As a volunteer from the United States, I encounter a variety of impressions of my country

Estados Unidos
Katelyn Raynak. Chile. Volunteer Class September 14-15 America Solidaria U.S.

It is difficult to describe what I do on a day-to-day basis for Fundación Súmate, but it is also difficult to address the problem of students dropping out of school—the solution isn’t that simple. One of Fundación Súmate’s programs, Súmate a la Escuela, aims to prevent school dropouts at an early age. Currently, Súmate is in a ‘transition phase’ from the old model of intervention to a new model, as they had realized that there was a missing connection between the schools, families, and students—which is elemental for their work to produce results. As a volunteer of América Solidaria, I assist in this transitional phase by composing a diagnostic analysis of the current program, and offering insight into how they can improve their intervention.

Some families and members of these communities did not receive a higher education or never graduated from high school, and consequently fail to understand its importance and how one can break free from a lower socioeconomic status by just finishing school or attending university. The power of education is overlooked and viewed as unnecessary, and as a result, the cycle continues within these families and communities—people stay in the same place and believe that having a better life is an unreachable notion.

I sympathize for these kids who have never learned what they are capable of overcoming. Some have been neglected and not given the resources or support to rise above the circumstances into which they were born, or possibly found themselves surrounded by negative influences. Not every child receives such support and parental educators to prepare them for the realities of life, and are unfortunately left to fend for themselves.

As a volunteer from the United States, I encounter a variety of impressions of my country. I am happy to see that these kids are interested in the United States, but it also saddens me to encounter perspectives that reflect false realities showed in movies. I have enjoyed the opportunity to promote cultural exchange through my encounters with the students.

The students of Súmate are creative, kind, and intelligent, but lack vital support from families, teachers, and communities. To address this issue, Súmate offers not only tutoring and academic workshops, but also workshops to improve social skills so that kids will be able to deal with daily challenges. In addition, Súmate invites students to cultural outings so they can relate what they learn in the classroom to a distinct setting.

That’s the beautiful thing about Súmate—they tackle such inequality by helping kids not only through academic workshops and tutoring, but as well through workshops that strengthen social skills and involve families in order to improve communication and parental involvement in their academic lives. They support a beautiful cause and hopefully there will be an even more beautiful result from their work.

Katelyn Raynak