By Melissa Mazurkewicz, Executive Director
Cambio Creativo has always been dedicated to youth education. For many years we have been offering workshops and activities related to education and creativity with the help of volunteer teachers, artists, activists, and workshop presenters from Panama and abroad. As we our organization becomes more structured, we have launched an after school program with elementary students. This year, thanks to a grant from the Strachan Foundation, we are consolidating our tutoring sessions and monthly workshops into an educational program focused on helping students with their homework, especially as it regards to math and reading, two important subjects for any individual. Participating students also receive a meal through our Soup Kitchen.
During February, Elias Santos Dubón started to provide math reinforcement and Spanish to a group of 7 children. In March, we hired an Education Coordinator, Beatriz Abre. Alongside her assistant, Kaina, they are tutoring in Coco Solo every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday to a group of 15 children. Starting this month, Beatriz started working in Buena Vista with a group of 13 kids. Towards the month, we will welcome our first volunteer teacher for 2015, Jeniffer García, a student from the University of Michigan, who will be with the organization for two months. In addition to evaluating each student individually, Beatriz is in touch with their school teachers to ensure each child receives adequate and personalized attention. We will also conduct workshops throughout the year to integrate math and reading into artistic and culturally stimulating experiences that evoke creative thinking and the development of new skills.
This year’s goal is for each student to pass the school year successfully. We want to continue working the same cohort of students through high school, adding a new student as others graduate. Our overarching goal for this educational program is to contribute to a decrease in the high dropout rates in Colon, increase high school graduation rates and encourage these students to pursue higher education.
We thank the Strachan Foundation and individual donors for their support, especially Elias Santos Dubón and Jesús Blanco for making the educational program a reality!