Monthly Archives: September 2015

You Are Strong! What Your Hands, Head and Heart Already Know

soy fuerte workshop-1 How do you help someone else recognize their own strengths? Their own potential? To believe in themselves and their future when the odds are against them?

This was the challenge when our team of Global Volunteers was asked to design and deliver a motivational workshop for the teenage boys aging out of their orphanage in Lima, Peru. They had lived there for years and now they would be on their own in just a few short months.

Would they recognize their unique strengths and be able to use those assets to achieve the future they wanted for themselves? How could we help set them up for success, and do it in a second language, with limited training supplies and in just 45 minutes?

It was actually the boys talking about their passion for soccer that sparked the idea of using a simple picture of a hand, a head and a heart to capture their individual strengths. Our goal was to have each young man recognize and appreciate his own foundation of unique strength.

soy fuerte workshop-2Here’s how we did it in five simple steps – so simple but so powerful – and you can do the same with any young person in any life circumstance.

  1. Start with a large piece of white paper for each teen and several colored pencils. In the left bottom corner, ask them to outline their hand with outstretched fingers. On each finger, ask them to write a skill or strength that they have with their hands. (For example: soccer, art/drawing, cooking, electrical repair, wood working, etc.)
  2. Next, ask them to draw a picture of their face or head in the upper middle page. Ask them to write down their “head” strengths, usually from their schooling (math, writing, music, etc.)
  3. Finally, ask them to draw a picture of their heart in the lower right corner of the page. Here they write their “heart” strengths like courage, persistence, faith, etc.
  4. Connect the three pictures (hand, head & heart) with a triangle and ask them to write “Soy Fuerte” or “I Am Strong” in the center.
  5. From here, you can flip the paper over and help them identify their future or dream jobs and finally, what resources they will need to use to achieve those goals.

Did it work? Yes! Very Well.

It was amazing to see how quickly the teenage boys grasped these concepts of interpersonal strengths and were able to apply them directly to their future. We were amazed and so inspired by their courage and spirit. Thank you boys for allowing us to be part of your journey!

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Film Review: McFarland USA

McFarland USA, with Kevin Costner by Disney, 2015.

Okay, I admit that I’m a big Kevin Costner fan, especially in sports movies that are based on true stories. This movie, McFarland USA, is just that kind of inspiring story.

It’s about a coach, Jim White (Costner), down on his luck who moves to a farming community, McFarland, in the central valley of California. White begins to recognize the raw talent of the high school boys who are not only physically strong but show incredible perseverance and courage as they work in the fields every day to help provide for their families. White believes in their potential (and convinces them to believe in themselves) and along with the support of this hard-working, farming community, he builds a champion cross-country running team, winning the California State Championship 9 out of 14 years.

It’s an amazing story about seeing and believing in others’ strengths as well as our own!

Here’s a link to one of the movie’s trailers, via IMDb (Internet Movie Database:


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