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Colombian and U.S. Teachers Work Together Toward a Common Cause

Every year, committed teachers in Colombia and the U.S. give their time and energy to empower new student cohorts interested in becoming change-makers in their communities. To date, 12 teachers have participated in the Peace Makers and Problem Solvers - PMPS Program, guiding their students through this journey of change.

This year, five teachers from three educational communities (one in the U.S. and two in Colombia) are participating in the PMPS journey. Young changemakers in their own right, the Colombian teachers are part of Enseña por Colombia - EPC, a local NGO teaching program driven to create equality through education. EPC calls young Colombian professionals to action, asking them to serve a two-year commitment teaching in public school classrooms and positively influencing the lives of the school's students and their communities.

As mentors, both Colombian and US teachers put their leadership skills into practice and help their students develop into empowered leaders. Working in collaboration with the students to design student-led projects, they contribute to the program's meaningful virtual exchange and become active participants in catalyzing community change.

Meet the 2023 PMPS Colombian Teachers

Andrea, Carmen, and Jhonier are leading a group of 15+ high-school students at Diocesano Laura Montoya school in Chigorodó, Antioquia:

Andrea Velasco is a 24-year-old professional who graduated in Political Sciences with an emphasis in Peace. As part of the EPC teaching program, Andrea is leading English classes for elementary-aged students.

Why is Andrea driven to participate in PMPS?

"Through PMPS I want to contribute to the construction of communities of young people and adolescents that promote the fabric of peaceful and effective environments through the resolution of conflicts, coming from care, collective work, and recognition of their context."

Carmen Parra is a 33-year-old Psychologist teaching Natural Science at an Elementary school. After serving with the EPC teaching program, Carmen decided to continue working as a teacher.

Why is Carmen driven to participate in PMPS?

"PMPS is an opportunity to grow as a person and to weave networks that seek to strengthen healthy coexistence in my educational community, and at the same time, strengthen leadership skills that allow my students to serve as conflict mediators in different situations in their daily life."

Jhonier Rivas is a certified English Language teacher, teaching high-school students. As a 24-year-old staff teacher at the participating schools, he welcomes the opportunity to engage and connect his Colombian students with peers in the U.S.

Why is Jhonier driven to participate in PMPS?

"I joined PMPS because it is a project that will help our students learn problem-solving skills and how to communicate effectively, allowing them to better handle difficult situations and build healthier relationships."

At La Provincia school in Carepa, Antioquia, one Colombian teacher is guiding a group of 8 students:

Vanessa Prieto is a 24-year-old Philosopher. She is a 9th-grade Spanish teacher and 10th and 11th-grade Philosophy teacher.

Why is Vanessa driven to participate in PMPS?

"PMPS is for me a program that allows young people to be interested in their own communities and seek ways to help. At the same time, this program strengthens communication, listening, conflict resolution, and teamwork skills. One of the things that motivates me the most to be a mentor at PMPS is that it is the young people themselves who want to take part in this program, they themselves are willing to help and continue implementing the curriculum activities."

Meet the 2023 U.S. Teacher

Marcia Snavely has been involved with PMPS since the start of the program. She is the AP World History Teacher at Poolesville High School and has more than 25 years of experience teaching Social Studies.

Why is Marcia driven to participate in PMPS?

"As a teacher, PMPS means student leadership and cross-cultural connections. I have enjoyed working with young people as I have watched their personal growth as they evolve into leaders. PMPS has also been beneficial for my students to learn about the commonalities and differences between Colombia and the United States."

Through weekly workshops, leadership development training, team building exercises, intercultural communication experiences, and community service activities, these dedicated teachers are guiding their students to better understand the role that they, as young people, can play in becoming agents of change.

Join these teachers in their journey to inspire lasting change in young leaders. Click here to support the Journey for Change and help these teachers guide their students through social impact projects designed to move the trajectory of their communities toward one of peace and prosperity!


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