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Dear Parents of Potential Casa Students,
Greetings from El Salvador! Welcome to our webpage describing Casa Educational Network programs. We hope you find this site informative and descriptive of the unique study abroad programs we have created. Our website was developed to give potential students the information they need in order to discern whether or not this is the right program for them.
Being parents ourselves (four daughters), we thought it would be good to have a link specifically for you in order that you may also discern if this is the right program for your son or daughter.
As you will see from the website, the Casa Educational Network supports programs rooted in four main pillars: accompaniment, academics, community, and spirituality. Beginning with sustained accompaniment of the poor, Casa programs integrate praxis experience into rigorous academic reflection, and then support this reflection through a carefully structured web of spiritual and communal formation in order to facilitate the transformation needed to develop a 'well-educated solidarity.'
We have been working with Casa here in El Salvador for the past 11 years and will be going to the Philippines in January 2011 to begin creating Casa Bayanihan. At times, we have had some potential students’ parents express their concerns about letting their sons and daughters travel to El Salvador or the Philippines to study abroad. As parents, we understand the desire to ensure the safety of our children and want to reassure you that we take issues of safety very seriously both in El Salvador and in Manila. In order to ensure the safety of our students, we have implemented a number of important safety policies and guidelines that we expect our students to uphold. For example, students do not go out alone after dark and they cannot ride public transportation alone at any time of day.
We also spend the first two weeks of students’ time in the host country covering issues of safety and security. Obviously, no study abroad program can guarantee students’ safety at all times. We do, however, go to great lengths to ensure that our students remain safe. We would never be in this line of work if we felt that our students were any more at risk than if, say, they were in a big city like New York or Chicago.
On the left toolbar, you will find links to reflections by several parents who were hesitant in allowing their children to study abroad in El Salvador. Eventually, they did decide to let them participate and then the parents themselves visited during the student’s semester. They have agreed to serve as contacts if you would like to get an additional perspective about our program. Also, we do encourage parents to visit their sons and daughters during the semester. More than half of the students’ parents actually do decide to visit.
The rest of the questions you have right now will probably be answered through the other sections of this website. If you have any further questions for us, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to give you a call to talk further about the program.
Kevin & Trena Yonkers-Talz
Co-Directors, Casa de la Solidaridad