Our shining stars here at Cloud & Fire are in a lot of ways our ESL (English as a Second Language) students. They come in with various levels of ability in writing and speaking English, yet they take all of the same classes as our other students.
On Thursdays during Enrichment hour, one of our many clubs is tailored towards our ESL students. Anywhere from 3-5 of them join staff and volunteer led lessons to help improve their vocabulary and sentence structure skills. They have a lot of fun participating in activities like “Make the Most Words,” “Name Ten,” and “The A-Z Game”. We also buckle down a bit harder and have them do sentence writing drills on the board often asking them to fix each other’s work.
The best part about being involved in the ESL Club is seeing the student’s progress. If they are having trouble with a word or phrase one day, when it comes up again a few weeks later, they regularly have got it down. Each student has improved tremendously over the year! Many thanks go to Mr. Larry and Ms. Christina as well who stayed after school a few days every week to help them with their English. There has been a tremendous team effort all school year with fellow students giving tips to their peers all the time, never with judgement, but always encouraging and lifting them up.
A couple weekends ago, a group of Cloud & Fire students and staff joined Malibu Presbyterian Church for Baja Build, a short-term missions opportunity that allowed its participants to build several homes in Tecate, Mexico. The work began as soon as they arrived, with about forty people working on one building at a time. Each team quickly moved materials, painted walls, and built up each home from scratch. Once the home was finished, there would be a housewarming ceremony where they passed on the key to the homeowners and offered gifts, like clocks and wall mirrors, as well as toys for the kids. The experience made a huge impact on Daniela Guerrero, who frequently visits her family in Mexico, but had never seen these more poverty-stricken parts of the country. She was moved to action by the fact that these communities are so often overlooked.
For Oscar Amaya, this was his first mission’s trip of any sort, and he loved the experience so much he already wants to return. There was something special about helping those in need in such a tangible way, and especially getting the opportunity to see the families they served face to face. Oscar enjoyed watching how quickly the process went; by the first hour you could see the shape of the house and then the walls were up, then the roof, and by the end of the day they would have a finished product. What impacted Oscar the most was seeing the old homes that his team was replacing, and knowing that these new buildings, though still small, were a major upgrade that would give the families more space to live.
For everyone involved, Baja Build was a really special time of service. Cloud & Fire hopes to offer students even more opportunities like this, where they can step outside their communities (even outside their country!) and get exposed to missions work.