Saturday, January 22, 2011

Youth Club Blog

Hey readers!  It's been almost a month, and I've been heckled a bit for that vacation update.  Well, instead, today you get a whole new blog:

This blog follows my youth club at the school (described in general as a program objective heretangentially here, and by Melissa here).

The youth in my club are 10th - 12th graders, the age group I've probably enjoyed working with more than any other.  Back in PST when my Program Manager was interviewing us for site placements I stressed that I wanted to work with high schoolers.  Only a few of us healthies teach students this old, and most of the health clubs are for 5th and 6th graders.  She listened to my request and it's been one of the best decisions I've made in "making my service my own," (a mantra emphasized by our Country Director).

My youth chose the very descriptive title "Club de Sanatate" for our group, which can literally be translated as "Health Club".  Since choosing the title, however, we've gone more in a civic engagement direction.  In the HESC program objectives, these clubs are designed to teach youth to be peer health educators, but with this age group, I find it important to give the youth leadership over their group's direction.  For me, as long as they're learning, we're succeeding.  And as they take control over activities and lead their own projects, there is no doubt they're learning.

Their first activity was organizing a Halloween party.  After that, my partner and I attended a training on Public Achievement, a program designed in the U.S. but now used around the world. The training was organized by awesome second year COD volunteer Vince N., his wife Jessica (a fellow Healthy), and his partner NGO Speranta as part of their Active Citizenship Initiative ("Cetatenie Activa" in Romanian).  The youth agreed to give the Public Achievement method a try, and now they're working on a community project they initiated: building a park where local students can sit and relax next to the school.

Unfortunately for readers back home, this is a Romanian language blog - it's designed as part of our reporting requirements for the Public Achievement program.  But it will also include lots of pictures and even the occasional video of the club's activities.  So, if pictures know no languages, and we combine that with another cliche, then there are thousands of words there that anyone can understand!  So, check it out and watch our progress from project idea to completion!

One more time, here's the link:

R. Sargent Shriver, Jr., 1915-2011

Sargent Shriver Portrait
    R. Sargent Shriver, the founding director of the Peace Corps, passed away at the age of 95 last week.  The timing is significant, as the Peace Corps approaches its 50th Anniversary in March.  In his New York Times obituary, he is quoted as saying:
‎"Break mirrors. Yes, indeed. Shatter the glass. In our society that is so self-absorbed, begin to look less at yourself and more at each other. Learn more about the face of your neighbor and less about your own.”
Below the jump is a historical excerpt from his time as Peace Corps' Founding Director.  R. Sargent Shriver left a lasting legacy of public service, not just amongst the more than 200,000 volunteers who have served in the agency's 50 years, but amongst all Americans.  The Peace Corps family is grieving the loss of this incredible public servant this week, but more importantly, we are remembering his call to service.

Thank you Sargent, for all you taught us.