Heart for Venezuela is a foundation founded by three Nido teachers committed to providing support to Venezuelan individuals and families who have recently arrived in Chile. Students, teachers and parents help every semester. During the COVID-19 crisis this hasn't been an exception.
"Since distance learning and social distancing began, we have still been up and running. We've been so lucky to have so much support from people, including many Nido faculty members and parents in the community. Many of the Venezuelan families that we have served in the past and helped become stable are now suffering from being out of work again due to the pandemic, and we have taken on even more because there is such great need right now with winter approaching as well", explain Ms. Yates and Ms. Leon, from the team of 'Heart for Venezuela'.
With monetary donations, they have sent 29 food boxes (to 29 families), and about half of those families have received additional supplies such as donations of winter clothing, blankets, heaters, kitchen items, cleaning supplies, and supplies for babies (diapers, wipes, clothes, formula). Some Nido families also signed up to deliver a special meal to a family for a special event (such as a birthday or Mother's Day). "Most of our families don't eat out at restaurants or even fast food because many of them live on very inexpensive staples such as rice, beans, and corn flour to prepare basic meals which cost very little. It is, therefore, such a treat that people signed up to send delivery meals from local restaurants or delivered cakes to help the families celebrate in ways they normally could not", say the members of the foundation.
Some Nido families (parents and students as well as faculty and staff) have also "adopted" a family and helped them take care of rent, food, or other basic necessities and have formed a relationship with the families. In doing this, they give them a fact sheet on the family so they know sizes, needs, ages, location, photos, and contact information. "And whenever anyone sends us donations—monetary or other—we make a point to post or send photos of how we use them and who they helped so that families can see where their donations go. We want them to feel the love and changes that their donations provide. It is incredible how a gesture of empathy generates a chain of hope ", they explain.
In the Elementary School, students from 5D have been preparing presentations and will present the following workshops to the children served by Heart for Venezuela: 1) Depression, Anxiety, and Coping Skills 2) Mindfulness and Calming Strategies, and 3) Resources for Physical Activities. Additionally, they will be recording videos which will teach kids how to make crafts, as well as reading story books aloud. The Grade 5 students feel lucky and grateful for the quality of their distance learning experience and they would like to pass along what they have learned to the children served by Heart for Venezuela who are also out of school at this time and with less resources.
In the High School, with the help of Ms. Dent, the English teaching program is expanding to serve older students, which will begin in June and run through break and into next semester. Ms. Dent will be the liaison to help teach Nido high school students the basics of teaching EAL (English as an Additional Language) to their Venezuelan partners; she'll be holding workshops to model how to teach English and providing basic lessons for the high school students to follow. Heart for Venezuela will also connect HS students with a child from 'Heart for Venezuela' to work on English with.
Thank you to everyone who has already helped in some way for our Venezuelan families! If you would like to support these efforts please email firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. To see some of the videos, photos, and posts of their work, please check out their Heart for Venezuela Facebook page.