A Cycle of Service: Yuda Bands Program Students Give Back to their Community
LOCAL STUDENT SERVICE PROJECTS IN GUATEMALA
All students sponsored by the Yuda Bands program in both Zimbabwe and Guatemala help with community service projects once every three months during the school year. Here in Guatemala we have served in our town and in many of its surrounding villages. Our projects focus on helping schools, medical clinics, public recreation areas and wherever we can see that the area and community could benefit from our service.
The Yuda Bands program does focus primarily on education for its students, but we also focus on important values and principles for the students and their parents to apply in their lives beyond academics. We also want our students to learn that while they are receiving help, in the form of a scholarship, they should be trying to help others and their communities in whatever ways they can. Students participating in the Yuda Bands scholarship program give back by serving in their schools, neighborhoods, and communities. Many of these students are very talented and we try to utilize the skills they have to offer.
Since implementing the L.E.A.D program we have completed a many of projects, each unique and suited to community needs. We have painted schools, medical clinics and playgrounds that are in bad condition. We divide students into groups and assign group leaders. We complete large buildings and projects by working together in smaller groups. It’s always satisfying to see grateful smiles from children and people in the communities we serve. We painted a playground named “El Cerrito”, which is enjoyed by many families and a special school for the disabled. We have also rented buses and traveled to surrounding villages and painted small elementary schools in poor condition.
This year the scholarship program students prepared trainings to teach in rural and private schools. Students studying the environment in their classes at their junior and high schools created lesson to share their knowledge. The students practiced in workshops with each other before teaching in the local schools. They focused on the most important concepts and were dynamic teachers encouraging lots of classroom participation. Because of their preparations they did a very good job teaching basic principles of the environment. This year we had two school trainings and next year our goal is to for the students to continue teaching these topics in the villages where they live.
Sanitation and Trash Disposal Education
We have helped to clean up our general neighborhoods in the center of the town and tried hard to change the general mentality of cleanliness in our community. We have brought awareness to the fact that it is up to us as a community to be more careful and conscious of keeping our town clean. We have worked with the city leaders to make our work most effective. We have divided into groups to promote awareness of locations to gather trash and also distributed booklets on the streets with instructions of how to dispose of trash in people’s homes if they do not pay for a trash service.
We participated in a recent government reforestation project. We went to a remote village named “El Agucate, Canajal” about an hour away from our central city. Here we met together to give 50 trees to each family in this village to help reforest their properties and surrounding areas. Two students and a volunteer went along with the family to help them plant and to leave them with a message on how important it is to plant and care for the trees and forestation around them.
Using Skills to Meet Local Needs
Unfortunately, in our town there are even families that don’t have any electricity in their homes. For one of our service projects students and volunteers from the US helped these families by installing electricity in their homes.
We are sure that as the students here in Guatemala participate in these service projects in addition to their schooling they learn values and principles, such as serving with love and helping one another, which will make them better leaders and contributors in their communities.