Introducing Angel

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Introducing the newest member of the Reading Village team – baby Angel! What better gift to celebrate Reading Village’s 10th year than the birth of Angel Alfredo Xitamul! Little Angel was born in February to Luis and Angelica, alumni of our Leaders and Readers Program. The first child born in Concepcion to parents with high   …Continue Reading

Fanning the Flames of Potential

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We work in a country where the dominant narrative among nonprofit organizations is about brokenness, suffering, and scarcity of resources. So, there would be an understandable impulse for an organization like ours see the teens with whom we work as “at-risk,” as people whose lives need to be “fixed,” or as individuals in need of   …Continue Reading

Our Work Has Never Been More Necessary

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If I ever saw a justification for the work of Reading Village it was this. Every year the Skoll Foundation publishes a ranking of countries by social indicators. Their goal is to create a common vocabulary among changemakers, to identify geographic areas of focus, and to celebrate successes made. This spring, the Skoll Foundation put   …Continue Reading

Story Power

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On June 6, 2016, the board of Reading Village gathered from around the country and abroad for its annual board retreat.  At 9:00 a.m., the screen lit up with 6 enthusiastic faces from Guatemala.  The miles vanished and we were sitting across the table from some of the Reading Village youth leaders.  None of us   …Continue Reading

How Reading Translates to Leading

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A few weeks ago the Reading Village Board spent an hour on a Skype call with some of our youth leaders. One of those teens was Alicia. When I first met Alicia three years ago I said to myself, “What a thoughtful, soft spoken girl.” On Tuesday I got to see who Alicia has become   …Continue Reading

The Power of Observation

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Maricela Correa-Chávez and Barbara Rogoff of the University of California, Santa Cruz, published a study that shows indigenous Mayan children when compared to European American children pay more attention to and learn from activities going on in their environment — activities not specifically directed at them. Much of a Mayan child’s time is spent observing   …Continue Reading

Why Guatemala

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People often ask me why do I return to Guatemala year after year. My answer spills out of my mouth with enthusiasm these days. “Because I get to witness the work of the youth leaders and community facilitators of Reading Village.” But that is not how I got to Guatemala the first time. In 2004   …Continue Reading

Even a Duck Deserves a Hug

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Our Experience Teaching Empathy to Young Leaders A few weeks ago, I saw a bumper sticker that read: “I am not good at feelings. Will you settle for sarcasm?”  I got a chuckle out of it. But it also reminded me that we don’t do feelings very well in our culture. Boys in particular, receive   …Continue Reading

Realizing the Multiplier Effect of Books

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Let me let you in on a little known secret: books have a multiplier effect.  A book doesn’t just empower one child; it empowers many.  That’s because children who receive books share that book:  they bring it home to read with their siblings, parents, grandparents.  Together, they point out pictures, sound out words, marvel at   …Continue Reading

Lidia’s Dreams for the Future

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When I met Lidia this past January her personality shined through in so many different ways. She said she was shy, but that’s not what I saw in this outspoken 16-year-old from the rural, indigenous Guatemalan community of Chuiquel. She was thoughtful before she spoke, but she raised her hand often to speak and voice   …Continue Reading