HCDE Shorts: CASE for Kids Coordinator Chavez Volunteers to Provide Water, Hygiene Education to Children in Guatemala1
April 3, 2018 by HCDE-Texas
Jacqueline Chavez works each day to connect Houston children in afterschool programs with enriching activities in the fine arts, sports and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through the Center for Afterschool, Summer and Enrichment for Kids, or CASE for Kids. During Spring Break 2018, the program coordinator reached beyond the familiar to supply basic needs to impoverished children in Guatemala through a volunteer project.
Through a nonprofit called Living Water International, Chavez joined a team to drill a shallow water well in the village of San Benito, a community of 60. While there, she and a team of volunteers provided basic hygiene education training to children and their parents.
The Katy resident says the trip allowed her to connect with people around the world and begin to understand the challenges and needs of communities different from our own.
“This experience was very personal for me because I was able to teach the kids and families different skills that are not usually taught in the classroom,” she said. “About 30 men, women and children gathered every afternoon to learn about hygiene and sanitation. It reminded me of the important work we do at Harris County Department of Education through CASE for Kids as we work to serve families.”
Through CASE for Kids, Chavez is able to invest in youth while working towards the well-being of the community, she said. The essence of her trip can be summed up through this affirmation requoted from the nonprofit she serves: “It’s hard to know which lives are changed more—those ‘serving’ or those ‘being served’.”
About the Center for Afterschool, Summer and Enrichment for Kids, or CASE for Kids: As an afterschool intermediary, CASE for Kids provides resources, trainings and funding for students in grades pre-k through 12 in afterschool programs in schools, child care facilities and community centers. As a branch of Harris County Department of Education, the division was founded in 1999 with a goal to keep kids safe, help working families and improve academic achievement: http://www.afterschoolzone.org.
About Harris County Department of Education: HCDE provides special education, therapy services, early education, adult education and after-school programming. Services are funded by government grants, fees and a local property tax rate of $.005195. For every dollar in local property tax collected, HCDE provides $4.40 in services to the 25 Harris County school districts. HCDE also operates four campuses for students with profound special education needs and adjudicated youth who require a low student-teacher ratio and highly structured environment. One-hundred percent of students served on HCDE campuses are at-risk. The organization is governed by an elected board of seven trustees and has 1,060 employees and 33 facilities, including 15 Head Start centers. More info at http://www.hcde-texas.org .