February 2014

Building Dignity Summer Programming


As temperatures reach record lows across the United States, Building Dignity’s work in Peru is heating up! With students on vacation from December to March, the Building Dignity team has been busy organizing fun and engaging summer programming.
Thanks to an incredible (and growing!) team of volunteers, we’re able to offer a robust summer schedule that places a special emphasis on the arts.
We’ve partnered with local artist Oscar Morales to offer drawing and painting classes twice a week. Students learn core skills such as color mixing, shading and perspective while replicating diverse approaches: from still life to Jackson Pollock’s drip painting!

Long-time volunteer Estanislao Guillen is helping to keep the creative juices flowing with his own art class that uses recycled materials to produce delightful decorations and handicrafts. 


Children and young people dive into the world of acting and self-expression, thanks to a theater workshop organized by two Voices of Youth graduates, Claudia Pezo Mitman and Brenda Benites Palacios. As summer begins to wind down, they’re working hard to prepare their final project: an original stage production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. 


The Building Dignity Music Program has continued to grow, thanks to the hard work of Andy Ventura Sánchez, former music student and now music teacher. Last month, we sadly bid adieu to Andy as he accepted a job outside of Lima. The music program has since come under the capable leadership of Michelle Kincaid from Santa Cruz, CA who joined the Building Dignity team in August 2013. Michelle leads music workshops twice a week, teaching students music theory, guitar, percussion and violin.


Voices of Youth
The lazy days of summer have not slowed down our young leaders! Voices of Youth participants are busier than ever.
While many seek shade from the relentless Peruvian sun, Voices of Youth took advantage of the summer rays to build solar ovens. After studying solar energy and testing various models, the group finalized their designs and enjoyed a sustainably produced meal of hotdogs and pizzas. The group has also been hard at work planting a community garden. Everyone is looking forward to a delicious harvest of lettuce, potatoes, radishes and beets. 


Voices of Youth
Voices of Youth participants have also used the vacation days to plan a community service project in collaboration with “Los Martincitos” Program for Senior Citizens. Together, a group of 21 young people from the community of Oasis designed a full day of activities at the senior center, which included theatrical productions, comedy acts, games and even manicures! While all their hard work and planning certainly paid off, most of these young leaders were surprised to discover the most impactful part of the day was simply conversing with the seniors and listening to their incredible stories. 

The Building Dignity staff and volunteers are immensely proud to support the development of a new generation of service-oriented community leaders!



“In Voices of Youth, I’ve learned that anyone can be a leader—leaders aren’t born, they are made.  Furthermore, a leader is someone that supports others [and] helps them overcome their fears. This is what I’ve learned during my years in Voices of Youth and at Building Dignity.”

- Natalia Pezo Mitman, age 12 


Thank you to all our supporters who make these summer classes possible. The annual donations we receive early in the year help keep our books balanced—we appreciate it!


Building Dignity / 1622 Hague Ave., St. Paul MN 55104, USA / Phone: +1 651-641-0416 / Email: 
Center for Development with Dignity / La Encantada, Grupo 2, Manzana J, Lote 13, Villa El Salvador, Lima, Peru / Phone: +51-1-287-5307

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Building Dignity
1622 Hague Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104

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