Chispa Grant in Action
Supported by a Latin American Studies Chispa Grant, in January 2013, Elsa Goossen '15 traveled to Guatemala with nine other Macalester students for a two-week service-learning trip. They stayed with host families in San Juan la Laguna and partnered with the nonprofit Rising Minds, which works on sustainable community development projects around Lake Atitlán.
Their group taught hands-on lessons at a local school, facilitated an after-school leadership camp for kids, created a play structure with recycled tires, led a health workshop for mothers, and helped plant family gardens. They worked closely with local community members for each of these projects, since one of Rising Minds' guiding principles is giving "hand-ups" rather than hand-outs. The Macalester group continued its involvement back on campus, where they shared their experiences, worked on fundraising projects for Rising Minds, and organized the next year’s trip with a new group of participants.