Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spirituality Guide from St. Andrews Church, Yardley, PA

This resource book of prayers, poems, and reflections from different faith traditions was created by Bob Sherwood of St. Andrews Church in Yardley, PA. It has provided useful reflection materials for Christine and I over the past year and a half and we hope you all also enjoy it!


Click "more" and then "save document" to download it in PDF format on your computer.
Peace Booklet-AYH Edits2007!05!13

Monday, May 11, 2009

Girls on Our Streets

Check out this article by New York Times columnist Nicolas Kristof about the prostitution of teenage girls in the United States. Sex trafficking and sexual exploitation is a global problem affecting women and children from around the world, including Nicaragua. It is not uncommon to see young prostitutes on the streets of Managua or hear of girls abducted from rural areas into global prostitution rings.

On a global level, we know that today there are more slaves than at any other point in history, and a large portion of those are women, girls and boys sold into prostitution. The sex trade in the US alone is a multi-billion dollar industry, and little is being done to curb it.

Kristoff's column highlights an essential issue--that when middle class or wealthy girls go missing, it's national news, yet Black and Latina girls from the U.S. are routinely prostituted and the authorities turn a blind eye, or worse, abuse them.

Why it is that governments internationally are not doing more to stop human trade, slavery, and sexual exploitation? And why is it that we value the lives of white middle and upper class girls, but not the poor Black and Latina girls in our own countries, and not girls from "third world" countries?

Girls on Our Streets

One book I recommend that talks about human trafficking, the drug trade, organized crime, etc. and globalization: Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy by Moisis Naim

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Centro Cultural Batahola Norte Mother's Day 2009
Voices of Mothers

Jeanette del Carmen Lezcano

“I encouraged my son, 22, to go to the Center to take Computer class, and then he came home bugging me to join the Basic Adult Education class. I was embarrassed because I never learned how to read and write. None of the children in my family studied growing up, and when my mom died when I was 14, I started working and taking care of my siblings. Now I have five children and I’m a single mom. When my son wouldn’t leave me alone, I finally joined the Basic Adult Education class, and it has helped me in many ways! Before I would stay at home, and the only work I had was washing clothes and ironing for other people. Being at the Center has helped me to have new hopes and aspirations, especially since my husband left me. It has also helped me to recuperate after that shock, and to be in a caring environment.

“I feel more relaxed when I am at the Center, happier, and with higher self-esteem.”

I want to study computer classes next year so I can become a receptionist. My daughter Emily wants to study folkloric dance and English when she’s older. I encourage all my kids to continue studying.”

Paula Elena Gonzalez Larios

“I work during the week at a snack shop at a school, and on Saturdays I have a scholarship to take the Handicrafts class at the Center. Last year I took the Beauty class, and this year I wanted to take the Handicrafts class because I like making things and thought I could sell some crafts at the school where I work. Someday, I want to have a small shop in my home. My husband, Candido, works at the Center, and all three of our children take classes here.

“I told my children ‘Everyone is going to take a class at the Center’ because its good for them to be in a positive environment.”

Our daughters take folkloric dance, and my son is in the painting and drawing class. He has had a hard time dealing with the recent death of his grandfather, so we thought the art class would help him deal with the trauma of that loss. I have hope for my kids because they are learning good things. I love the Center because I feel at home in my classes here. We are all sisters and brothers here, and I am learning skills that can help me to support myself and my kids. For me, being a mom is something wonderful. My parents gave me lots of advice when I was young, and now I can give advice to my children. I’m also learning from them. to listen and to be their friend.”

Patricia Carolina Periera Circia

“My two daughters, Stephanie (12) and Faviola (16) have been scholarship students at the Center for five years. I’m a stay-at-home mom and was only able to study up to 10th grade. I earn money by washing and ironing clothes for other people. I’m grateful for the help the Center provides for my family, and I participate in workshops for parents and other activities. I love the Parenting School because we play games and have fun together, and the psychologist talks with us about topics like how to raise your children without violence. Before I used to spank my daughters and yell at them when they misbehaved, but I have learned to have patience, and that yelling at children only makes them more rebellious. Using physical or verbal with children affects them profoundly.

“Now we have more harmony in our family, we have better communication because together we have learned how to express ourselves and deal with conflict peacefully,”

I’m so grateful for the Center and I think all of us parents must help out. I volunteer with a group of mothers to make soy milk and sandwiches for the primary school scholarship students every week, because many children come to the Center without having eaten in the morning. It’s a small thing we can do to give back and help each other out as parents.”

Fara Lisbeth Sotomayor Ortega
“The Center helps me to learn more every day, and the Center’s staff has always been there for me for emotional support. I am 27, and I have two daughters, Amy, who is 7 and Brissia, who is 18 months. Especially now that I have children, I want improve myself and to find a different job. I work in sales, and I work really hard. I had to work during both of my pregnancies, which was very difficult. My husband is a carpenter, and I’d like to get a new job, perhaps in marketing. That’s why I took the Typing class, and why I’m currently in Computer Operations. I love that at the Center, it’s not just about getting new skills, its also about promoting values like sharing and improving communication. Whenever the teachers see someone who is upset, they reach out to them. That encourages me to also reach out to others who are having a hard time. Being a parent is an enormous responsibility, and I try to teach my daughters good values, like if you have two pencils and you see another child who doesn’t have one, to share. I also tell my older daughter Amy that she has to study, to always ask lots of questions, and to aspire to be a professional. I gave her the option of studying Folkloric Dance or participating in Story-time on Saturdays at the Center, and she choose Story-time because she loves learning. I teach her that she can overcome any obstacle.”

“Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the obstacles, but you must do everything you can to follow your dreams”

To see the original brochure click: Mother's Day Brochure