Category Archives: Our Scholars

A Dream Come True

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As the co-host on this year’s Learning Journey, I cherished the opportunity I had to intimately connect ten of our supporters to the work in which they had invested. While I do my best to connect people to Reading Village’s work throughout the year, the Learning Journey creates the perfect vehicle to directly connect the   …Continue Reading

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

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

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

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

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

Atol: The Drink of Friendship

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I remember the first time I held a cup of atol in my hand. A young Mayan teen, dressed in her hand embroidered, hand woven clothing, handed me a steaming plastic cup filled to the brim with a thick light yellow liquid that smelled vaguely of corn and cinnamon. I was standing next to a   …Continue Reading

Context Matters

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A few years ago I was invited to China to teach a master workshop on facilitation and leadership. During the first day I was invited by several of the students to join them for lunch.  We sat at a large round table that the waiters soon filled with an array of mouth-watering dishes – roasted   …Continue Reading

A Message from Our Scholars: Santiago

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Santiago scored so low on the process for admission into the program we seriously debated whether or not to bring him in. He took advantage of all the support we offered him, and he put in the hard work and effort to improve his reading skills. He became not only one of our best reading   …Continue Reading