Meet The Colleagues
In Cochabamba, Bolivia, Jason and his wife Emily are learning to be good neighbors. Serving with the Maryknoll Mission Immersion Program they were recently given a new volunteer placement at a school for students with special needs. Five mornings a week, Jason and Emily alternate between helping in the cerebral palsy room and the first grade class, "both of which present very different challenges," says Jason. "The students in the cerebral-palsy room are intelligent, but their physical challenges hinder them from doing what they could be capable of. The first graders are all non-verbal, and their needs are highly diverse." Learning to care for these children has been humbling for Jason: "Though Emily spent a year caring for a boy with special needs, this is my first time working with this population, and I find myself at a loss for what to do in different situations several times a day. I believe I will learn much from the experience of working at this school, as we have been learning much throughout our time here in Bolivia." (see photo gallery)
Aside from school, Jason and Emily have become involved in the local LaSalette Parish. In December of 2009, along with fellow church members they also planted a garden on church property to start a low cost lunch program for children in the neighborhood. Then, over their 'summer' in January, Jason and Emily helped lead the parish-sponsored summer camp, which "had a goal of challenging the kids to think more creatively and critically, skills that are infrequently used in a Bolivian education system full of rote learning." The camp aimed to develop a sense of camaraderie, community pride, ecological responsibility, and self-awareness among the neighborhood children and youth. Jason and Emily intentionally worked with the older youth, empowering them to take leadership roles with meals and games, in order to foster their leadership skills. (see photo gallery)
Jason's Service Bio
I worked as an urban missioner in the West Central neighborhood of Spokane. One of my roles was doing outreach and promoting environmental awareness to Spokane faith communities through the Interfaith Council. I primarily served youth in the neighborhood through the ministries and outreach of Westminster Presbyterian Church. I lived in community with other recent college graduates, and we did this work together.
I´m currently living and working with my wife, Emily, in Cochabamba, Bolivia with the Maryknoll Mission Immersion Program. We´re working every morning at CERECO, a school for students with special needs, and we alternate between the cerebral-palsy class and the first grade class. Three afternoons a week we do tutoring with kids at the local LaSalette parish, where we also helped with a two-week summer camp. We also try to be involved in our neighborhood and city by attending mass and going to public events like soccer games.
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