"THEY SEE US AS PART OF A FAMILY."
Ana. Carolina. Darling. Ivette. Mesac. Regina. Reyna. Rolando.
When you ask teachers and principals all across Nicaragua about these names, they recognize them immediately. These names bring smiles, respect, and deep appreciation.
But who are these people? They're the ACECEN facilitators.
Every year, they attend Walking Together workshops on topics like creating a healthy school culture, curriculum development & lesson planning, visioning for a school's future, and much more.
After the facilitators attend Walking Together projects, they hold hundreds more workshops, trainings, and mentoring sessions for 1,046 teachers and principals at 100 schools all across Nicaragua. When Ana, a facilitator for schools in central Managua, reflects on everything she's learned over her seven years of service, she says: "Every topic has come at the exact right time in God's timing. Schools get very excited and they say 'This is what we were waiting for. We really needed this topic, because these are the needs that we have.' And we are only able to say, 'Thank you, God. This was your timing."'
Maria is a principal who echoes Ana's sentiment. When she thinks of her relationship with her own facilitator, Rolando, she says: "All of the workshops have filled all the expectations in every teacher. The workshops also help us to be better in classrooms with love, and education, and to be able to present Christ through the teachings in the classroom. We believe that ACECEN has been a big blessing in this place."
It is through the facilitators that ACECEN is able to continue leading and guiding its member schools. They are not just an association in name. They are walking alongside teachers and principals to equip them with everything they need – everything they need to reach, teach, and transform children and communities.
Some facilitators joined the ACECEN team only recently, but some, like Regina, have been serving for over ten years. She has worked with many of the same schools throughout those ten years, and has been able to find her favourite part over and over again: "When I see the teachers understanding their vision and working towards their vision alongside us - that's my favourite part. Obviously, we know this is a process and it takes time, but when we get to the moment where we can see the vision, that is my favourite part."
Like Regina, Ana's favourite part is the big picture: "My favourite part is to be able to see how God is working in every single life. When I see it, it's so obvious that I say, 'That is God's work. It has to be God.' The only thing that I'm able to say is 'Thank you, Lord, and praise you, Lord, because I know it is You who is doing this."'
Ana and Regina's love for their job is obvious in what they say, but its also obvious in how they are received by teachers and principals. They and all the other facilitators don't just train and teach principals and teachers - they love and encourage and never give up on principals and teachers.
"We get very overwhelmed because schools don't see us as the ACECEN facilitators: they see us as part of a family."
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