When seeking lasting change it’s important to cast a vision of the result you’d like to see. But, that’s not enough. First, we must believe that change is possible. Only then can we inspire others and enlist their help.
Over the next 30 Days, we’d like to challenge and inspire you with stories of transformational change and ask for your support.
“Nashla started with us last summer. She had only been in the country two years and spoke no English. That can make a child feel very isolated and like they are not part of the group. Kids tend to tease each other and I was worried she would be bullied at school. Helping her speak, read and write in a brand new language seemed like a huge task. How to begin?
First, I decided that socially she needed to feel accepted and cared for, despite the language barrier. Together, in our Caring Circle time, the whole class talked about what it’s like to be teased. Everyone took turns giving examples. Then, we all agreed to work together to help Nashla learn as much English as possible so she would not be teased at school.
Building a relationship with Nashla had to come first, so she would open up and gain more confidence to talk and listen in English. I took time out every day to have simple conversations with her. Everyone in her house speaks only Spanish and I wanted her to hear the language as much as possible. These were fun sessions where we looked at books together, talked about her family and her favorite things. It helps that we are all bi-lingual and could use Spanish to bridge the communication gap.
Soon Nashla knew that everyone at Operation Exodus cared about her and wanted her to succeed.
Next, we created an education plan to work on her reading and writing skills. This included basic vocabulary words, but also the words she would need to complete story problems in math. One thing I learned from Nashla was how to slow down. Learning the basics of reading and writing is difficult. Imagine if you had to begin learning a brand new language!
In my class, I tend to be action oriented. I like to set goals for the kids, give them tools to achieve, and move on to the next task. With Nashla I realized that she would need to move at her own pace. I slowed it down when working with her, and let her take the lead. That way she wouldn’t feel insecure. I could see over time that this allowed her to build confidence, especially when speaking to the others. This year Nashla helped me grow in patience. Working with her reminded me that God cares about the journey, and our relationships, not just the end result.
In our class now she speaks almost always in English, and just this week wrote a story in English with proper punctuation! As we near the end of the school year I am amazed and humbled by Nashla, and proud of the hard work she has put in.”
The core of Operation Exodus is transformative relationships. We strongly believe that a transformational approach is what leads to student success, high school graduation, and college.
Can you help students like Nashla and her friends reach their goals? We need to raise $30,000, by June 20th. If we do, a generous donor has offered to match the amount, doubling the impact of your gift!
Thank you for being transformational today.