Asociación Sueños provides extracurricular education to students of all ages and their parents through three student programs, as well as a three-pronged support system to ensure their success.
Sueños is a nonprofit organization that provides a safe space of empowerment, learning and collaboration for the children of street vendors in Antigua Guatemala through community-centered education.
Our vision is to provide the educational, social and emotional tools for children to complete primary education and acquire a skill set to achieve economic autonomy, allowing them to achieve their goals and stopping the cycle of child labor.
We have a small entrepreneurship program that sells jewelry made by community members.
Primary school - The primary school curriculum is project based, and students are challenged to use research, interpretation and analysis to solve real world problems that affect their communities. Students learn abilities related to reading, writing and critical thinking. Another integral element of the curriculum is an exploration of students’ identity, beginning with learning about themselves, moving to their interaction with others, and finally focusing on their relation to the community. The last step is for students to form a “Lifetime Project” in which they use short and long-term goal setting to plan for their future. The ISEA homeschool program allows all primary students to receive a school certificate when completing this program.
Preschool - The preschool curriculum is focused on developing early literacy skills as well as developing social skills, self esteem, and critical thinking. The classroom is organized in interest centers, giving children the autonomy to choose their activities throughout the day. As in the primary school program, children examine current issues in their communities through project based learning.
Parent Program - Parents meetings provide the communication between Sueños and the community necessary to plan effective programs. They also provide the opportunity for parents to have their own space of learning and growth. Topics we discover with parents include: physiological development, respecting children's development, healing violence and sexual abuse and parenting with love and respect.
Psychology - Since November 2020 Sueños has been working with a psychologist to provide individual and group therapy to students as well as to parents and staff. The support of a psychologist helps Sueños to approach deeper issues in the community like domestic violence, sexual abuse and alcoholism.
Nutrition - Students in our programs receive a healthy snack and lunch.
Children working on the streets of Antigua or spending time on the streets while their parents work.
We currently serve 19 families, with 35 children participating in our formal programs, and 72 people overall who are benefitting from our COVID response programs. We provide both nutrition (healthy lunch and snack) and integral education (social, emotional, and academic) to these 35 children. Through our programs for parents and teens in previous years with a focus on empowerment and leadership, this year Sueños was able to hire 3 community members. This year, for the first time we've achieved 80% attendance for the majority of students.
We collect background information about students and their families such as their first language, area of the country they are from, income, and level of education of family members; attendance in our programs and progress throughout our programs; and the impact our programs have on schooling such as attendance, grades, and promotion rates.
Size and/or structure
When we were formally founded we had a much smaller team, only one teacher that taught part time.
We have tried out programs for different age groups including infants and toddlers, preschool age, primary school age, teens, and parents; this year we have programs for students ages 18 months to 12 only and implement CONALFA for students older than 16.
During our founding we were working out of a donated space, in 2019 we worked in a rented space, and since the end of 2019 we have been in the space we are located in now.
Mission, vision and/or values
Our mission and vision undergoes small edits every year to define our work more clearly as we progress.
This year we grew by adding 3 new programs and our goal throughout the next 12 months is to measure the impact of these 3 programs.
Our quality objectives over the next 12 months include continuing to develop our curriculums for each program and training all of our staff in our methodology, as well as mindfulness, childhood development, and reading strategies. We have 4 new staff members this year so this process is integral to our quality.
Over the next 12 months we aim to increase promotion rates of the students we have attending school and increase enrollment in school for children who are of preschool age and who have not enrolled. We also intend to see an improvement in our student evaluations for critical thinking, critical thinking, and reading/writing skills.
COVID has potentially changed the timeline on these objectives. We currently are working to make sure families have food security by providing monthly deliveries of food to families; using this time to train our staff while we are home through workshops and staff-to-staff coaching; and engaging students at home through our community staff members and daily activities that we share with families.
Long term we plan to remain a supplementary education program that integrally supports families, increasing the number of students and families we can serve and our staff team to support them in the best way possible, including hiring a psychologist, social worker, and more educators for further supports.
We believe that education should be a space for equals to engage in learning together. Over time we will continue to train our staff to participate in learning with their students and break many of the education paradigms that are common in Guatemalan education that consider the student to be an object.
We are already beginning to see the results of our impact goals through our community staff who were once participating as learners and now participate as educators. We aim to see students become leaders in the community who can participate in real change, whether that may be through finishing their secondary education, or supporting their families through other means. We support children to reach their their full potential.