Project JOEL Encourages Children in Latin America

Project JOEL Encourages Children in Latin America

Project JOEL has been integrated into school curricula in some countries as part of LHM’s global strategy for reaching out to youth. Since its introduction by LHM—Panama in 1996, Project JOEL has been recognized by the Ministry of Education in Panama and Guatemala for its positive impact on youth. It has also been implemented in other Latin American countries, including Argentina, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Paraguay.

In Panama, staff and volunteers use a variety of innovative activities to connect with children through Project JOEL. One of these was a presentation called “Dream and Fly” where sixth grade students learned about emotions, values, physical development, and goals from a biblical perspective. This particular presentation was the first stop in a series of presentations to three schools.

Another activity included second grade students building paper airplanes while listening to a presentation about dreams, goals, obstacles, and how to overcome them. After the presentation, the children went outside to fly their paper airplanes, and they received a devotional to keep.

Over the summer, LHM—Argentina began a series of presentations that brought together over 300 children from four different schools. The presentations were held at a local church and led by the pastor and Cintia, a psychological consultant. In addition, a volunteer managed the audio-visual needs for the events.

The schools requested the presentations to cover anxiety and self-esteem. These topics were presented to the children from a biblical and psychological point of view. Many of the children expressed difficulties in their lives and looked to these talks to get help and answers. Children shared how much the topics helped them and how they can apply the things they learned to their everyday lives.

After the series of presentations were finished, Cintia was contacted by a student named María. María was unable to participate in the presentations due to personal issues. One of her classmates knew she was going through a hard time, so she went to María’s house to tell her about the presentations. Her classmate gave María Cintia’s contact information and encouraged her to reach out. María reached out to LHM-Argentina and shared her current situation and the challenges she is currently facing. She also requested booklets and materials that were given out during the events. Cintia worked with the pastor to create a plan to help guide María and encourage her during the difficult times in her life.