Thursday, April 7, 2011

My New Goal for the Spring

It’s been an amazing week down here in Nicaragua. It has helped me realize a new goal for myself by the end of June when I come home. If I do this right, I hope to work myself right out of a job.
I’m really lucky. I get to work with two amazing coaches every day. As much as I love working with the kids and watching them grow, develop and embrace the program, it’s been equally rewarding and thrilling to work with our coaches. They are incredibly quick learners, and soak up everything they possibly can. Their progress each week has been the difference in the development of our program. A moment yesterday epitomized our growth in the last 6 weeks and our vision for the future.
We are currently training a new coach to run the afterschool program. Manuel is a former student at the School of Hope and was a participant in the lacrosse program last year. We brought him for a trial run for 2 months to see if can command the other kids respect, work with our coaches and develop into a coach himself. Norman, our current coach sat Manuel down after practice yesterday to give him some pointers. Norman stressed the importance of phrasing everything positively, setting a good example for the kids to follow and earning the students’ respect. He nailed it and described all of the attributes so integral to our program. I sat there, simply as a bystander in the conversation. I didn’t need to say a word. It was an incredible feeling to witness the values and ideals of our program being passed from one Nicaraguan to another.
Manuel listened intently to Norman, agreed to try, and showed up for practice again today. Reliablility is definitely a question mark down here in Nicaragua, but Manuel has showed up on time for every single practice this week. Each day he has improved in his relationships with the kids in the program.
I looked at Norman in amazement after the conversation and congratulated him on handling the situation so well. He crossed his arms as a huge smile of pride spread across his face. “You taught me well.” He said. To see the pride and ownership that he now takes in the program shows that LTN in Nicaragua has taken on a life of its own. This program is no longer “ours” its “theirs”. I cannot wait to watch it grow.

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