The Growing Influence of ‘La Casa del Sol’ on our Community Project Goals in El Cocal, Costa Rica

GVI Quepos – October Achievements

This past month we at GVI Quepos have thrown all of our energies into our new community center in El Cocal, La Casa del Sol. The main priority of the Quepos team has always been community development work in El Cocal because of serious issues there such as drug abuse, overworked and under motivated teachers, and three-hour school days, but we have recently revamped the way we work in the small island community. We have reorganized the way the project was previously running and have seen incredible improvement in all aspects of our work in only the past few weeks. We used the momentum of our opening party where we welcomed over 60 kids into La Casa del Sol and have spent every day since working toward the common goal of keeping the children off of the streets and out of harm’s way.

Since opening La Casa del Sol, we have instituted an art program and a new English curriculum for students as well as adults, to whom we give free classes. Our weeks in the center have been spent having science days where homemade volcanoes are constantly erupting, sports days with sack races and intense football games, and fun activities such as sandcastle building competitions and treasure hunts. We have homework help and story time,  and we are pleased to support the school of El Cocal even further by remaining open when teachers are unable to come in or school is cancelled for the day.By opening La Casa del Sol, we have been able to positively influence the island town in many ways. Our average daily attendance is a whopping 35 to 40 kids, which is a greater number than any of us ever imagined! GVI staff and volunteers are honored to be able to offer a safe community for children when they are not in school and would otherwise be on the streets and the beaches, where the majority of drug use occurs. Due to the low number of teachers in El Cocal, students have basic Math and Spanish classes every day, but do not receive daily instruction in other important subjects such as Science, Geography, Physical Education, and Art. La Casa del Sol, with the help of dedicated GVI volunteers, is able to provide further support with extra classes and activities in these areas that make school and learning that much more exciting.

The success of the new community center has afforded us many changes that have made every day better than the last for everyone involved. We have seen incredible progress in the general attitudes of the members of El Cocal community toward GVI since the opening, as they get to know us more. With the addition of free adult English classes and the growing positive presence of GVI in the community, we have become the center of attention and our daily activities are the main interest for children and adults alike. The children, following the adult example, have begun to respect GVI members more than ever before, and their attitudes toward learning and being involved have improved dramatically in the past few weeks. The opening of La Casa del Sol has also increased the amount of respect and trust the teachers in El Cocal have for GVI, because the team has been able to give more support and work more closely with the school than previously possible. Overall, this past month has reignited the community project in Quepos and has given us hope for a future that seems brighter and more successful than ever before.

 

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