Being surrounded by family and friends is often what we love most about the holiday season. This month, we want to bring to you the stories and words of the special families that we have the honor of serving.
Meet Mariela and Gloria
Mariela and Gloria are sisters from Jinotega, Nicaragua. Mariela was in the first class of students that enrolled in our Learning Center in Nicaragua, eight years ago. She is heading into her final year of high school and is now teaching English to the younger students in the Learning Center. She also continues to study English, Spanish literacy, and math in preparation to apply for our pre-university Adelante Serve-Study Program.
Mariela's sister Gloria has a much different, but equally fulfilling, experience with Outreach360. Looking to fill a requirement for her degree in Social Work, Gloria joined our leadership team in Jinotega as a volunteer in 2016. Since then, she has volunteered off and on at the Learning Center while serving with other organizations. Most recently, Gloria moved to the Dominican Republic to work with another NGO. Upon completing her time with them, Gloria joined our leadership team in Monte Cristi as an OLÉ Volunteer Leader.
Both sisters have been greatly impacted by Outreach360 volunteers, donors, and staff. They, in turn, have already given a lot back to the program. We are so honored to be able to work with these incredible individuals and their family. This is what they have to say about their journey with Outreach360 so far.
Why do you like coming to the Learning Center? I like to come to the Learning Center because it has helped me to extend my knowledge and the idea of learning something new every day is exciting for me.
What do you think of sharing this experience with your sister?
Sharing my learning experiences with my sister has become important to me. First of all, my sister has helped me realize the value of my education. In addition, it is nice to know that I have someone that understands the effort that everybody needs to make in order to be successful. Finally, I know that my sister is learning with me and that Outreach360 is opening opportunities for both of us.
What hopes do you have for the future? My biggest hope is to keep learning English and create a future for myself where I can do new things every day. That’s why Outreach360 helps me to see that I am important and worthy and that all my efforts will be worthwhile. The Learning Center is helping me see that I am the owner of the future I want.
Is there anything you would like to say to your teachers and donors? People help every day in many different ways, but to teach someone something like English is really important. There is no comparison. That is the reason why I feel grateful to all of the teachers that have helped me to open my mind with different knowledge about life and education. Also, with the donors that give my classmates and me a way to think differently about our futures and about how we want to help others.
Why do you like teaching at the Learning Center? I am a social worker and I believe that education is the most important key for developing countries to have a better life and to create their own opportunities. Students in the Learning Centers in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic are excited about learning and are constantly asking how to say words. My students are the fuel that inspires me to be part of the amazing team that works hard to serve these students and to give them a life of choice.
What do you think of sharing this experience with your sister? I have had the chance to volunteer in the Learning Center in Jinotega, Nicaragua and see my little sister teaching. After the social unrest in Nicaragua, Outreach360 Nicaragua created a program for older students to support the youngest ones and I had the chance to return as a volunteer. I could not be happier to get to see my sister growing, improving her skills and teaching with such passion. Sharing this experience with her has made us become even closer as she asks for advice on how to improve and that makes me feel part of her experience as a student and as a volunteer teacher.
What hopes do you have for the future? I want to create opportunities for those who do not have any and I believe my country will become peaceful for people to start over again and stop immigration that is separating families. I had a job that I lost after the protests in Nicaragua, as others did; on the other hand, if it was not for that, I would not be able to travel and work abroad and learn. Outreach360 has provided me with opportunities to keep improving my leadership and language skills. I am more interested in education now and how impactful it is on people’s lives; I want to share every experience and knowledge that I have so that people can see that they are the only ones that can change their lives.
Is there anything you would like to say to all of the Outreach360 teachers and donors? I would like to say that I am thankful for having people that are making it possible to run the programs in Nicaragua and in the Dominican Republic and that the students appreciate the volunteers for coming to our Learning Centers and teaching them and as they teach, we are able to become better teachers.
Mariela and Gloria's Mother What would it look like if there were no Outreach360? My children wouldn’t have had the same opportunities. Mariela has been very lucky with this opportunity. She has grown a lot. It is something free that is very important. This opportunity is for parents and children.
Why is Outreach360 important to you, your family, your community? It is very important for the community because the community learns from the volunteers. I feel proud. The students have learned a lot from Outreach360, and I also believe that the international volunteers and leaders have learned a lot from them.
What difference have you seen in your children as a result of their enrollment in Outreach360? Mariela made a presentation about the Mayans that, thanks to Outreach360, she had already studied about them and hers was the best group. Many children in the neighborhood do not have the money to pay for private education and here it is free.
What hopes do you have for your children? I have no words to thank this organization. My two daughters are fortunate. I want to see my daughters prepared with their careers and able to move forward.
Continue the gift of education and opportunity for Mariela and Gloria. Give to donate.outreach360.org/community today!