Hillary and Blake are doing their service work at the Batahola Norte Cultural Center, a community center in Managua that focuses on education, the arts, and cultural and personal development. Hillary writes this about their work there: “Our days at the center being around 9 am. We attend the English class taught by long-term volunteers Erika and Kelsey (2013 GC grad). We help out in the class by working with small groups or individuals on grammar exercises, dialogue activities, or pronunciation. After class we often meet with some of the students for additional tutoring if they want it. This has been a fun way to get to know the students, almost all of whom are high school or college age.
Three days a week we meet with a young woman from the neighborhood who wants to improve her English. We work with her for 2 hours a day on reading, conversation and vocabulary. Other ways we’ve gotten involved at the center include volunteering at the library, helping make arts and crafts, and joining in with story hour for neighborhood kids. We have also joined the choir at the center, and we sing with them at rehearsal, Tuesday and Friday evening. The music includes a wonderful mix of classical pieces and Nicaraguan folk songs! The Center is a well-established, well-run place at the heart of this community, and most of our activities involve participating in and observing what goes on here. A definite highlight was attending the talk by Father Fernando Cardenál, the influential Catholic priest and political leader who headed up the Literacy Campaign in 1980! The Center is an inspiring and exciting place to be where we can see first-hand how promoting cultural education brings empowerment and a sense of identity to the community.”