In the summer of 2013, Rafael Reyes volunteered at a primary school in rural El Salvador. This public school serves approximately 18 small communities, offering classes for kindergarten through 12th grade and some additional training in accounting. During his stay in El Salvador, Rafael logged approximately 70 hours teaching English and Music Theory to 7-12th graders. Rafael was the sole teacher for a music class of 10 students that met 4 days per week. Participation in the course was an optional addition to required classes.
After observing 2 music classes, fellow team member Britt Edwards noted,
“Every student was engaged. It was obvious they were there because they wanted to be there. It wasn't just part of school. They were putting together different skills they've learned in class. Now they can all play chords and simple rhythms.”
Music class students utilized model fretboards that Rafael and Britt helped each student construct. These models are used to practice chords, finger positions, and strum patterns.
“The idea [for the models] came from my education [in classes at G.O.D.] like Third World Development,” said Rafael. “I think they enjoyed [making the models] because they were participating in their learning process instead of me bringing the models already made. They were proud of the job they did.”
Rafael's volunteer teaching launched our team's relationship with the local school as he met the principal and several teachers. Rafael also met many youth from all over the area, with class sizes often exceeding 40 students.
Rafael was able to contribute to our team's collective effort in El Salvador by developing relationships with youth and their families in our new neighborhood. His presence in the local school has laid a foundation that we hope to continue to build upon in coming years.
By: Anna Reyes