A few weeks ago we started our English classes for the year in the Guanacastal Sur community. We teach 5th and 6th graders who are surprisingly attentive. They are much different than the rowdy little kid I was at that age. The first thing that took me by surprise was not what was inside the class, but what was outside. During both classes, students from other grades stood at the windows trying to listen in on the lessons.

In the afternoons we have our Kids Club where we play sports, do art projects, and have computer lessons for the students. One of the 5th graders named Kelvin came up to me to ask me a question.

Kelvin: “Can we have English classes both Mondays and Thursdays?”
Harry: “Unfortunately, right now we can only do Thursdays. What’s wrong with only having it just one day?”
Kelvin: “I want to learn more.”

After spending 3 months teaching English in the La Isla community, I have even more of an appreciation for the level of education that has been available to me. The kids of La Isla are so eager to learn more and there is so much La Isla can do to fill this void. A strong education serves as the foundation for creating a brighter future. These classes enable the students to realize that careers are possible for them outside of working in the sugarcane fields. Being a part of that paradigmatic shift in their thinking is something that will stay with me for years to come and will propel me to continue teaching when I return home.

When I came down to Leon to volunteer I imagined a non-profit that concentrated solely on public health. La Isla Foundation focuses not only on finding the cause of the disease, but building a future for those in the affected communities. Students like Kelvin are eager to learn and grow. Education is the key to creating a brighter future, and it all starts with a simple phrase:

“Welcome to English class, what is your name?”

-Harry Rockower, PR Intern