Chillin’ Out Max and Relaxin’ All Cool

Hey there.

So, I prestar-ed a computer from my friend and I´m happy to be sitting comfortably in the Cigar Family School  using free internet. I just had a meeting with about 12 jovenes, and they are PUMPED to do the Business Plan Competition. These kids are smart and motivated. My only concern is unfair pressure… someone stressed that they will participate and they will win.

Oh wait, let me catch you up a bit.

Every October, the Peace Corps and another organization put on the ¨Construye Tus Sueños¨ Business Plan Competition. CED Volunteers that choose to participate will form groups of jovenes (young people ages 15 to 24) to participate in the competition. This is one of my 3 main goals as a volunteer in Caribe. Starting in the Spring, I´ll begin a 3 month curriculum of business skills to teach the group. Then, we are going to put together a business plan to use in the competition. Basically, they will be judged on how thought-out the plan is, keeping in mind the needs of the communities, appropriate budget estimations, logo, advertising, etc. The winner of the competition will receive the funding necessary to begin their business! It´s a rare and unique experience.

My group is motivated and excited. My guess is I´ll bring the largest group. And what I´m especially excited for is that they are also judged on their presentation skills. This is where I feel a bit one up on the competition. I was a communication major, presentations were my life. I´m going to put together a presentation curriculum to gets the kids comfortable and familiar with how to present a powerpoint, how to speak in front of large groups, etc. It will be new, fun, and beneficial in many aspects of their lives… hopefully.

I tried to tell the kids that even if they don´t win, it´s still valuable information to know. I mean, as long as they have the skills, there´s always money to be found.

It feels good to be doing some substantial work that involves my future projects. I´ve been getting a bit anxious just hanging out. If I don´t do some legit, good work here I won´t feel like it´s worth it. No offense to anyone, I´ve made great friends, but I sacrified a few very important relationships to be here and work, one in particular. I want to feel like I´m doing more than just making friends and such. You feel me?

Speaking of future projects, I visited a volunteer yesterday that lives close to me. Her name is Shilpa, she´s a one-year-in youth volunteer. She´s done a lot of youth group stuff and is currently building a library. She gave me a lot encouragement and advice about my projects. As far as my already said projects go, I might also consider making a brand new workshop for the artisans, and putting together an art class. My artisans have a small shed and limited space to work and store their supplies. Also, though the kids have art classes here at Cigar Family, I have a few project ideas of my own.. ones that involve recycling material to create art (thank you Bette Porter for your passion and vision for why art is important,) painting murals from famous artists in the hallways of the school (thank you New Palestine High School for this idea,)  and a creative writing group (thank you Cole Farrell for your inspiration at Camp Barbee for this idea.)

I used a blanket last night cause it was cold. Can you  believe that? But I´m catching a bola home, cause it´s too hot to walk now. Ha.

Happy Holidays! I´ll be spending New Years on the beach. It´s true, don´t hate me.

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