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BWB NEWS 04/16/2019

Ascential Language & Arts School: BWB Community Microgrant Update!

One of our 2018 Community Microgrant Recipients is Ascential Language & Arts School (ALAS), continuing a multi year relationship with this project.

Project lead Jen Archer describes the impact,

Ascential Language & Arts School (ALAS) is a bilingual arts education program located in the US and Ometepe Island in Nicaragua. 100% of our funding goes to provide housing/meals & travel expenses for teachers, supplies/materials for classes/students and tools/materials to build our school & teacher housing on Ometepe. In 2019, we plan to begin donating materials & funding to other providers on the island who implement programming & supplement our students with creative & educational experiences. As of April 2019, we are now able to afford to pay for copies of daily worksheets at the Escuelita in El Congo, supply the new Ometepe Escuela Hernandez with supplies and materials, buy simple supplies like lightbulbs, brooms, buckets & mops for each site, & hopefully provide before & after school teachers in a year-round initiative.

ALAS was founded December 2013 as a response to a request from the village of Merida on Ometepe’s smaller volcano Maderas. Our call is to provide English/Spanish language classes to the communities of Altagracia, Merida, San Jose del Sur, El Congo and San Ramon while using dance, music, art, theater, martial arts and math as ‘carrier’ forms. In October 2018 we began fundraising for our seventh tour to the former rising tourist destination (Nicaragua is still experiencing civil turmoil since April 2018) and we are in the planning stages to expand our efforts into the communities of Moyogalpa, Santa Cruz and Balgue. Thanks to the last three year’s grants from BWB, ALAS now has over 250 committed, regular students ages two to sixty four attending one to four classes per week at no cost to the community or the families.

ALAS is sensitive to the Ten Principles in real time. We embody them daily in our own work and are conscious of Burning Academics. In particular, in 2019, we had to reevaluate our approach to RADICAL INCLUSION because of behavior and entitlement issues. We have been successful in allowing the notion to resolve itself. Our view of GIFTING transformed this year. We made choices to give to those who were able to make better, unbiased decisions & redistribute our gifts. This caused us to eliminate our own opinions from the process. RADICAL SELF RELIANCE and SELF EXPRESSION are the principles naturally occurring in our programming. Students are expected to be responsible for themselves & their actions, but also are encouraged to explore their creative individualities. COMMUNAL EFFORT and CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY travel hand-in-hand in our programs. Each location, student, teacher & community is responsible for the success of each daily class. Our PARTICIPATION causes us to pull together to create a safe & free space for learners to engage/explore by cleaning, preparing, organizing, promoting & assisting each other every day. Through this process, we ensure we leave each class space as we found it LEAVING NO TRACE of our inhabitance. It’s almost hard to believe we put in four-five hours of work to prepare, teach & breakdown, because once we clear out, it is as if we have never been there.

Our ALAS students are recognized in their communities as critical thinkers, creators & responsible humanitarians. They are creating works & assisting younger siblings & friends in creative endeavors causing an organic marketing initiative & local awareness.

To learn more about or get involved with Ascential Language & Arts School, visit their website or social media.

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Ready to travel across the floor. Dance/English level 2/3  – San Jose del Sur, Ometepe

Body parts. Dance/English level 1/2  – Santa Maria, Ometepe

Child’s Pose. Dance/English level 2/3 – Santa Maria, Ometepe

Aquarela Painting. Egyptian Runes. Art/English level 1/2 – Santa Maria, Ometepe

Orion & Victoria (2yrs old). Our youngest 2019 student learning colors and body parts. AltaGracia, Ometepe

What Do Hands Do? They: Help, Lift, Work, Play, Clean, Break, Pray, Cook, Write, Hurt. Art/English level 2/3  – AltaGracia, Ometepe

Nicole Hurtado. Private lesson. Clay/Plastilina series. Puppy & Urraca. El Congo, Ometepe

Nicole Hurtado. Private lesson. Alphabet practice & color identification. El Congo, Ometepe

Learning how to use a straightedge, scissors & glue. Construction paper.

Color ID and spelling. El Congo, Ometepe


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