The Centro Explorativo- a student perspective

11 07 2011

The Centro Explorativo (the “Centro”) was established in Nebaj, Guatemala in February of 2003 as a closet-sized library with 100 books as a response to the need for educational resources.  In 2007, the Centro moved to a nearby village of 500 families, La Pista, to better serve those who are unable to travel to Nebaj.  The Centro Explorativo now serves over 90 children, employs 3 full-time teachers, and is the only source of Internet or after-school educational programs in the whole village.   The mission of the Centro Explorativo is to provide the tools and resources necessary to develop a love for learning, reading, and research through exploration.  SECorps students spend a day at the Centro Explorativo focusing on projects related to the upkeep and enhancement of the association. The day is a mutual and meaningful exchange where students from seemingly opposite lifestyles can connect on the simplicity and joy of just being together.  SECorps student, Abby, shares her  “Day at the Centro”:


Today (June 29, 2011) Team Oportunidad visited the Centro Explorative in La Pista.  The Centro is an after-school center that kids can visit to supplement their regular school day with more learning activities. The Centro was incredible; we spent the first half of the day working on different projects (computer literacy program, promotional signs, a map of La Pista for geography class, and a cultural interview project) and the second half playing with the kids. The most memorable moment for me was playing “robot” with the kids (its basically like Simon-says, but with a song).  This event was very important because the Centro is a big part of what we do as an organization. La Pista is the community where Miguel (President of Soluciones Comunitarias) is from so this program and the work we do with the kids is incredibly special. I learned that kids like to touch wet paint (they wouldn’t stop getting their fingers wet from the signs we were painting) and that many of the kids from La Pista really do need an outlet like the Centro for all their extra energy. I had a very memorable game of “tickle tag” with a group of girls, we ran around for twenty minutes until they tired me out and I had to call a truce. Overall we had an absolutely wonderful day and experience at the Centro.


One of the reasons the work as the Centro was so incredible is because
it gave me an opportunity to works hands-on at an education center.
Because the public education system in Guatemala is so broken, places like the Centro have become increasingly important “educational supplements”.


Children only go to school for 3 hours a day, and after school their time is unstructured and not conducive to growing and developing a young mind. For example, while I was working on painting a sign for the Centro, one little boy was fascinated by the paint brush and colors. I asked him if he had ever painted before and he said no. He kept touching the paint, tracing the pictures and letters with his fingers. I realized this boy probably had no opportunities to express himself creatively, especially not with paint. Places like the Centro are incredible for that reason: they open doors of exploration for children who grow up too fast and provide the resources and opportunity for them to explore passions and interests.




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