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FundLife Feature: Get to Know Teacher Maia

Our FundLife Community Learning Spaces will not be possible without the dedication and hard work of our beloved Teachers. To honor their efforts and the big role they play in our student learners’ lives, we start by featuring our first FundLife Youth Mentor: Teacher Maia!

Maia Melani Alvarez, or Teacher Maia as referred to by our CLS youth learners, is a passionate Youth Mentor and Learning Aid in FundLife. She teaches children in the different Community Learning Spaces (CLS) sites at Ridgeview Elementary School, Libertad Elementary School in Palo, Habitat Mini Library, and Tagpuro Boys' Town.

What do you like most about working at FundLife?

"My favorite part of work is being with children. I always feel happy whenever I can motivate them through singing and dancing before the session starts. I feel energized whenever all of them try to participate during the class discussion and whenever they look happy and excited about our activities. Seeing them smiling and having fun while doing art is an amazing feeling.

What is your most memorable moment so far?

Though I am still new at FundLife, one of my most memorable moments with the kids is handling sessions in Tagpuro Boys' Town. Most of the children in this centre are those who were abandoned and neglected, while some are in conflict with the law. When I had my initial sessions with them, I observed that most of the children had trust issues and were shy. They did not participate at first, but they joined the other children later on. The youth learners also became more comfortable speaking to us and were more participative in the sessions. Perhaps they found the sessions enjoyable.

What do you love about your work?

As a teacher by profession, I love teaching children. I feel happy that with FundLife I can practice my profession and it allows me to be with children, which was something I was not able to do in my previous line of work. I love that I can teach them virtues and values at a very young age as it is very important nowadays.

Describe your typical day at fieldwork:

I usually wake up at 5:00 am, especially if it is Tuesday and Thursday when I have scheduled sessions. . I usually arrive at the office by 6:40 am to catch up with the service vehicle going to the different sites. At around 7:45 am, we arrive at our designated Community Learning Space (CLS) site. Here we conduct learning sessions, play-based sessions, and sometimes do community visits to meet the parents of our learners. There are 2 scheduled sessions to cater to different age groups and their availability. The last session ends at 3:10 pm. Some of the kids help us clean up the space while others stay behind to have a bit more time to play or read while we wait for our service back to the office. By past 4:00 pm, we arrive back at the office where we will prepare the materials needed for the next day's work. I am usually home by 5:00 pm.

Community fieldwork is often long and full, but seeing the children and their bright smiles and wide eyes when they learn new things give our dedicated and hardworking Youth Mentors and Coaches fulfillment and more energy to power through their day.

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