Artistic Expressions

Artistic Expressions

By Pablo Villigran-

The preschoolers at Dorie’s Promise are more talented artistically today, thanks to the help of five students from Universidad del ISTMO in Guatemala City.

The students came each Thursday for over two months, concluding their volunteer service in late April.

Working primarily with three and four-year-olds, they handled such activities as making necklaces with straws, drawing with tempura, finger painting, painting such materials as macaroni and learning how to use scissors.

One of the male volunteers spent time at the boys table, adding some valuable interaction with male figures to their lives.

Teacher Claudia Roncal says incorporating a taste for art is best done at an early age, when kids find it easier to assimilate those lessons.

“The college students led small activities that allowed the children their first contact with expressions of art,” she says. “Implementing this kind of activity will contribute to children’s emotional, motor and artistic development.”

In addition, the volunteers worked with 14-year-old Mirna to help reinforce her math lessons.

After concluding their classroom sessions, the students sometimes helped in the kitchen, mostly cleaning and washing dishes.

Not only did their service mean a lot to the children, Claudia says the kids made a great impact on their tutors.

“They were sensitized to the emotional needs of the children,” she says. “When one of our children left Dorie’s Promise, they understood better that we do all we can while the kids are here to prepare them for their new family.”

And, by spending time in the classroom, the university students got a better understanding of how hard the departure of a child is on everyone else, she says.

This isn’t the first university group to visit Dorie’s Promise. Director Alejandra Diaz says no matter where these students help, there is always much work to be done, so having extra hands is a blessing.

Like everyone who comes here, she says the students noticed that the minute they walked through the doors they could feel something different.

“There is a certain kind of peace or energy that you cannot explain,” Alejandra says. “For me, this is God’s presence. He is blessing everything we do and every one. It doesn’t matter where they are or what they are doing.

“Even if they aren’t with the kids they can feel that. I believe that by being here and knowing that they are helping us that this brings a blessing to their lives.”

Although it was Claudia’s first experience working with college students, she hopes to see more of this kind of interaction in the future. She says the preschoolers enjoyed the activities and miss their volunteer instructors.

“When well organized and structured, I think volunteer work in the preschool program can contribute greatly to children’s development,” Claudia says.