Hope for children in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico

This email is in regards to my Adjuntas parent visit last week.  We will have another one this week so expect more updates SOON and even some pictures SOON!  Although the work we are doing with Early and HeadStart is amazing, my experience last week was beyond words and something that I have been now thinking about for days.
Allow me to share for a moment:
2hrs+ into a rural mountain, past every curve imanigible, I was met by 5 young moms and their babies.  There were 2 (3) yr olds and 3 children under 2.
When those little babies saw the Souns they clinged onto them and interacted with the materials with pure unadulterated joy.  I printed matching letters and the children knew to put the Souns on them without prompting!  How neat!
The moms, in reaction to their babies’ delight, were incredibly impacted by the very idea that THEY would be delivering literacy to their children.  Humble mothers as their children’s first teachers? Teaching them to love sounds, letters, reading, books? Them? YES! YES! YES!
 I left the set with the pastor’s wife as they would like to go over a Souns activity during Sunday school with all the children.
We will be holding a weekly meeting at 11:30 am on Wends until the group is going then, they will continue to meet and I will visit once a month.  The church has graciously provided a room for this program.
Part of my time with them was spent, as is my nature, in truly connecting with the moms such that they could see that my efforts are those of a MOM just like them that found HOPE and decided that HOPE was not just for my child but for every child.  I encouraged them to share the message and program with everyone they knew.  I communicated that it will be US, along with organizations like Rotary and programs such as EarlyStart or parent groups, that will change this world and our children’s reality.  The work begins with US.  Everyone excercising the power of ONE.  As a new Rotarian and long time “Power of ONE” advocate, I think we might just have some future Rotarians in the bunch and not just emergent readers!
As a matter of fact, two of the moms asked me about starting a second group at a nearby community center where there are 30 moms with preschoolers but no programs. I will keep you posted on that as they coordinate it or give me more details.
Once again thank you and please thank the classroom sponsor on all their (and my) behalf.
With love,
Nikolai

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