For many years we have offered a summer program for the students who need extra help with their literacy and math skills. This year we were blessed to have a new group do an incredible job of running our literacy camp.
Melinda Upchurch, a resident of Belize and board member of the local Hope Haven heard about our need. She operates Love Share (www.love-share.org) which helps children in 7 different countries. Love-Share is a non-profit organization founded to come alongside children and locally establish orphanages to provide support and encouragement through educational assistance, connections, hygiene needs, and basic supplies. They believe the poverty cycle can be broken through education, so our summer literacy program was a great fit for them.
Melinda, along with volunteers from the USA ran a fun filled two week camp. In addition to working on key reading and math skills, the students also received a much needed dose of love, encouragement, a safe place to play and the chance to be creative.
As Melinda lives locally, she was able to arrange tutoring for the students who really needed extra help to come up to speed – what a life changing blessing.
Each day the students moved through 4 stations. They did literacy work, math work, outside games and a creative project. Interwoven through the camp was biblical teaching focused on the fruit of the spirit.
The following is a summary from their facebook page which has many more photos.
First week of camp
What an awesome first day of camp. In the projects room today, we read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and then hand painted caterpillars. The kids loved it. Adam had the kids involved in some outdoor games, while Vic had her children make name tags. They even wrote her letters. Adriana took charge in the math room with some fun games.
Today in projects, we colored-by-number—they really enjoyed this. In literacy, they were able to review their ABC’s and begin learning about vowels. In math, they learned how to add fractions with unlike denominators. Adam had some more awesome outdoor games, which is always a hit.
Wednesday was wild. We had some crazy kiddos on our hands, but we loved every minute of it. Here’s some pictures from our projects room today.
Today we worked on recalling facts from what we read and sequencing events. The kids caught on really quickly and are even volunteering to read out loud and started volunteering answers to questions. It’s great seeing the progress show through their confidence.
Friday was a rainy day, so we didn’t have many kids show up. The younger kids worked on spelling and phonics, while the older kids worked on drawing conclusions from passages we read. We made tambourines and played heads up, seven up.
Second week of camp
In literacy we continued practicing our ABC’s and reading. Many of the students have been asking for harder work, which is AWESOME, and more are volunteering to read out loud.
Today in literacy, I brought a more challenging passage and activity, which they enjoyed. But they STILL asked for harder work. It’s so great seeing them improving and working hard. In the projects room, we made bracelets and necklaces. We worked on multiplication in Math. For outdoor games, Adam had them working on their math while tossing a football.
It’s Wednesday. For literacy we continued on reading our more challenging assignments. As the students finished, they asked “What’s next?” and were incredibly happy when I said they could pick a book a read for the rest of class. Some new younger kids are making great progress with their alphabet and sight words.
This was a great day at camp. The overall behavior of the kids was fantastic and we had some great successes in literacy. All of our sight word and alphabet goals were met, and the students have been improving in their reading, still continuing to say, ‘this is so easy.’
Our biggest success was with a student who is not able to attend school regularly. He didn’t know anything about his alphabet on Monday. Today he recited AND wrote the alphabet with minimal help and without singing the song! Seeing the joy on his face is what teaching is all about.
Day 10 – last day
Today wrapped up camp today and it was bittersweet. We’re extremely grateful that we were able to interact with each of these children and, not only teach them math and literacy, but we were able to teach them about Jesus. However, as we dropped off the last bunch of children today at their homes, we felt this sadness come over us. Over the past two weeks, we ourselves had to learn how to use the fruits of the spirit. We’ve fought with these children, we’ve cried with these children, but most importantly, we’ve loved on these children. Today was a day where we did all three.