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Jumpstart 2015 in Inmaculada, Costa Rica

Jumpstart 2015By Katherine Stanley Obando, Academic Director, JumpStart Costa Rica

La Inmaculada is a community located just outside of Quepos Center along the southwestern coast of Costa Rica. Along with its surrounding neighborhoods, La Inmaculada houses close to 3,000 residents whom work within the Quepos community. While there are small business throughout that have historically generated income for the community, tourism is now crucial to the survival of families, located just 20 minutes away from Manuel Antonio National Park. In a town that suffers with social problems such as drug use – 50% of the elementary school student population reports witnessing drug use daily – and prostitution, along with child sexual exploitation running awry, La Inmaculada is a community that could tremendously benefit from English speaking opportunities like JumpStart Costa Rica for its youth.

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Jumpstart 2015Upon Peace Corps arriving to La Inmaculada in October 2013, the community began to express extensive interest in learning english specifically for the adults as well as youth in the elementary schools! JumpStart is a national program that offers free, intensive English camps for 20 incoming seventh-graders across the country during their vacation month of January. JumpStart Costa Rica 2015 ran from January 5th through January 30th in 37 camps around Costa Rica! Having begun this endeavor in January 2012 with 1 camp of 20 students, the growth of this camp has been astronomical!

Jumpstart 2015JumpStart Quepos 2015 took place in the school El Estadio in La Inmaculada and was truly a success in that for support staff there was a MEP coteacher, 3 consistent volunteers from Global Vision Internation 3 youth volunteers who previously attended a JumpStart camp, as well as various volunteers who came to support on days where additional help was needed. JumpStart Quepos totaled over 10 businesses (to include Best Western Kamuk and Libreria Castro) who made donations ranging from materials, to financial donations to non/low-expense tours. During the first week of camp we were visited by a 37 person classical choir who were involved in not only helping the students learn an array of professions during camp but they also performed a free concert for the community in the evening! During the concert, parents of the camp students banned together to make ceviche from fish that was donated by Martec as well as Arroz con Leche, to sell. The earnings from this concert aided in expenses associated with travel to the donated Si Como No Mariposario bilingual tour, where students put their english to use, and also watched a movie in english in the theatre. Proceeds also stretched to cover low-expense entry into Manuel Antonio National Park which the majority of camp students had not visited!

Jumpstart 2015For the graduation, students self selected songs to perform from their time in camp and wowed the audience with their pronunciation, knowledge base and enthusiasm! With tremendous support from the community and volunteers this project accomplished all 3 Peace Corps goals and truly positively impacted everyone involved! Yes, this camp was exactly what the community needed!

Jumpstart 2015 Students and volunteersThank you to the students of Jump Start for inviting us to spend the morning with them. It was great fun interacting as guests of their “restaurants” and practicing their new English skills! Great Job!

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