For those of you that don’t know, the VAC Mini-Grant program is intended to support volunteers’ community initiatives by providing a streamlined source of small cash grants. However modest, PCVs have come to rely on the $50,000 COP (equal to approximately $17 USD) grants as a consistent and reliable crowd-funded financial resource. Since January 2016, VAC’s fundraising efforts have enabled us to distribute 17 mini-grants totaling $850,000 COP. Below you will find the most recent projects that were supported by the Mini-Grant program.
James Holodnak, CII-8
One of my groups wants to focus on cleaning the school – specifically in painting the cement tables and stools outside of the library that are covered with obscene language and graffiti of male genitalia. My 9th grade girls are often found there doing the half hour recreo and would like to look at something more positive.
Conflict Resolution Curriculum and Instruction
Barbara Lewton Beach, CII-8
I have observed a lot of conflicts in my classrooms at my school in Santa Marta. The conflicts are between students as well as between teachers and students. Valuable time is lost because of these conflicts. In addition, students are faced with violence on a daily basis from their peers and their teachers. I want to design a curriculum that will be used to train teachers and students how to resolve conflicts peacefully. This grant will pay for the costs to print materials for the teachers, as well as posters to place in the classrooms.
An art student at my school, Edgardo Vives Campo, will use my rough design of the poster and create three posters under the guidance of a school staff member. The posters will be part of the Conflict Resolution class that I designed. The class includes an initial “staged” conflict between two staff members, then presentation of the conflict resolution wheel, rules for fair fighting and then the students break into groups of two and use the new resolution wheel and guidelines to resolve their simulated conflicts. Discussion of the initial conflict between two staff members is also discussed.
English Encuentro – an English Camp
Brianna Thompson, CII-8
During the holiday vacation, I am offering students of 9th and 10th grade in all of Puerto Colombia a chance to keep growing their English language skills, rather than spending 2 months forgetting all they had learned in the previous year. Mini-grant funds would go towards supplies such as poster board, markers, snacks, and other items that will allow for activities that differentiate this club from a typical class in order to keep students motivated and engaged.
School Ecological Group Project Support
Yesenia Lazaro, CII-9
The barrios Buenos Aires and Rubi have been identified by Aracataca as at-risk communities of drug abuse, violence, and bad infrastructure. However, the students of El Grupo Ecologico de la Institución Educativa Departamental de Buenos Aires Verde, led by their advisor Omar Vargas, have developed a movement towards a clean, well-represented community through recycling. The goal is to mobilize their community by hosting community clean-up days. This group of students will promote ethics and values for their barrios with the help of the police and fire departments, the municipal, Fenoco, and Interaseo. Additionally they will collaborate with the Institución Educativa Departamental Elvia Vizcaino de Todaro to also promote friendship and teamwork.
Grant funds are being requested to purchase five rakes which will be used for these community clean-up events. El Grupo Ecologico INDEBA Verde will take ownership of these rakes, therefore, will be entirely self-sustaining. This group will be administering the check-out of rakes during the events and will be held responsible for their use.