History of Fabretto Foundation:
Written by: Chelsea Jodsaas
The Fabretto Foundation is based in Managua, Nicaragua. They have seven education centers and are based in more than 250 schools nation wide. All together, Fabretto serves more than 18,000 students. The Fabretto Foundation was inspired by Padre Fabretto’s vision of having meaningful growth opportunities for children and youth in Nicaragua. His vision was that all children might have the opportunity to reach their full potential. There is also the hope that all children and adolescents will have access to quality education. Padre Fabretto was a Salesian missionary who journeyed from Italy to Nicaragua in 1948. Padre Fabretto was shocked by the number of impoverished children he encountered there. He quickly set up his first children’s home where he took in abandoned, abused and orphaned children to offer them a home, meals, education, religious education and counseling.
In 1989, Kevin Marinacci came to volunteer with Padre Fabretto. During that time Padre Fabretto passed away unexpectedly and Kevin took over the child centers. Today Kevin is the President of the Fabretto foundation and it has grown to include offices in Nicaragua, the United States and Spain. Fabretto is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is funded by donation, corporate partnerships as well as government grants.
Fabretto focuses on five different areas to support youth and communities; early and primary education, rural secondary education, vocational and life-skills education, food security and nutrition, and community well being and development
Fabretto Cross-Cultural Collaboration Introduction
Written by: Ursula Machado
Since the summer of 2014, teachers from One Fifty Parker Avenue School in San Francisco have taken a strong interest in and have been working to establish an ongoing relationship with the Fabretto Children’s Foundation in NIcaragua. A special partnership has evolved between our teachers and Fabretto’s leaders and educators throughout Nicaragua. Our purpose for volunteering with Fabretto has been to challenge our own teaching philosophies, to gain deeper perspectives of early childhood practices, to engage in a cross-cultural collaboration with international educators, and to continue our passion for on-going professional development through service-learning. Through this cross cultural partnership we are able to give back to others as we enrich ourselves personally and professionally. Every year we plan our volunteer project to be a balance of observing Nicaraguan teachers, exchanging curricular ideas, and establishing a community of global learners and professionals. In addition, we raise funds to support their needs including food expenses, school materials and supplies, teacher salaries, play structures and equipment, school garden projects, and classroom construction.
Thank you to everyone who has supported our journey, enabling us “To empower underserved children and their families in Nicaragua to reach their full potential, improve their livelihoods, and take advantage of economic opportunity through education and nutrition.” We look forward to sharing our experiences with you and planning ways to strengthen the communities both here at Parker and within the Fabretto schools in Nicaragua.
Here’s a recap of our work this summer summarized by Chelsea Jodsaas, Courtney Holton, Emily Schmidt, Kristin Silverman, and Ursula Machado
Sunday, August 7, 2016
We all began our journey from different places and met up in Dallas at the airport. To our surprise, Ursula showed up with Cesar Dubois, VP and Director of Programs at Fabretto. It was just by chance that we were passing each other. Cesar was ushering Fabretto students to the U.S. for a two week leadership exchange. It was an incredible beginning to our journey. We had a smooth flight into Managua and enjoyed the rest of the night at Hotel Mozonte. We feasted on pupusas and Emily and Ursula showed us around the neighborhood a bit before calling it a night.
On Monday we met Marcos Lopez who would join us for the trip. Marcos helped us with translation, driving, sightseeing and was simply a joy to be around. Getting our rental car this morning took a couple hours longer than we expected getting us used to what Marcos called, “Nica time.” When our rental car was ready we drove from Managua to Ocotal. I never knew there could be so much green on one short road trip. When we got to Ocotal we went straight to the school where we would be working. We met Jeneth, the director of the school and she kindly gave us a tour around the campus and told us a bit about their educational philosophy. Teachers go through Montessori training and often practice Montessori techniques in their classrooms.
Tuesday morning we woke up early and went straight to the school to meet our classes. We broke into two groups. Emily and Chelsea went to the 3 year-old class with 15 incredible children and their teacher, Nancy. Ursula, Courtney and Kristin went with the 4 and 5 year-olds and their teachers Amanda and Maria de Los Angeles. We spent much of the morning learning about the natural routine of the class and supporting the teachers.
In Amanda and Maria de Los Angeles’s class, we observed the class begin with singing and dancing - a collaborative way to engage children and students. They led a discussion about maintaining a healthy lifestyle including eating fruits, vegetables, and brushing teeth. This segwayed into an art activity where the children cut out and colored a paper piece of fruit (banana, apple, grapes, watermelon, and mango). Then they studied the numbers “0” and “1” through an art activity where the children collaged tiny scraps of colorful paper together to trace the outlined numbers. All 27 children completed the task and taped their work onto the whiteboard. The children had time to play in small groups - some built legos, some played in the dramatic play, and others drew pictures.
In the afternoon we volunteered in the Art Room where the art teacher Guadalupe allowed us access to all of their materials. The children showed us how to make friendship bracelets and origami frogs. Ursula lead a group outside to collect some natural materials to make art with. The children chose leaves, flowers, and sticks which they created incredible works of art with. We then moved on to the 4-H students where we played an intense game of memory. We were lucky enough to act as students during this game and we all enjoyed trying to finish faster than the other group. After that game we split into two groups. One game of soccer and one game of kickball. I can only speak for myself, but it was intense and so much fun.
After leaving the center we went to town to pick up supplies the teachers had requested.
Plastilina (molding clay)
On Tuesday night we met as a group to plan for the next day. We spent a couple of hours planning and deciding how best to implement culturally-appropriate curriculum. Emily and I decided to bring some of our favorite songs from Parker and translate them to sing with the class. That’s not quite as easy as it might sound. Thank goodness for Google translate and Marcos fixing Google’s mistakes. We spent the morning singing “Bamboo”, “En La Jungle”, “We Are From The Mountain”, and “Los Pollitos Dice” (a song Ursula and Emily learned at Fabretto in years passed) and naturally Emily lead us with her Ukulele. After our morning circle Emily and I supported Nancy in her planned curriculum for the day. The children were learning about shapes and created houses out of circles, triangles and squares.
Janeth, the school director, insisted that we go into town after our lunch break to the Miss Ocotal parade. Here we watched the floats carrying all the hopeful Miss Ocotal candidates. After the parade we made our way back to the school and helped with a service project, painting swan planters in the garden. The recycled tire swans were in desperate need of a new coat of paint.
On the second day in the classroom Ursula, Courtney, and Kristin observed the teachers’ lesson upon arrival. They studied the numbers 1 to 6. There was a poster on the wall illustrating the numbers and a set of six small shelves with a corresponding number of random objects placed upon it. The teacher would ask questions and the children in turn would point out the numbers on the poster or move the objects on the shelves.
We went to the library and the children participated in a story play similar to “The Little Red Riding Hood.” Various children played different roles, props, and acted out the story as the teacher narrated. Children also had free time to look at books of their choice before joining the group story play.
After the lesson we introduced Parker favorite songs with the children, “Ram Sam Sam” and “Bamboo”. Then, we passed out blank cards for a drawing activity. Since the children were familiar with the topic of healthy living, we brainstormed other ways to be healthy and the children drew their idea. They shared ideas of running, swimming, sleeping, eating fruits and vegetables, jump roping, and more. Some children chose to post their drawing on the whiteboard and others kept them. This helped us lead another activity to name parts of the human body.
Kristin drew and labeled body parts as children shared their knowledge. We decided to introduce the song, “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes.” The teachers had to help us because in Spanish they don’t sing knees and toes, they sing shins? And feet? It was fun to hear the different variations of the song and all collaborate together. We took the group outside and played a racing game to help everyone get their energy out and feel good, We made up a phrase in Spanish, “Muevelo! Me siento bien!” which translates to “Move it, I feel good!”
We brought the children fruit and crackers to eat at snack time, just like at Parker School! But these children were very excited that we brought water for them to drink and gulped it down and asked for more like it was a special treat.
Wednesday night again we spent some time planning for activities for the next day. Emily and I began by singing some of the songs we sang with them on Wednesday again. We then lead a game of memory where the children drew two of the same pictures and explained what they were to the class. We then we mixed them up and worked to try to find their match as well as the person who drew them. After this activity we took them outside where the children gathered some leaves and made leaf prints on white paper with crayons. They then traced each other with chalk onto the cement. Chalk proved to be a class favorite. At the end of the day we brought in a small parachute donated by Kristin. It was incredible. We lead some parachute games but were quickly overtaken by class ideas for new games. My personal favorite was pretending to nap. Sadly Emily and I had to say farewell to the class at the end of the day. This time came much too soon.
Amanda and Maria de Los Angeles’s class visited the computer lab as a whole group and watched a movie about the history of Ocotal. The video taught us about different celebrations, food, churches, and values the community of Ocotal honor. Then it was recess and the children played outside until 10AM when it was our turn to lead a lesson.
rsula, Courtney, and Kristin began everyday exchanging songs and did some singing and dancing before jumping into our lesson plan. We decided to continue the children’s interest of healthy living and passed out the Plasticina (clay) - the children were so excited. They made their favorite fruits, among other things like little baskets and people, and they proudly shared their creations.
After snack we brought chalk to the playground and played hopscotch, kicked around the new soccer balls and practiced jumping rope. The children and teachers helped brainstorm new variations of the games “Four Square”, kickball, and made up new games using the outdoor equipment and imagination.
In the afternoon we were invited to an incredible celebration. The students and teachers prepared a goodbye gathering for us as well as another volunteer, Emma from Spain. Emma had spent two weeks at the school teaching the students how to play song flutes. We began by joining them in a circle outside where we sang songs and danced together. We were then lead into a multi-purpose room where the students and teachers put on a show for us. They performed cultural dances and songs and played a slideshow of our time at the school. Emily also performed traditional Nicaraguan songs which she learned in just minutes! They invited us to dance with them and we gladly joined in for what seemed like hours. Only stepping out to be cooled by the torrential afternoon rain that passed through. It was hard to leave.
After leaving the school on Thursday we again went and bought some more supplies with left-over money we had for donations.
On Friday we returned to the school to say goodbye one last time before being on our way. We all posed for photos with the children who told us to say, “Whiskey!” when we were supposed to smile. We then began the drive from Ocotal back to Managua. We made a detour to quickly visit a school in Somoto. With Marcos as our driver we were able to quickly get back to Managua. We stopped at the art supply store, Gompar, to buy more supplies and materials before our visit to the San Francisco Center. This is where the teachers first began their work with Fabretto. Parker teachers, Emily, Ursula, Natalie and Sam spent the previous two summers volunteering with neighborhood youth. There were no kids at the time we visited, but we were joyously welcomed by the new director, Isabel, and she was enthusiastic to share her philosophy and the history of the center and explain the recent changes the program is continuing to go through.