This is the moment to honor to our volunteer Juan Pablo Gil, who, with his service makes possible the realization of the PLAYLEE mission and vision proposed by the work team and other organizations that supports the creation of a better world.
To assess and encourage educators that are educational points of reference, that perform pedagogical acts visibly embodied in the proactive formation of sensitive and critical beings, capable of engaging constructively in their fulfillment and in in the creation of a better world.
Juan Pablo Gil has been a YMCA volunteer for 5 years; he has been involved with the YMCA of Armenia and has shown his willingness to serve others while involved in community outreach programs; giving always his best in each moment and becoming in an outstanding, committed, loving and persevering volunteer. Nowadays, Juan Pablo’s work is essential for the YMCA Movement in Armenia.
WHY ARE YOU A VOLUNTEER? I am a YMCA volunteer due to a program run by this organization called ICCP&SWT, with which I got involved in 2011. I had the dream to travel to the USA and work as a camp counselor, and thanks to the movement I got the chance to transform my life through this experience. Since then, I got interested in the volunteering field of the movement and I started to get involved in different programs. Today, it is one of the most important parts of my life; I always say that the YMCA is my second family.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST OF BEING A VOLUNTEER? The part I enjoyed the most is getting to meet such an immense variety of people, from different cultures, ethnic groups or socio-economic backgrounds, and being able to transform or at least leave a positive mark on their lives.
HOW DID YOU GET TO BE INVOLVED IN PLAYLEE? I got the chance to be involved in such an amazing project thanks to Juliana Marin, a volunteer in the movement and member of Youth Colombian Leaders; a group create d by Youth Ambassadors Program Alumni – program sponsored by the US Embassy and the US Department of State. This group had the idea some years ago, I heard about it and I got really interested in the challenge and the need of that community.
HOW DO YOU THINK THAT PLAYLEE IMPACTS TO THE BENEFICIARY COMMUNITY? That is definitely the most beautiful part of this project. The community called Portal del Linares has been influenced by our project mostly to one important part of the population: the children. They are the ones who attend the classes and get to learn a new language in an experiential way. Besides, we deeply work with the practice of essential values in the class that help the children to be better people every day. In this way, I consider that we are not only transforming the lives of these kids, but also in an indirect way, the lives of their families.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION WITH PLAYLEE? I want to see PLAYLEE as a project that promotes a new way of teaching and learning English using experimental education to more and more children of the country. I want to see more parents involved in the project and encouraging their kids to be bilingual and fulfill their dreams, not matter how far they may be, true. My bigger desire is to hear more children who do not have the economical way to be in a bilingual program, to talk in English and to be better people with our society.
HOW DID PLAYLEE START IN ARMENIA? PLAYLEE in Armenia started on April in 2013. Juliana Marin, who brought this amazing idea from other cities of Colombia, other volunteers from the YMCA and I started this project in a neighborhood called La Mariela. We began the classes there in the small backyard of a house, with about eighteen kids. Later on, we continued our classes in the main social area of that neighborhood and we were there with a little less amount of kids for about one year. Since the beginning of 2014 to the current time, we have been giving our lessons in a different neighborhood called Portal the Pinares, with about 15 children.
WHAT GOALS HAVE YOU ACCOMPLISHED WITH PLAYLEE? We have accomplished a lot of general and specific goals through this wonderful project. On one hand, thanks to the YMCA and the director of the BNC Colombo Americano in Armenia, we could get a scholarship to one girl involved in the project and interested in learning English, in the bilingual program that this well-known English institute offers. She has been studying there since with great results and a promising future coming. On the other hand, I consider that we have achieved to create some consciousness of learning English to these amount of kids as a way of having better personal and professional development.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS WITH PLAYLEE? My goals with PLAYLEE are to get more children and more communities involved. We want to make more people aware about the important of learning English in our current society. We want to see with PLAYLEE more families joined and together with the desire of seeing their children become better people full of values and professional basis.
BY: CESAR VICENTE VALENCIA ERAZO (PLAYLEE CALI) APOYO CATHERINE BUITRAGO (PLAYLEE ARMENIA).