Cruz Blanca is a small rural community an hour into the dry forest of Tumbes. The community’s only school receives very little funding from the local government and therefore lacks textbooks, school materials, and access to the Internet.
This project aims to improve the quality of the education and access to resources that students receive in Cruz Blanca. The project will lead to the creation and training of a Parent and Teacher Association. In addition, students will go through an Empowerment and Leadership program, which consists of non-formal educational sessions and physical education, such as group sports. The project is designed to help children gain leadership values, improve their classroom performances, and develop a healthy self-esteem, while increasing parental engagement and the quality of the learning environment.
The project received a lot of excitement from the community. People volunteered to paint the learning center, donated essential supplies, and provided resources to aid staff trainings. A Parent Teacher Committee was created with mostly mothers from the community. Their trainings focused on project design and management skills, as well as how to develop self-confidence in children. The learning center is now equipped with new computers and Internet, allowing the students' resources that were not available before. Through interactive activities and physical education, the children developed new skills, engaged with each other and gained more self confidence. Since the project's completion, more parents are participating in school activities and are more engaged in their child's academic life.
"Doing the Reach for the Stars! Project with the elementary school of Cruz Blanca has been a very rewarding experience. The children enjoy the activities and physical education and are gaining more self-confidence and life skills." - Cecilia, Project Beneficiary
"I am excited because the committee has planned and executed many fun events to teach the children about values, professions, self-confidence, and the university. We now have a group of people willing to volunteer and who are trained to plan and implement projects. There's a lot of work to do in the community. I am glad that we are working first with children because they are the future. We have to teach them now while their young values like honesty and respect, and help them gain self-confidence because these principles will serve as the base for their future success and happiness." -Estefany, Project Beneficiary
"It was truly an amazing experience to watch the children blossom and develop new life-skills and self-confidence. I could see a noticable difference in their schoolwork, friendships with one another, and smiles." - Steven, Peace Corps Volunteer
"As a result of participating in the project, the mothers became leaders in the community and were viewed as such by the local municipality. In the past, only the men were considered leaders in the community and held leadership positions in project committees. Times are now starting to change." - Robert, Project Leader
"It was such a pleasure to participate in a project that made a huge impact on the lives of the children. I believe these children are the future of this community. Before this project, the community overlooked and ignored them. However, now the entire community realizes their potential and the need to continue helping students. I am excited to see what's next now that we have our priorities right." - Stefanie, Project Beneficiary