08 August 2013

Why the Y? Community Connections for Spanish Classes

"If you've got the manpower,
we've got the bouncy house!"
I went to a session on what the local YMCA had to offer, on the hunt for some community connections. Of course I asked if they had any special programs for the Latino community in the area, and they said they had recently hired someone to run that very program.

"Is there anything my Spanish classes could do to help with that?" I asked.

Their eyes lit up like they could not believe their good fortune. Apparently they've been looking to expand their service in the local Latino community, having reached only 5% whereas the county demographics show latinos represent more like 12%.

I spoke with the Y representatives, exchanged information, and we tossed around a couple of ideas. We talked a little about my kids helping out at member events or even the Children's Day plan I've been tinkering with for a few years (last year, we ended up taking the festivities to the local elementary ESL classes for lack of a venue, but one rep said they have the perfect place--bouncy houses and all!). Of course, we only scratched the surface of the million other ideas I had, but here are a few I'd like to run by them and then maybe let the kids choose from (hooray for voice and choice!).
  • Diabetes education--The reps mentioned that this is a pet project for the YMCA and that our county is affected especially profoundly by the disease. My kids could maybe put together workshops, web pages, informational literature, or social media campaigns in Spanish.
  • Video tutorials--Maybe the Y would like some videos to put on their page? Kids could make their own little how-to's on stress relief, exercise, or dance (then we'd have an excuse to bring in the Y instructors from Mexico to teach US!)
  • After-school classes--The Y is apparently the biggest provider of after-school care in the county. My kids could put together a presentation in Spanish for the kiddos on something important like nutrition, wellness, stress, or relationships. Once again, also a potential excuse to get Latina Y instructors in the class for demonstrations!
  • Senior classes--See after-school, but modify for la tercera edad!
  • Parents' Night Out--These humongous kid parties might be a great place to set up stations to teach different authentic games, songs, and crafts!
  • Continuous supportive relationships program--I learned in this session that only 10% of people are intrinsically motivated to exercise BUT that "continuous supportive relationships" are the best way to motivate the other 90%. What if we could provide a way to build a network, maybe online, for people to check in, share progress, and support each other.
  • Y member recruiting--How ever it is that the Y recruits, maybe we could help with the Spanish language contingent: presentations, literature, what have you?
  • Global services--They mentioned there are YMCA's all over the world. Maybe we could connect with a "Guay" branch in Mexico to talk or maybe even plan exchanges?
The Spanish 2 kids I'll have this semester are all personality, so I can think of nothing better than getting them out in the community, especially with kids. As for the PBL aspect, can you imagine the Entry Events we could cook up?

If this works, this could be the coup of the Spanish class century.

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