Monday, April 7, 2008

Over a month and still going strong...

This week was an interesting one- due to strikes and protests in Buenos Aires, the center was shut down on Tuesday to ensure the safe travel of our volunteers to and from the center. Although we were not sure whether we needed to shut it down, the safety of our volunteers is one of our primary concerns, and so we listened to our ACORN leader’s advice and closed the center. However, other than that, things ran pretty smoothly this week!

We are now offering theater and dance classes in addition to our art and English classes, and a community member also expressed interest in offering adult literacy classes, something we would definitely like to pursue. We still have amazing volunteers coming in every day with new energy and ideas… something we truly feed of off and are starting to rely on.

The kids have had their good and bad days- discipline is still an issue, and the time out chair has not only been implemented, but been well-used. One of the hardest things for me is that it can be very difficult to make kids work and sit quietly and do educational projects after they have already been in school for either the morning or all day. At the same time, if they do not want to do work and instead want to play soccer, I would rather that they were playing soccer at Club Acorn than on the streets with cars rushing by. To combat this, we have started to give more free time and then compliment that free time with work time- we try to create games and projects that will be fun and interactive and different from the regular monotonous schoolwork they encounter each day. Our classes are also amazing in this respect, because we can offer something different for the kids yet it does not seem like school to them. And once again, our volunteers make all the difference- if we can get kids sitting and working one on one, they not only behave ten times better, but they want to work and work harder.

We remain optimistic and excited- working on sustainability continues to be a priority, but with new friends in the BA Pub Crawl, we have new fundraising potential and things seem to be falling into place. We are feeling like we are ready to start reahing out in the neighborhood once again, knocking door to door to be able to reach even more children- we have our basics down, we know how to do this and we want to make sure we are offering Club Acorn to as many children who want to take advantage of these opportunities. So we think on multiple levels- thinking about how to ensure that this program is running in a year, thinking about what to do for new classes, how to reach out to new volunteers- and what art project we should do tomorrow. And who knows what tomorrow will bring— each day is different; each day brings its own challenges, but each day brings its own successes.

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