I can’t even believe how this project continues to move forward. We worked the last two weeks giving the adolescents 1 on1 sessions assisting them during their play sessions with the little ones on their “caseload.” It was so much fun. I continue to be thrilled with the supervisors, Ana Maria and Wan Su (physical therapy students from Cali in their final few months of school). They do such a great job assisting the adolescents and keeping the session moving. Mostly I just love their attitudes– they are doing a great job. Here are a few quick pics of the adolescents conducting the play sessions.
Right before I left, we had a little party to kick off the program. We invited all the staff, ate Doritos and cake, and signed the contracts. This was a pretty significant moment for the leaders (adolescents) because from this point on, they will be receiving payment for their work. Also, I surprised them with the awesome t-shirts that I had made. They (of course) loved that too!!
I am really proud of how the workers at the orphanage are embracing this project too. Last Thursday, I finally officially presented the entire program to the psycho-social staff. They all were very supportive and thought it was a fantastic idea. In fact, one social worker commented that she had already seen a change in the way that the adolescents were addressing the younger kids in the institution– with more interest and acknowledgment. The director of the orphanage told me about several of the adolescents visiting her a few days before teaching her about motor development of infants and gross motor activities you could do to strengthen development (and they were using this type of language to talk about it. And one of the psychologists had a fantastic idea: they could have monthly meetings with the adolescents to talk about the progress of the children and treatment ideas. She saw so much potential in the project, they she wanted to be more involved. She talked about how it would help the adolescents but also how a meeting would help her and the other professionals and they can inform the professionals about changes they are observing to make their tri-monthly evaluations more accurate.
And everyday there are more and more kids interested in participating. Right now, only those that are 13 and older are able to be leaders. However, there are 4 younger girls (11 and 12 year olds) who are VERY interested in participating and have been involved and helpful throughout the entire training process. Thus, Ana is going to give them “future of ProjectPlay” classes every week. They will not be official leaders and will not receive pay, but they will work with Ana and learn about development, how to fill out the forms, develop their skills working with the children and will eventually age into the program.
I left feeling really good about what we were. And now they have about a month “trial period” while I am in Peru to see what hiccups there might be… and then we can brainstorm changes once I get back.
Once again, thanks to all of you who have had a role in making with program happen. So far it has been a great success!!