SFK in Guatemala
by Cecilia Rivero, SFK Ambassador to Latin America and a Facilitator Trainer
SFK in Guatemala
by Cecilia Rivero,
SFK Ambassador to Latin America and a Facilitator Trainer
translated from Spanish
translated from Spanish
At SFK, we believe we can create a world together where the essence of every child is honored and where all children learn about resilience, empathy, and self-esteem alongside math and reading.
This is our Vision, and we are glad to have the opportunity to co-create that world full of joy and enthusiasm, but it is fascinating to get to do our job and find that there is already a traveled path that makes it easier for us to achieve it. This is what happened to us when in recent days we had the opportunity to present the SFK programs in a magical place, located in a small forest in Guatemala City. We arrived there with the generous support from a great friend who opened the door for us to Valle de los Ángeles, a place literally full of angels… of all ages.
They loved the program commenting: “It is something that Father Rocco, founder of Valle de los Ángeles, would have liked for his children.” They told us with great enthusiasm: “Let’s give it to the children.”
But faithful to our philosophy, instead of “giving it to the children”, we proposed: “Let’s live it together with them. That all the adults related to the children– teachers, tutors, and management of Valle de los Ángeles – first experience the programs themselves, to be able to share their experiences with the children later and support them to carry it out successfully.”
We believe that SFK programs are to be lived rather than learned because living them constitutes a comprehensive experience, which includes learning, but goes much further.
To ensure the right concepts, lessons, and tools are delivered to kids, we need a connector. This essential link is the Facilitator, an adult qualified and trained to transmit this knowledge to the Children.
In our experience with various groups, we have found that Facilitators make a better connection with children if they have a common language and culture, that is, if they are members of their own communities. We have also experienced how those communities themselves are positively influenced by both the children and the Facilitators, whose behavioral changes are immediately perceived by all members of the community, who then become active supporters of the program. Therefore, to have a successful transfer of this knowledge, we must first of all have a group of trained Facilitators from the community.
Cecilia during training
Children learn as much by seeing the adult behave as by listening to his speech. That means Facilitators must internalize the SFK concepts before they can pass them on. If not, the children will easily detect the inconsistency between concepts and behaviors, and will become confused, or probably end up not applying the teachings.
Therefore, our Facilitator training program involves the necessary communication, collaboration, and listening skills, as well as living the SFK curriculum as if they were children so that they can do the work for themselves before teaching it to others.
We strongly believe that part of being a good Facilitator is being a student first.
We believe that if our Facilitators truly understand and can apply the tools learned in the SFK curriculum, they will be able to live a life of open dialogue, use every challenge they encounter as an opportunity, and connect with their potential to make a difference in the world through their own “Winning in the Game of Life.” They will be role models for children or anyone around them.
And so, we started with the Workshop “What do we want? Connect with your Inner Child”, for teachers, tutors, and administration staff a total of 32 adults.
After completing the training of two weekly sessions, they learned:
- The Purpose of the Program “Winning in the Game of Life”.
- The Tools that allow us to show that we care for others (The Umbrella of Care Tools).
- How to prepare a lesson, including information on the requirements and materials needed for each session.
- Experienced the connection to their inner child.
Soon we will begin the stage of Living the Experience of “Winning in the Game of Life”, which we will share as we progress.
But we would like to share with you, in her own words, the experience lived by Silvia, one of the Teachers of Valle de los Ángeles:
“My great friend”
I will start the story by saying that many of us had an imaginary friend when we were children. Mine was not so imaginary since it was a tree, an oak, as I remember my grandfather telling me. It was big, but it had some low branches where it was very easy for me to climb up to talk to him for hours.
He was my friend, always there, nearby, ready, fresh, full of aroma and color. I recall how his leaves changed color when they fell off and their different greens when he was blooming.
I remember telling him about my problems with learning to read. I didn’t understand what was wrong with having learned reading the book by heart, until the teacher realized that it wasn’t that I knew how to read, but that I had a great memory. She changed the book, and I repeated first grade. I asked him what the problem was. He, always serene, comforted me and assured me that I would make it.
I was always a restless girl who couldn’t be quietly playing “pretend food cooking”. I climbed everywhere I could and once I jumped out of a tree with an umbrella, because of course the umbrella would be a parachute. My mom was there, and she told me not to jump because the umbrella wouldn’t stop me, and that if I did she was going to spank me twice. But I did. I fell, I broke the umbrella and my mom first spanked me and then healed me. I was very sad, so I ran into the arms of my friend crying and I told him that umbrellas don’t stop you if you jump from a tree and that my mom had spanked me.
I don’t remember what he said to me, but he comforted me and took care of me for a while, because later my mom came back for me to go to dinner and found me asleep in his shade. She just told me: “I knew you would be here with your little Juan; say goodbye and come to eat.”
I could tell so many things that I shared with him, because I was always looking for him.
I don’t know how could I forget you when growing up, if you have always been there, deep inside me, to help and comfort me. Finding you again at this time has allowed me to believe in myself. It is wonderful knowing that there is someone available, serene and full of good advice for me, who lives inside me. Talking to you again makes me feel beautiful things, makes me have confidence and faith in myself.
Thank you very much my little Juan, my dear friend.
Thank you very much Ceci. Bringing him back into my life has been a gift and a great blessing. I really loved little Juan and had kept him hidden until that day. I am in tears, because he held me, he heard my secrets and I had forgotten him, until now that I speak to him again as you told me to do. I love that he’s back in my life. I hanged my drawing of him in my studio, I don’t want to lose him again.
I think it is a valuable resource for my inner girl and I would love it if my words help others to rediscover their Inner Child.”
Just like Silvia, other people are rediscovering their connection with their Inner Child and, more importantly, with their Inner World, to feel it, create it, and turn it into their space of joy and achievement for themselves… to reach fulfillment. All these teachers, tutors, and administrative staff will be “living” Winning in the Game of Life, in order to bring their experiences to the little ones in Valle de Los Ángeles.
Just like Silvia, other people are rediscovering their connection with their Inner Child and, more importantly, with their Inner World, to feel it, create it, and turn it into their space of joy and achievement for themselves… to reach fulfillment. All these teachers, tutors and administrative staff will be “living” Winning in the Game of Life, in order to bring their experiences to the little ones in Valle de Los Ángeles.