Youth Development Program
The Abriendo Mentes Youth Development Program focuses on three core areas:
English as a Second Language Courses
- Group ESL classes are held in the community classroom and run by the Youth Development Director with the aid of volunteers.
- AM teaches classes 200 days a year, with an average of 1.5 hours per day, resulting in 300 hours per year. This totals to more than the amount of time the kids spend in the public school.
- AM curriculum utilizes and builds on the public school curriculum.
Impact of English Classes
Our exciting and creative teaching approach generates excitement about education and encourages continuation of schooling into high school and beyond. With a focus on English, we are able to supplement the curriculum being taught in the public school with applicable language skills needed in real life, which results in higher marks in school and important job skills for the future. It also fills the after-school hours that would otherwise be spent idle without any structured educational activities.
Lacrosse the Nations
Abriendo Mentes works in partnership with Lacrosse the Nations to provide additional after-school activities in the form of lacrosse classes. Children of all ages are welcome, but the program specifically targets older students (5th grade and up) and acts as an effective bridge between our Youth and Adult Programs. LtN helps to motivate each student to continue studying and productively use his or her time.
- Lacrosse Classes:
- AM volunteers and a local coach teach two age groups three times per week how to play lacrosse and other life-skills building games.
- LtN classes build on the AM curriculum by incorporating familiar English words and phrases into the activities.
- LtN curriculum emphasizes and promotes team-building, mutual respect, and healthy life choices such as exercising and eating nutritious foods.
Impact of Lacrosse Classes
The addition of LtN in the community provides another outlet for the children of Potrero to spend their free time learning, playing, and acting responsibly. We use the sport of lacrosse to introduce and practice building relationships, trust, self-esteem and respect with the children and strive to foster a fun and happy environment where they can learn and grow.
Educational Development Activities
- AM offers a variety of activities that focus on developing creativity, critical thinking, physical activity, and environmental and global awareness.
- The educational development activities are:
- Creative Art Classes
- International Pen-Pal Program
- Experiential Learning Excursions
- Sustainable Garden Project
- Beach Clean-ups
- Health and Exercise Classes
Impact of Educational Development Activities
Engaging in educational development activities gives the youth an opportunity to discover their strengths, build their self-esteem, and create a world-view that encompasses life outside of Playa Potrero.