As part of our regular staff updates, our psychologist Ana Maria was asked to give an update on how our children are doing during the prolonged pandemic restrictions. Her response was surprising. We are all finding opportunities to be better during times of doing less.
Although being home for more than a year is not ideal, we’re using the time to understand our children better, give even greater time and resources to their individual needs, and consider ways we can serve them better as they mature.
Ana Maria’s Observations
In general, how are the children doing? Our children and youth are in general thriving, healthy, and happy. There have been positive and negative effects on children’s lives.
What struggles have you observed? With restrictions on going out, attending school in-person, and limitations on visitors, the children miss their normal interactions. For some children, contact with their biological families has also suffered. Most of our children also greatly miss their friendships outside our home. For adolescents, the connection with their friends is very important.
What successes have you observed? For some of our children, the change in how they participate in school has been a huge advantage. Some children are now receiving personalized support from tutors in addition to their regular schooling. Another advantage has been that the stress and frustration a few of our children feel at school has been removed.
Opportunities to Be Better
What changes are you making to help all our children? We are reengineering our educational system with good results so far. Additionally, we’re researching new approaches and resources to help our children as they mature. We want to meet their needs as they grow.
What are the most important considerations as we face prolonged restrictions in Guatemala? We must continue to improve our educational system with the addition of more specialized tutors, opportunities for activities as available, and individualized learning. Evaluating and improving how our homes run will continue to help us respond better to our children’s needs. Our entire staff is collaborating on a more robust method to monitor our children and respond to needs.
What opportunities exist to be better? We are now raising adolescents and we recognize that how we raise our children must evolve to serve their needs at older ages. As we make changes in our homes, we need a way to share everyone’s observations and understand what changes best fit the needs of our children. We are working together to identify what is most important, how we best serve our children, and how our staff members contribute.
Jimena is more mature and content. She can read and write independently, which greatly reduces her frustration in class.
Alejandra and Silvia have greatly benefited from the personalized attention they received with Karen as their teacher this year.
Josue is maturing, as demonstrated by huge improvements in his self-esteem and relationships.
With help from his teachers, Mario is doing well in school and developed strategies to accommodate his learning challenges.
We’re celebrating our opportunities to be better and look forward to the future.