As you know, we’ll be staying in several different places and partnering with a number of nonprofit organizations while we’re in Central America. Today, I want to introduce our first stop–Volunteer Petén.
Volunteer Petén is located in San Andrés, Guatemala. We’ll tell you a little bit more about the region and the town before we leave, but for now we’ll stick to the organization itself.
VP is involved in a wide range of projects. They recently established a School of Natural Resource Management, which is a high school that offers courses like “Ecology, Flora, and Fauna,” and “Water and Soils,” alongside usuals like geography, history, and statistics. The English classes at the school are taught entirely by international volunteers, and several of the other courses incorporate volunteer teachers as well.
The school also has a fledgling band program, which Jess (MicroMundo’s resident band geek) is excited to help get off the ground.
In addition, Volunteer Petén runs a library, which was such a success that in 2006, just two years after it opened, they built a new, larger building to accommodate all of the patrons.
The organization also manages an ecological park owned by the government. The park provides an outdoor classroom for students who participate in VP’s ecological education program. The organization also works on reforestation and restoration initiatives. Their commitment to the environment is also reflected by one of their current, smaller projects: working with several families in San Andrés to make their homes more eco-friendly.
Aside from working in the library, School of Natural Resource Management, and ecological park, VP volunteers teach in local schools, and teach English classes for local children and adults who want to learn.
We chose Volunteer Petén because of their strong and varied connections to the San Andrés community. Though their activities are diverse, it is clear that they have two clear and interrelated objectives: providing educational opportunities for the residents of San Andres, especially the next generation, and making sure that the incredible natural resources of Petén are appreciated and protected for years to come. By working on both of these fronts, Volunteer Petén is working toward a brighter future for San Andrés–one with a healthier economy and a healthier environment.
This is an organization rich in opportunities to make a difference, so if you’re interested in sponsoring a child or a class while we are there in late summer, let us know and we can help you plan a successful fundraiser!
[Thanks to volunteerpeten.org for letting us use their photos!]