"At the center of the universe is a loving heart that continues to beat and that wants the best for every person. Anything we can do to help foster the intellect and spirit and emotional growth of our fellow human beings, that is our job. Those of us who have this particular vision must continue against all odds. Life is for service." ~Mr. Fred Rogers

Thursday, April 5, 2012

GLOW and TOBE Seminar!

A few Saturdays ago, my school and I hosted GLOW and TOBE Day Camps for my students. 4 of my closest friends made the trek to Kolky to help me put them on. What a fantastic day was had by all!

GLOW stands for Girls Leading Our World and TOBE, Teaching Our Boys Excellence. In the morning, Val organized the GLOW portion for the girls. Together with Grace and Lauren assisted by my 10th formers Kate and Sophie, they spoke about what it means to be a strong woman, making up a Girls Bill of Right, and talking about healthy relationships. Over 30 girls came to GLOW and did so great! The PCVs said their English was outstanding and they were empowered and motivated!

Tommy and I, assisted by my 10th former Roma, taught the boys about what it means to work as a team, qualities of an ideal leader, and how better to expess our feelings through words. I had 12 Boys give up the most beautiful, warm March Saturday to be inside speaking English and writing feeling poems. But in reality, they were really into all of the lessons and had a blast hanging out in a more causal and relaxed setting with Mr. Benjamin, Senor Tommy, and Roma.

...people too!

Drawing the "Ideal Leader"

Presenting our leaders

Roma helping out at the TOBE Seminar

Crossing the River

Tommy and Roma pulling away stones!

Flipping the Mat

The girls GLOWing

The Girls playing "Electric Train"

Writing their "I Am..." poems

After lunch, Val and I spoke about stereotypes and how limiting they can be. We discussed what being a "real" Ukrainian man and woman means and how none of us fit into the stereotypical boxes. We also talked about the influences that create these stereotypes and why they can be harmful. In small groups, the students created dialogues acting out situations, first as "stereotypical men and women" and then as empowered individuals. We all really enjoying how funny the skits were, but the messages really stuck and opened a lot of minds to the real problem that creating stereotypes can cause.

Discussing Sterotypes

Explaining the task to teams

Acting out Stereotype Dialogues...with a slap in the face!
You GLOW girl!

Everybody getting into the dialogues

The GLOW Facilitators
(L-R) Lauren, Val, Kate (10th Form), Sophie (10th Form), Grace

Ready, Set, GLOW!

The PCVs with some of the Kolky's English teachers

At the end of the day, I was just so happy. Happy to know that I have 4 amazing friends who would give up their weekend just to come help me put on a Seminar for my students. Happy to have a supportive school who went above and way beyond their hosting responsibilities providing us with the space, teachers, food for 50 and a celebratory after camp meal for staff. And happy to have open-minded and motivated students who want to learn about these things to make their lives and world better.

A lot of days here in Kolky sort of get blended together, all amazing, but nothing out of the ordinary. Then there are those special days that also sort of get blended together as the "really good ones". However, this day truly stands out and will be remembered for a lifetime. 

I posted a bunch of photos on Facebook and even without an account you can view them HERE. Check out what the start of year two in Kolky has looked like me. Yes, many of the pictures include snow and ice, but that is all changing soon. Even though I was the April Fool waking up to snow last Sunday, I feel Spring in the air more and more every day. Classes are going well, but there seems to be a buzz throughout school of wrapping-up and winding-down. I'm busy with preparations for Camp ACT, a Summer Camp I'm the Co-Director for this July. We've just kicked off our fundraising campaign, so if you feel inclined and are able to donate, be my guest and do that here--> Donate to Camp ACT! 

I'm so excited for things to come because this experience just keeps getting better and better. If the GLOW and TOBE Day Camps are any indication of what my last 8 months will look like, I can hardly wait!

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