Here's the scoop on my 10 day teenaged adventure over the past week and a half in the D.R.
As a YA writer I love hanging out with teens today. YA writers can be good examples and mentors for teen readers. Many authors meet teens through their books and then spend time with teen groups outside of the books' pages -- building mentoring friendships with teens, helping them learn about themselves and the world. It's a different kind of "each on teach one" experience. It's us, the authors -- teaching the next generation of teens, our readers, about life, based on the things we've already learned from our own experiences.
So from June 15th-24th this month I had the opportunity to welcome 6 teen girls from the U.S. into my home, to sleep on my floor here where I'm currently living, (temporarily,) in the Dominican Republic. We joined 6 Dominican teen girls from one of the local low-income barrios, and together formed a leadership team that put on a week-long kids camp for 100 very enthusiastic Dominican and Haitian children in the impoverished barrio (aka neighborhood) of Pancho Mateo. It was great for me to see the Dominican and American teens working together on planning and implementing fun and educational activities for the kids, learning each others' languages, telling each other their stories (because everyone has a story, you know,) and ending their week in a giant group hug of teens from two countries now saying "farewall, I love you, we'll keep in touch on facebook!"
Here are a few photos of the week. (And for those readers who still haven't had a chance to read all of the prior great Writermorphosis "Each One Teach One -- Author Interviews" noted in last week's post, I'd still encourage you to go back and read them before the new author advice and interviews are posted beginning next week. You don't want to miss any little gem of wisdom that's been shared! And we've had some really great interviews with fabulous and experienced authors!) :)
Here are photos of the teen girls from Raleigh, NC, the teen Girls from Pancho Mateo, and the kids (ages1-12) of Pancho Mateo who now love them:
Here we are playing Duck Duck Goose, Simon Says, learning about hand-washing and tooth-brushing, singing songs, and hearing stories in the local church building (with no lights or working fans) that we borrowed for the camp.
Co-leader Amy in "The Hair Salon" getting "beautified." : )
American teen Ariana and Dominican teen Loreiny teach hand-washing before snack-time.
Dominican Teen Nina giving 1:1 attention during story and singing time.
A very brief moment of order - expectantly awaiting story time.
Pancho Mateo Preschooler Nadine expertly colors her picture about tooth brushing,
outside, at the town basketall court.
American teen Ariana and Pancho Mateo middle schooler Bladimir talk about school and sports, and bullies, and life as an 11 year old in his barrio of Pancho Mateo.
Jumping rope, playing with puppies, soccer, basketball, tag, piggy back rides, and coloring with "crayolas" outside at the Pancho Mateo basketball court every day after story time and snack.
Learning to share the crayons so everyone could have lots of different colors. :)
Most of the crayons went home in children's pockets every day -- a wonderful souvenier to take home to mama. We had to go buy more crayons throughout the week due to an ever increasing numbers of children and an ever decreasing number of crayons!
The two-country teen planning team met daily to plan kids' activities, make and exchange friendship bracelets, share their life stories, sing/make music together, and go to the beach together - a well-desearved beach day after a week of hot and dusty hugging and loving-on 100 small children!
Teens from 2 countries bonding in Pancho Mateo.
Keep in touch!
Thanks to all who were interested in this teen intercabio (interchange) experience and who asked to see photos. : ) It's an amazing thing in the world when teens from two different groups can come together, build friendships, and work toghether for the good of their communities and their world.
If you are a friend of teens, (as most YA authors are) I'd encourage you to consider doing something similar in your own community.
It's a great opportunity for YA authors to hang out and build leadership skills among "YA people." : )
See you all back here next week for more Author and Publishing Professional tips and experiences.