One note on empathy. It really struck me after listening to staff today and to our scholar in Chuiquel the other day about what school is like for elementary school children here. Most are afraid of their teachers. Although they may no longer physically grab them by the ears or hit them, they still are very punitive and controlling, imposing figures. It’s clear that the children love their promoters more than their teachers. This is the key to our work. If a child enters a classroom scared, her heart is closed and she will be afraid to express herself. If she enters a classroom and she is welcomed with a hug and enters a safe space where she is invited to share her thoughts and opinions, she will open up and express herself— be who she is, find some self-esteem, take steps toward fulfilling her potential. I can’t think of anything we do that is as fundamentally important as that. Daniel (our Program Coordinator) with staff, staff with teens, teens with children.
– Linda Smith, Executive Director of Reading Village