into adolescence.
In the upcoming year, for the first time, JumpStart! Turrialba will be working with at-risk youth to make an impactful impression on their high school experience by providing them not only with interactive English classes, but also with the life skills to succeed in high school.
In 2015, we will be working with 5 schools, all of which receive little exposure to English. These young students are on the ledge between dropping out of school and taking the first important steps towards being the first University graduate in their family. This year we will also be piloting a new exchange with the student teachers at the local University of Costa Rica, allowing them to practice teaching in a dynamic setting while getting to know some of their future students in a fun environment. Student teachers will also help motivate students with their own stories of how they got into the University.
In a city that suffers from high cases of homelessness, teen pregnancy and drug abuse, Turrialba is a community that is actively searching for a chance to offer these highly motivated students the opportunity to succeed and enjoy learning a language that will offer them a better life with the benefits of outside support.
Below: Turrialba Volcano overlooking the JumpStart site
Below: artwork in Turrialba