In late January 2015 Smile Education Foundation began sponsoring a music program at Escuela Portachuelo in Rionegro, a small, rural community located in Bucaramanga, Colombia. Escuela Portachuelo was provided school supplies and other resources to enhance the educational experience of the community's students. The original visit to Rionegro provided eye exams and vision screenings for kids and their parents, in which SEF provided five pairs of eyeglasses to those in need. Jennifer Mantilla, one of SEF’s scholarship recipients, has been receiving scholarship for schooling for roughly four years now. She is the epitome of the kind of success that SEF hopes to achieve with each of its scholarship recipients. Jennifer accompanied SEF on the trip to Rionegro in January. At only 15 years old she is already giving back to the community that she feels has so greatly benefitted her.
Members of the Smile Education Foundation team traveled to Rionegro on Friday, June 5 in order to observe the impact the music program has had on students and professors at Escuela Portachuelo. The students performed a show and afterwards we were given the opportunity to speak with them, along with their professors and parents. After seeing an incredible performance, the talented performers and the happiness that it brought to them, it's clear the impact was widespread. The performance brought the community together as a whole to witness both the success and positivity that the music program has had on the children of their community. Overall, we are more than happy to share in the success of our program and cannot wait to see what else SEF has in store for Escuela Portachuelo and for the rest of our programs!
A bigger and better show is planned for December 2015. The performance will be held in Rionegro at a larger venue with the hopes of drawing a larger audience from the community and increase community involvement. Please take a look at the pictures and videos that we have posted from our beautiful weekend with the children of Rionegro!