This is a room we built last week in Tijuana for an orphanage. Rick is the instructor and wrote this response.
I am very excited about the new education room at the children´s home. Thank you very much. This is just a very wonderful thing. I was there a few times during the construction and told the people there that I appreciated it and that it has tremendous value to the kids there.
The room belongs to them but I´m hoping they will use it for just two things: teaching, and as a study hall. I will try to encourage them to keep it for only these uses.
The education room has three major benefits as I see it. First, and most important, it tell the kids that education is important. You would think that these kids and the adults who run the facility would know this but they don´t. Teenagers have a very hard time understanding (feeling strongly) the importance of education. I struggle, patiently, generally patiently, with them to get them to come to class. I will redouble my efforts to influence them patiently. Second as a study hall. Hopefully it will be a quiet place where the kids will go to do their homework away from all the other zillions of things that go on there including TV. Hopefully I can guide them in that direction. Third and last, but very important, it will be used as a teaching room.
I am just beside myself with excitement in this classroom improvement and in the impact it may make in the lives of these abused kids. It is my opinion that any child who is rejected by his/her family and lives in a children´s home has been abused by his/her family. This is abuse all by itself.
Incase you don´t know, almost all of the kids there are behind one year in school. Some are behind 6 years. One has never been to school. One has been to school for several years but has not learned to read or write. It is a challenge for me to get them to admit that they can´t read and write. They try to hide it from everyone and they sometimes resist coming to class to keep their secret. One 15 year old took a test a two months ago and passed the test for elementary education. She will take a test in a few months for middle school and hopefully start high school next fall.
Again, thank you very much. I feel like I owe you and the people who built and paid for this school room a tremendous amount for this wonderful gift. I will keep you posted on how it goes.