Rita Melo Lizardo, the director of Aprendi*, has played an instrumental role in the progress made with the Edify training programs in the DR. Through Aprendi, Rita has hosted two of the four AMO trainings, and has held teacher training workshops for hundreds of teachers and directors.
Last week I attended a follow-up AMO session with Rita where she met with two school directors who needed extra support. She gave a brief overview of AMO’s key elements, walked through a complete lesson plan step-by-step, and provided examples of what other teachers had done so far; different creative ways of saving money and using limited resources wisely. Rita shared pictures from other schools of wall murals and visual aids that are important tools used in AMO. Both directors asked great questions in an attempt to better understand AMO and Rita provided them with clarity, direction, and encouragement.
AMO is a more comprehensive Christian curriculum than many teachers here have worked with, and therefore implementation is intimidating for some. That is why the follow-up work we do is so crucial. About half way through our follow-up lesson one director, Filomena Peña Guzman from Colegio Luminares said with enthusiasm “Everything we need is here in the teacher guide!” Filomena didn’t realize that she had everything she needed all along. Thankfully, having the personal attention from Rita changed that. Filomena recently finished chemotherapy treatment which is why she got off to a late start implementing AMO. Filomena has endured a lot in the last year but she is done with chemotherapy for now and we pray that she will remain healthy and strong. Her hair is growing back beautifully, she is in the midst of expanding her school facilities with an ASPIRE loan, and she is eager to begin teaching AMO to her students. The adaptability and personal attention that Aprendi provides clients like Filomena is what makes our training and follow-up dynamic and transformational.
At the end of the session we were talking about ASPIRE and about the other teacher training workshops that Aprendi offers. I felt a surge of joy and gratitude when the second director, Jeannette Tejeda said, “I told my husband just the other day, I feel like I have learned more from ASPIRE and Aprendi than I ever did in college!” We all laughed together at the comment, but I was touched by her words as I realized the significance these trainings have in the lives of directors and teachers.
Rita closed the session in prayer and encouraged the directors to pray constantly for their classes and for the students. It was a wonderful experience.
*Aprendi is a nonprofit organization created with the primary objective of promoting comprehensive development, education and values in schools located in disadvantaged sectors of the Dominican Republic.