At WonderHere, we are not just about academics. We are a trio of teachers without borders and believe in the great power of nurturing that same fence-less, border-less way of life and loving-others heartbeat within each student who learns among us at WonderHere. We welcome the great sense of smallness that comes with realizing just how big the world is, how beautifully different the people living in it are, and putting our hands and feet to love in action across cultural and geographical boundaries. We want our students to be better versions of themselves and that requires instilling inside of each of them a sense of Global Mindedness. What is this term I speak of? Here is one definition of the term I found online:
Global Mindedness: To explore new ideas and perspectives as well as having the humility to learn and the willingness to work with people around the globe.
I love that! Simply put, we want each of our students to think beyond themselves and their own circle and consider global issues that are both current and critical. It is too easy to think about “ME” and use my own culture, upbringing, and current surroundings to make generalizations about other people outside of myself and those similar to me. Our children grow up developing their own, however narrow, understanding of people based on personal encounters, parent modelings, and limited experiences and awareness. It is far too easy to unintentionally encourage our kids to be uncomfortable by differences and grow complacent with our own lack of acceptance, close our ears to cries heard on the other side of the globe because it’s just too sad, and never truly explore and develop this grand idea of global mindedness. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We as parents, teachers, and as a community can connect our kids with others both here and globally if we are both thoughtful and intentional and if we care enough to.
There is this book I have begun reading that came highly recommended to me by several globe-loving homeschool mamas, and I would encourage you to read it alongside my students and I as we explore the concepts found in the beautifully penned book “Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at A Time”, by Jamie C. Martin. Jamie shares about her own personal experiences through raising her children to be globally minded people. In her book she thoughtfully points out and questions how we can impact our kids so that they in turn impact the world. She writes, “Worries crowd out wonder. Selfishness crowds out sacrifice. Longing for more crowds out love for what is. Problems crowd out people. Knowing this, how can we strengthen our kids’ natural love for the world so it sticks around for the long haul? How can we grow it into their lifelong companion, one that leads them to care for others because of their deep passion for this planet and the people on it?” In the pages that follow these thoughts, Jamie answers the “how” with practical applications paired with her personal experiences to empower any parent with the tools needed to grow global mindedness within their own children.
Just like Jamie expresses in her book, we at WonderHere hope to “…give them (our students) a reservoir of compassion that spills over into a lifetime of love in action.”
So… our students are building a school in Guatemala!
Why? Well, did you know that it takes American children on average 7 minutes to get to school whereas children in Guatemala can take 2.5 hours on foot! Once we stumbled upon that staggering statistic, our students decided to partner with an organization based in Boston called School the World. Their global mission is to place schools in international communities making education accessible to more and more children. Their program reaches deep into the isolated communities of Guatemala and Honduras. Often, they are providing the first schools these villages have ever seen; or worse, existing schools are in desperate need of repair to ensure safety of the children and teachers.
Building the schools is the first step, and often the most important. School the World collaborates with the local community so they provide the labor and some of the materials needed for the build. Additionally, matching funds from local governments is required so that they remain deeply committed to the process. Finally, groups like WonderHere raise the funds to supplement materials like books and school supplies necessary to learning and pay for the other half of the school build.
This program literally changes lives by giving the people living in rural villages of Central America a chance to live beyond the drudgery of poverty and life rooted in illiteracy.
We couldn’t think of a better project to commit to as a group of learners than to give back this most precious gift of education to our friends in Guatemala that we hope to meet in the months following the completion of this project. While integrating sincere and meaningful intercultural education throughout the week with academics, our learners are able to grow into well-rounded, globally minded, compassionate and intelligent people.
How can you instill Global Mindedness within each of your children?
- Encourage Wonder… let your children ask questions and fuel their curiosity.
- Listen to music from different countries and in different languages.
- Read books that represent a variety of cultures and are based world-wide.
- Explore foods from different cultures.
- Read about international news and have open discussions.
You can also help us as we begin to work on our first global student project… building a school in Guatemala with School the World. Visit our fundraiser webpage, and consider donating towards the $10,000 amount so that our school can be built and an impoverished community in rural Guatemala will be changed and children educated. Also, take time to visit our booth at First Friday and/or stop by our building at 111 S. Florida Avenue for WonderHere Open Studio: Dog Days!
Our students have been brainstorming effective ways to build awareness and raise funds towards this goal and they decided to have Open Studio in correspondence with every Downtown First Friday where they use the theme of First Friday to shape the format of our Open Studio event.
What can be expected at our first Open Studio held on Friday, September 2nd? This FREE event will be held between the hours of 6-8pm and features the following: Puppy Pitt Stop (for all friendly four-legged friends), Dog-Inspired Craft, kid-crafted Bow-Wow Bandannas, and homemade dog treats for all families to stop by and enjoy. Donations will be graciously accepted during Open Studio and all funds will go towards our student-led Guatemala school build.
In Jamie C. Martin’s book, she quotes J.R.R. Tolkien in The Fellowship of the Ring when she writes, “The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out.”
We hope you will partner with us as our students raise funds to build our school in Guatemala and in the other projects we work on in the future (both locally and globally). We firmly believe that, by growing a global mindset in our students, they’ll continue to work hard in their education knowing that their gifts and talents and strengths can be used to build a better future for not only themselves, but for others, too. We hope to see you this First Friday at either our booth or at our Open Studio event from 5-8! Be sure to check out the campaign video below (and have some tissues handy)!