Introducing our newest team member
We are pleased to introduce our newest team member in Siem Reap, Loeung Sophal who joined CFC in May as our Visitor Program Assistant. Sophal graduated with a Bachelors in English Education from Southeast Asia University in Siem Reap Province in 2013. Following graduation, he was employed in various roles in the hospitality industry and held English teaching positions with various organizations, most recently Cambodia World Bridge.
His passion for education and desire to see positive change in Cambodia's education system led him to seek employment with CFC.
Sophal's practiced leadership and communication skills will serve him well in his important role as Visitor Program Assistant. In this capacity, he will help identify, budget, and coordinate needed school improvement projects for the hundreds of volunteers who assist CFC every year. His role provides a critical interface with our overseas volunteers and helps to foster positive experiences and build lasting relationships with this valuable network. Sophal will also manage CFC's storage facility and coordinate with all programs to ensure timely distribution of donated goods.
Welcome to the team Sophal -- we are excited to have you join us!
First community reading event highlights young readers
CFC school librarian Chann Vanndy is a valuable asset for CFC's literacy program. Her vision is for every child to embrace a love of reading whether for pleasure or study, and for parents to support and encourage reading in their childrens' lives. To foster this environment, Vanndy has organized a series of community reading events at all of CFC's primary school campuses. The first gathering (pictured at left) took place in May at Aranh Primary School.
Parents of second and third-grade students were invited to join teachers and administration in a proud celebration of student literacy. Primary school students read aloud from a favorite book to an engaged audience and received much congratulations for their efforts. Afterwards, parents attended a brief meeting with school librarians where they learned ways that they can support and engage with their children's reading. The group photograph below highlights those parents who regularly read with their children.
Primary school teacher training and leadership workshops
Led by CFC training veterans Katie Sansom and Angela Dawson, another dedicated and talented group of international teacher trainers from Singapore's Tanglin Trust School (TTS) spent several days in early June conducting workshops at Aranh Primary School. The focus was on developing problem solving skills for teachers and administrative staff and setting annual goals. CFC Mentor Teachers were also engaged to facilitate and disseminate the key learnings throughout the entire teaching audience.
To encourage camarderie, there were several entertaining exercises that kicked off the workshops, including one that asked participants to make clothes out of newspapers, tape and staples (at right). These types of activities helped to encourage creativity, communication and problem solving within a group. The teachers
and principals are committed to using new strategies to improve their teaching and learning environment.
Tanglin Trust teachers who were joined by some of their own children also distributed donated hygiene packs to parents after the trip's final community presentation.
Thank you Tanglin teachers!
First aid training spans entire CFC school network
At the end of April, Jacqui Lynas and Debby Nelson, volunteers from the International Medical Clinic in Singapore along with Claire Southwell-Jones from Australia joined with the CFC School Health Care Team to deliver three days of first aid training to over sixty CFC schoolteachers. Their efforts were supported by translators from the Angkor Hospital for Children, and the group was delighted to welcome the Regional Minister for Primary School Education as a participant in their first class.
Using real-life scenarios to test and expand newly acquired first aid skills, the course workshops were dynamic, engaging and marked by enthusiastic participation from teachers and staff. One teacher reported having heard about the first aid training several years ago and keenly waiting for an opportunity to attend.
As a measure of the program's success, trainees were tested on their first aid knowledge before and after the sessions. Pre-training scores demonstrated a 49% proficiency in response techniques while post-training scores improved to 91% proficiency. Such improvement clearly indicates both the need for training and the quality of the instruction by our outstanding medical volunteers.
In an effort to further empower members of the CFC community, School Nurse Im Uom and his staff are now training all student council members on these same first aid techniques. Knowledge is power and these efforts by our extended health team are a great example of how to share important knowledge and potentially save a life.
Well done everyone!
CFC Board of Directors meeting in Siem Reap
CFC Chairman Bill Amelio
and CEO Jamie Amelio
led the April Board of Directors meeting in Siem Reap. The team had the opportunity to hear reports directly from CFC staff in Cambodia and to tour schools and meet with teachers and students. Highlights included learning about the progress in our science and technology curriculums and visiting our new music room on the Aranh Sakor High School campus.
During their visit, the Amelios were present at a community gathering where they bestowed special recognition awards to deserving recipients in front of admiring parents and staff. The Sunrise Awards were given to two students, Peik Chun and Muth Sivorn for outstanding achievement in academics, leadership, initiative and CFC awareness. The Inspire Award was given to Dylan Palladino for his Feeding Minds Fighting Hunger campaign (see story below).
Feeding Minds Fighting Hunger dedication
On April 25th, Dylan and Denise Palladino (at right), founders of Feeding Minds Fighting Hunger (FMFH), were honored with the Inspire Award and a plaque dedication at the Aranh School campus. The dynamic mother-son team's ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro mobilized generous supporters around the globe to contribute USD$125,000 towards the funding of CFC's valuable Food for Thought program.
The next area of support for FMFH has already been initiated as a pilot garden project at Aranh Sakor Junior High School and Aranh Sakor High School in conjunction with established CFC curriculum guidelines. Students will not only benefit from the promotion of healthy eating and nutrition, but they will gain valuable life skills. CFC's curriculum will include gardening units and will help students learn from agricultural experts how to grow, harvest and market crops. Dylan and FMFH supporters traveled back to Siem Reap this month to help with early preparations of these school gardens.
For more information on FMFH's latest endeavors and on how to contribute to their efforts, please visit their facebook page (click here).
Thank you to the Palladinos and to all the Hunger Fighters
who continue to support their efforts at our CFC schools!
Student Councils convene to share best practices
In April 2015, CFC hosted a Student Council Exchange at Bakong High School. Student representatives from four schools gathered to share progress reports from their first semester. During the school year, Student Councils are responsible for working on eight different project areas, including library, groundskeeping and sport. At the exchange, students gave PowerPoint presentations highlighting their work while also demonstrating their computer skills. Additionally, students had the opportunity to ask questions and receive positive feedback from their peers from other schools about ideas and methods for improvement. This was an excellent opportunity for students to practice public speaking, leadership skills and exchange of ideas.
Cooking demonstrations teach healthy habits and life skills
Cambodian-American supporter Seda Nak enlisted the help of her friend Sadira Benge, and Chefs Angel Franco and Walter Lainez from her family's popular Washington DC-based restaurants, Maketto and Toki Underground, to spend one week at various CFC schools teaching cooking skills. Mothers at three pre-school communities learned about enhanced rice porridge cooking, and high-school students at Aranh Sakor High School learned about healthy eating and the culinary profession. These volunteers efforts support CFC's commitment to sustainable nutrition and empowering Cambodian communities to adopt lifelong healthy habits.
Thank you Seda Nak!
Interns poised to make valuable contributions to CFC programs
For the past several years, CFC has benefited from energetic and insightful college and graduate students who volunteer to spend extended time as interns researching issues endemic to the Cambodian education system and working on creative solutions relative to CFC's educational programs. Pictured at right are the most recent interns from Lehigh University and the University of Central Florida: Jeevan Jain-Cooks, Shannon Cassidy, Linda Nguyen, Taynah Oliveria, and Santiago Martinez.
This summer's projects will address the following:
- Database training and internet access
- Local fundraising and networking
- Comprehensive volunteer packets and guidelines for service trips
- Primary School English curriculum and professional development
- Career Preparation curriculum
- Resources to support Gender Equity Program
We are grateful to these inspiring young minds for dedicating their time to CFC!
International schools continue to demonstrate generosity
CFC continues to benefit from the support of school communities around the globe who foster awareness, fund service projects and trips to Siem Reap, and contribute needed supply donations. We applaud these collective efforts to teach young students about civic-mindedness, service and philanthropy. Thank you all!
Students from the Catlin Gabel School
in Portland, Oregon, headed east in April, participating in their schools' first volunteer service trip with CFC. The group painted tables and chairs and worked to lay paving stones at the Aranh campus. Their efforts to carry heavy loads of sand and paver stones were helped by younger CFC students during their school breaks (at right)
. The Oregon students learned about Cambodian culture and lifestyle during a Village Ramble scavenger hunt and fostered new friendships while playing soccer with CFC high school students.
The trip was initiated by Catlin Gabel student Connor Ford who had visited CFC schools on a family trip several years ago and felt the need to develop a deeper relationship between CFC students and his own community. Taking a lead role with CFC's volunteer trip team and the teachers, administration and community members in Portland, Connor and his classmates made the trip a reality.
Fifteen high school students and teacher Craig Olsen from the Singapore American School
spent two days in early May working at Aranh Sakor High School. They painted desks and stools for classrooms and worked on a drainage ditch project. The students, all members of the SAS CFC club, raised SGD$2500 to fund their projects. For some, it was their first trip to Siem Reap, but for many others, it was a return visit and a chance to reconnect with CFC students whom they had previously met.
Eighth-grader Ella Paterson
has been instrumental in building awareness and support within the Canadian International School
community in Singapore. Most recently, Ella organized a collection campaign that gathered more than 4,000 school supplies and toiltery items. In April, Ella and her mother traveled to Siem Reap and personally delivered the donations to CFC.
Families and friends volunteer their time at CFC schools
, husband Dave Alberga, and their two children Emma and Kate visited Bakong High School in April and spent the day painting tables and happily engaging CFC students in conversational English exchanges. They also personally delivered a donation of 200 toothbrushes which the two sisters had previously collected at their California school.
In May, Midwest Chapter Leader Carolyn Viens
was joined by daughter Jaquelin Viens
and friends Carol and Emily Mark
, Brinn Esper
and Brigid Morrissey
on a service trip that completed two projects at the Aranh Sakor High School campus. They helped to construct a sports area on the campus grounds that will be used for athletics events such as long jump, high jump and rope climbing (below left)
. Their other project was to build a large-scale container to hold water for the school gardens (below center)
. In addition, Jacqueline and Brinn participated in first aid training sessions led by Uom Im and staff members of Angkor Hospital for Children. To top off a productive visit, Carolyn personally delivered school supply donations that had been collected by the Piedmont High School
club in Piedmont, California (below right)
Thank you to our Midwest and California supporters for making all of this happen!
Volunteer's expertise enhances science department
Canadian Jeanne Chew, chemistry teacher (at right, in pink shirt), is the third science specialist from Earl Haig Secondary School in Toronto to be a long-term volunteer in our CFC science classrooms. Jeanne spent two weeks working closely with CFC teachers and students conducting various Chemistry experiments. She also spent time exploring different chemicals and materials that would be locally available to support experiments that CFC teachers can regularly and easily offer students. In addition, she identified several pieces of equipment that would add another layer of efficiency and effectiveness to our chemistry labs.
Thank you Jeanne - everyone loved working with you!