A Glimpse into Guatemala with Sarah
Back to School with Natalie
Sarah is an energetic, respected P.E. teacher in Barrington School District 220. Last year, she connected with Lauren and Ilona, colleagues who had both volunteered on multiple Ingage teams before. The three teachers chatted at recess duty, and a seed was planted in Sarah’s mind that got her thinking about joining an Ingage team. In college, Sarah had done volunteer work but had never travelled internationally in order to volunteer her time for the betterment of others. Though she felt at first that she may not have much to share as a P.E. teacher during the education workshop sessions, she decided to take the leap and join the Guatemala team this past summer.
In Guatemala, she had the opportunity to get to know the Guatemalan culture, provide four days of workshops to local teachers as well as serve and provide resources for Chiquimula, a small impoverished town centered in an area
For teachers and students, back to school is a time of both great excitement, high expectations, and anxious nerves. August always arrives for me with a mix of emotions that seem unusual to occur simultaneously. I lament the end of summer and having a schedule that allows me to relax, see friends and family, work out, cook extravagant meals and have me-time on a more consistent basis. At the same time, I search through Pinterest every night for new classroom decoration ideas, fun beginning of the year team building activities, and new ways to organize my classroom and make the year easier for myself and enjoyable for my students. I think about what my new students will be like as I write their names down on name tags, clothespins and bins. I create a space for each of them hoping that they will look forward to crossing the threshold into our room every day with a feeling of being welcomed and valued.
The word empower is defined as “making[ing] (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights” or “giv[ing] (someone) the authority or power to do something”. In my opinion, empower is a reciprocal verb. When you empower someone else to be stronger and more confident, you in turn are empowered and your life is touched by this selfless action in a positive way. Therefore, my personal definition of the word empower is “feeling strengthened by sharing your talents, knowledge and passion with others, in an altruistic way, in order to better their lives and inspire them.'' I was able to develop this personal definition through my own journey to empowerment with Ingage Unlimited.