Over the next three years, Glasswing commits to increasing its regional network of 30 community schools to a total of 100 public schools that are safe, have the necessary infrastructure and equipment, and provide daily opportunities for programs to equip students with life skills that will enable them to thrive, despite adversity. Teachers, parents, students, community members, and employees of companies operating locally will be involved in this initiative as volunteers, proving a greater sense of ownership, empowerment, civic participation, and sustainability. Volunteerism is a core part of Glasswings work; it is a powerful force for social integration and a value-generator.
Glasswings commitment consists of three complementary components. First, schools undergo volunteer-led makeovers to improve bathrooms, kitchens, classrooms, libraries, sports areas, and other learning and recreational spaces. In addition, Glasswing provides educational materials ranging from desks and computers to libraries and science laboratories.
Second, students have access to curricular and extra-curricular clubs led by volunteer educators who commit to leading a club one to two days per week for the academic year. These educational, sports, and enrichment clubs, available to students from K-12, aim to build non-cognitive and life skills. Clubs include: Glee, Robotics, Girls, Science & Discovery, Debate, Soccer, English, Leadership & Service, among others. The Glasswing-trained volunteers help students acquire skills and provide a sense of hope and belonging, which are essential in facing the context of violence in which these youth live. For older students, Glasswing runs vocational workshops to introduce youth to fundamental technical skills that help open opportunities for continued education or income generation, as many young people must work to help support their families.
The third and final component involves students families; teachers and parents are coached on the importance of child and youth-centered learning, positive discipline, character-building, and non-violent communication.
Glasswing has proven expertise in public-private partnerships, community development, complementary education programming, and volunteerism. Every one of Glasswings programs includes the active participation of public, private, and civil society sectors, leveraging the combined strengths and capacities to ensure a more sustained impact. Partners include multinational corporations that provide funding and volunteers; local Ministries of Education and municipal governments that provide infrastructure and in-kind support; and community leaders and citizens who take action as committed volunteers that provide time and expertise.
By December 2015, the organization will identify at least 50 schools for the implementation of the program based on the criteria of selection which include: a) school leadership and commitment; b) accessibility; c) security; and d) school´s need.
By March 2016, of those schools identified, 20 will be selected to start implementation of phase one. In this phase, Glasswing will create a network of support, fostering relationships between the school, local government, and other sectors to join forces to create a safe space for students to develop new skills and acquire competencies that will help them thrive. A committee for inclusion and support will be created at each school to oversee the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the Community School model. This committee, which will include students, teachers, family members, and the school principal, will create a community map and a work plan that aligns Community School objectives and activities with the school's pedagogical plan.
Simultaneously, the organization will recruit and train volunteers, and purchase all materials and equipment for the clubs to start club programming. At this time, the organization will also carry on with the Extreme-makeover with the involvement of the community.
By May 2016, at least 150 students from each school will be participating in clubs, and there will be at least 20 volunteers per school leading the club sessions and being positive models for the students. These 150 students will have developed and strengthened life skills and other competencies. Each year, the commitment will be adding new schools and going through the same process described above.
By September 2018, the commitments goals to transform 70 additional schools into safe and strong Community Schools.
Youth in Central America are facing overwhelming challenges, including pervasive poverty, disintegrated households, limited access to opportunities, as well as high rates of intra-familiar, gender-based, school, and community violence. According to the World Bank, Honduras and El Salvador have the highest homicide rates in the world. All of these challenges have contributed to a dramatic increase in migration among minors. According to UNICEF, there are 2.3 million children under 18 years of age in El Salvador, of which one in two suffer from malnutrition, little or poor access to basic services, overcrowding, violence, and low education.
Exacerbating this situation is the fact that public spending on education for Honduras and El Salvador is just 5.4% and 3.5% of GDP respectively, resulting in a lack of adequate infrastructure, space, equipment, and staff to provide students in public schools the tools and developmental needs to confront and overcome social problems. Furthermore, students attend classes in public schools for a mere 4.5 hours daily. According to UNICEF, almost 70% of adolescents do not study beyond 9th grade; the dropout rate in some of the poorest communities reach up to 60% among people between the ages of 15-19. This results in increased vulnerability to high-risk activities and gang recruitment, among other types of exploitation.
Studies have shown that mentoring and after-school programs have a major impact not only on students academic and social performance, but also on reducing dropout rates and combating violence. Given the evidence of positive results through role models and extended learning and enrichment opportunities, Glasswing implements programs that extend the public school day and broaden students opportunities for learning, recreation, and vocational training. These programs focus on life skills development led by trained volunteers who serve as role models to provide year-round after-school clubs in partnership with ministries of education, universities, and corporations that operate in different countries, as well as international agencies such as USAID.