A Laboratory for Integration, and English
JumpStart is an intensive four-week long English Camp designed to empower students with the knowledge, academic skills and confidence to make a successful transition to high school. In 2020, PCVs hosted 20 camps throughout Costa Rica. Check out Kacey's story.
Entering the lunchroom at the beginning of the second week of Jumpstart, I’m greeted by a long table full of beautiful young people laughing and sharing together. On previous days students sat in separate groups at different tables segregated by community and sex while gulping down their food at lightning speeds to get outside to play before the bus showed up. This marked a point where the students could be observed to truly be an integration of the three small rural communities this camp served. Throughout the camp one witnessed the personal interactions only become stronger. The majority of these students will enter the same high school already armed with unification and the support of each other, this is called success.
The camp achieved success in a variety of tangible and intangible forms, not only from the outstanding attendance and improvement numbers aggregated on pre/post evaluation forms. Success is marked every time a smile is accompanied by an unsolicited greeting or phrase in English; not only by students but from their brothers and sisters. Success is also measured with each kilo of cheese or dozen eggs donated by the community to the provided lunches, by the carefully planned menus written in Spanish and English posted in the lunchroom, by the financial support given to the local struggling pulperia by buying local, by the employment of the bus driver and by the bonds formed in a short time with the visiting PCVs and their host families to mention a few.
We are all richer from the JumpStart experience.