How One Question Can Change Anything

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I recently read a piece in the New York Times about Kyle Schwartz, a Denver-based teacher who began asking her students to complete the following sentence: I wish my teacher knew… The responses were astounding, heartbreaking, inspiring, and enlightening. They gave Ms. Schwartz new insights into her students’ challenges and motivations. One student wrote: I   …Continue Reading

Rainy Season

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School is in session in the Department of Solola, Guatemala.  Our youth leaders of Reading Village are deeply involved with their personal studies, learning daily how to engage young children in reading activities, and assisting their families with daily chores to keep households running.  And all of this during the rainy season. In Solola during the   …Continue Reading

The Truth About Teens

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  Eight years ago when we first began thinking about community-based reading promoters, a group of Guatemalan advisors cautioned us saying: “We’re going to tell you the truth about teens. You can’t build a successful literacy program that depends on teen-age kids! At that age they are just too distracted and unpredictable.” Despite warnings from   …Continue Reading

A New Community, A New Opportunity for Impact

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    On a site visit last month I found myself in Chaquijya observing our youth leaders doing reading activities with young children. It’s always refreshing to be back in the field, witnessing the impact of our work first hand and building relationships in new communities.  Chaquijya is our newest partner community in Guatemala, and it’s   …Continue Reading

A Powerful Impression

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During a group discussion on our recent Learning Journey in Guatemala, I challenged my Guatemalan colleagues to recount for our travelers any tales of impact and inspiration from their work. In that moment, my colleague Brenda, one of the Community Facilitators who mentors the youth leaders, offered an example from the community of Chaquijya, one   …Continue Reading

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