Change Yourself…Change The World.

‘Tis the Season of Giving!
December 23, 2012, 11:31 pm
Filed under: Paraguay

Christmas is almost upon us, and for the first time in my life I will be outside of the United States! I will be spending my first (and last, if my Dad has his way) Christmas outside of the USA by celebrating it as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay with wonderful friends in my community of Caazapá. Today I am preparing for Christmas by singing along to Christmas music, making paper snowflakes and snowmen (maybe these little paper snowmen will inspire the weather to be under 100 degrees on Christmas day), and prepping all of my food materials to cook a Christmas dinner for 12 people. My American and Paraguayan friends alike will gather to my house on the evening of the 25th to celebrate a traditional American Christmas meal! I couldn’t be more excited, and I can’t wait to write about the experience on my little corner of the internet.

So it’s the season of giving, and what better way to give than to help make a huge difference in the lives of Paraguayans? As Peace Corps Volunteers, we work hard to ensure that Paraguayans can achieve their dreams and have opportunities to better their lives. If you’re interested in giving this holiday season to inspire creativity and leadership, then please help us to put on two wonderful summer camps to benefit Paraguayan youth! Plus, the best part- your donations are tax-deductible!

1. Jóvenes Por Paraguay- Leadership Camp for Youth

One of our biggest struggles in our jobs are getting people to become motivated about changing their lives and their communities. Over half of Paraguay are comprised of youth, and are the future of the country. My sector has put on this leadership camp for the past 3 years, and it has literally transformed lives. I’ve personally seen shy Paraguayan youth turn into full-blown leaders in their community just from this camp- it is incredible to see what a real difference this initiative makes. These kids also get the opportunity to meet other Paraguayans all over the country at this national camp, which is really rare. Finally, they have the opportunity to get involved in a national network of leaders through this camp, and take leadership roles nationally and locally. This year, I’ve been helping out on Finance for the camp, and I’m planning on taking 2 15-year-old girls from Caazapá.

Please help us make this camp a reality by donating to Jóvenes Por Paraguay (Youth For Paraguay)!

2. ImaginARTE- Creativity Camp for Youth

It’s crazy to think that the concept of creativity is not universal, but the truth is, it is not. Due to an oppressive dictatorship in Paraguay up until the early 1990’s, creativity and individual identity are not traits that are cherished or valued down here in Paraguay. Getting Paraguayan youth to voice their opinions and ideas in classrooms have been one of the biggest challenges of my service. So this new and incredible camp, ImaginARTE, plans to flip that idea on it’s head and expose Paraguayan youth to creativity through the mediums of painting and drawing, theatre, ceramics, creative writing, and photography. The camp was started by our great Peace Corps initiative, Ahecha (a photography course that I taught in Caazapá). We’re planning to have a 3-day creativity camp in Aregua, a beautiful and culturally rich city in Paraguay full of museums and local artists. Our intent is to teach Paraguayans self-expression through these different mediums, and we have a very exciting schedule planned. I’ve been helping ImaginARTE on Programming, and I’m planning on taking an 19 and 22-year-old who both have a love for photography.

Please help us make this camp a reality by donating to ImaginARTE!

I love Christmas so much because it’s really about giving to others. If you help us with these two initiatives this holiday season (whether giving yourself or spreading the word to others!), you will be continuing this incredible and much-needed work down in Paraguay, and also enabling me personally to bring four Paraguayan youth from Caazapá to experiences that will change their lives!

Thank you so much- and Merry Christmas from Paraguay!

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