Long-Term Partnership in Guatemala

Jan 01 Spotlight

Since 2014, Play360 Founder Jon Racek has been taking students to Guatemala for Alternate Spring Break experiences where they focus on themes of leadership development, community engagement, and innovation in design. Working with strong local partners such as FUNDAP makes long-term engagements possible and sustainable. The FUNDAP team pre-selects the schools where projects will be built, manages the acquisition of materials, and trains their own team to lead the effort. Through repetition of projects in one region, impact is able to spread and core competencies are developed. Most recently, between Play360 annual visits, FUNDAP accomplished an additional 8 playgrounds in area schools, utilizing their own staff and sourcing their own materials. This is the gold standard for what we do. In 2018 we met with representatives from nearly 10 participating schools from the five years for a feedback session. The results were overwhelming with 90% of the projects still in full use.

“Sometimes we just take the kids outside for their lessons and have them sit on the tire garden. They listen very well for morning reading when they are outside”

Maria Lupita Mendez, Teacher in Guatemala school (translated)

“The littlest [preschool] kids all want to come to our school for their primary because we have something special for them, a place to play, that not all schools have. They get excited for this special element and come to school”

Miguel Herrera Velasquez Sanchez, Teacher in Guatemala school (translated)