It’s hard to believe it, but our kids are getting older! Our oldest child at Casita is 13 years old, but the majority of our “older kids” are between 8 and 10 years old. This may seem young, but the truth is that many of our children have experienced a lot in their young lives and they are rapidly approaching adolescence. This can be a bit of a scary time, but also one that is filled with excitement and possibility.
As caregivers, we are devoted to making this transition into adolescence as painless as possible (even though we all know how challenging that can be!). I’m particularly excited about the new programs we’re planning for adolescents because of the arrival of a wonderful young local woman, Daisy, who just finished her degree in psychology. She has already fallen in love with Casita and has started helping us with staff development, youth programming, and support services for our single mothers.
Two weeks ago, Daisy organized an amazing workshop about a necessary but always awkward topic – puberty. We reserved the second floor of a local coffee shop and dived right into the subject. The kids were shy at first, but after about 20 minutes, they were laughing, opening up, and asking about a billion questions. We didn’t have time to answer all of the questions so we’re planning more workshops in the future. It was so great to see boys and girls interacting in a safe space and sharing their hopes and fears about the future. And also being able to ask those awkward questions that they feel too embarrassed to discuss with their parents. We rewarded their participation with carrot cake and coffee granitas! The kids fell equally in love with Daisy and asked if we could have more classes like this one. So we’re working on developing ideas to engage the kids in activities that are educational buy also give them a chance to relax, be themselves, and have some fun.
This Saturday, we were invited by a group of local organizations including Visión Mundial and CASM to participate in the “Cabildo Infantil,” a forum for young people to share their ideas about government and how to make their community a better place. Zochil and Iris represented Casita Copán at this year’s Cabildo, and I was proud to see them interact with kids they’ve never met before, sharing their ideas and letting their voice be heard. We’re excited to participate in more events like this as Casita Copán becomes a more well known part of the community.