Every ‘Reunion Mensual' (Monthly Meeting) here at Safe Passage is a big day, as once a month we ask our students to stay home for the day and instead invite the parents to an afternoon full of encouragement and support. It’s one of my favorite days of the month. Volunteers and staff line the front door with drums and maracas and applaud and cheer for the parents one by one as they enter, expressing our pride and thankfulness for caring for their student’s education.
Parents break off into groups with social workers and teachers, where topics of discussion range from encouraging hygiene in the house to how a student is fairing with his/her grades or with classmates. Parents whose student’s attendance is above par are given a small bag of viveres, soap, flower, rice, etc, as a way of saying “Thank you so much for investing in your children’s education!”
I love parents who care for their kids’ education, and I love the faculty here who care for it too. I love the holistic approach that Safe Passage takes by trying to raise up entire families together out of poverty and lack of education. The entire day holds a joyful air of a community working together.
This month was extra special for us, as for the first time ever, elections were held here at the project for a newly announced Parents Committee. There were several candidates to choose from; we were all excited as each voter cast their ballot in secret and dropped their vote in the plastic bag. At the end of the day Vinicio, who runs our social work program, read the votes one by one. I watched with delight as the tallies were completed and Justa and Zuni, two of our moms from CREAMOS, won the election.
Sometimes I find myself using the phrase ‘breaking the cycle of poverty’ so often , I can
forget how powerful it actually can be. Parents taking a vested interest and involvement in the education of their kids for the first time can be an incredible place to start.