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MSASS Guatemala: Community Based Child Welfare (SASS 375D/575)
Antigua, Guatemala; Guatemala City, Guatemala; Santiago Zamora, Guatemala (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Spring Break
Homepage: Click to visit
Restrictions: CWRU applicants only
Budget Sheets Spring Break
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring Break 2016 12/01/2015 ** Rolling Admission 03/05/2016 03/13/2016
NOTE: All applications submitted after December 1 will be assessed a $100 processing fee.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Fact Sheet:
Program Type:
CWRU Short-Term Language of Instruction: English
Language Prerequisite: No Housing Options: Hotel
Minimum GPA: 2.0 Credit Type: Graduate, Professional, Undergraduate
Number of Credits: 3 Program Advisor: Office of Education Abroad (Email
Courses Offered: Applied Social Sciences Case Credit Type: Engineering Social Sciences Credit, Global and Diversity Credit, Social Work Minor
Deposit: $200
Total Program Cost:
Included in Program Cost: Admission fees, Flights, Housing, In-country transportation Not Included in Program Costs: Meals, Passport Fees, Tuition, Vaccinations, Visa fees
Program Purpose: Study
Program Description:
Antigua, Guatemala
Guatemala: Community Based Child Welfare - SASS 375D/575

Travel Dates: March 5 - March 13, 2016

 Pre and post trip seminars  January 23, February 20, and April 16, 2016 (Saturdays)

Approved for:

  • Global and Cultural Diversity Credit
  • Social Science credit for engineering Students
  • Social Work Minor, or take as
  • Elective course
Visit MSASS 3 credit study abroad courses and contact Dr. Mark Chupp ( Students need to meet with Dr. Chupp before the application is complete.

Contact Nancy Issa for Financial Aid Eligibility for travel costs.

Course description:
This course is taught by Zoe Breen Wood and Victor Groza.

This course is designed to familiarize participants with the culture and history of Guatemala, as well as study child welfare from a community development perspective. All students will spend some time each morning to learn Spanish, followed by guided tours of programs. The experience will challenge participants to compare Guatemala with the United States at social, economic and political levels. The program is an intense, small group experience in living, learning, traveling and studying. Students will study child welfare issues, social services and indigenous community practices, and understand the strengths and weaknesses of social policies and human services in both Guatemala and the U.S. The course acquaints participants with the socio-political factors that influence the development of child welfare programs in the nongovernmental sector (private, nonprofit) and governmental sector in Guatemala. The role of the helping professions in child welfare are explored via agency visits, lectures and collaboration with Guatemalan professionals.


More information

The week will take us to a range of community settings and provide interaction with children, youth, volunteers, professional Guatemala staff, international organizations & personnel, and between each other! Lots of walking is to be anticipated, interspersed truck rides, chicken bus rides and toot-toot (now you are wondering what a toot-toot is, you have to see). You will make new friends and learn a great deal about similarities and differences between how Americans and Guatemalans view child protection and child welfare services.

The trip will begin on Saturday in the United States with students traveling together with faculty. Then, on Monday through Thursday we have individual Spanish lessons; that means whether you never studied Spanish or are a fluent Spanish speaker, you are assigned a teacher who works with you on language skills, Guatemalan Spanish, or Guatemalan history and culture. On Saturday there will be optional activities: hike to the volcano, ziplining, visit coffee plantation, shopping, etc.

We obtain Spanish lessons from Academia de Español PROBIGUA (Proyecto Bibliotecas Guatemala, ). Probigua uses the profits from the Spanish School to promote literacy in Guatemala by donating the school's profits to maintain the two library buses as well as to establish and maintain libraries in the many rural villages in which there is no access to books. Participants may have an opportunity for a day trip on one of the buses.

Each day start with Spanish lessons; you have breakfast either before or after your lessons. Then each afternoon we visit different organizations.

Here are descriptions/websites for some of the places and programs we visited in Guatemala in previous years:

Santiago Zamora
Some of the women in the town of Santiago Zamora have established a cooperative in order to demonstrate their skills, to help contribute to the income of their own community and to improve the future of the local children by raising awareness of the importance of education as well as improving the education opportunities for local children. The women demonstrate various traditional techniques that have been passed from generation to generation of indigenous Guatemalan women. The women of the cooperative will explain and highlight some of the techniques used to weave the beautiful and intricate tapestries, clothes and other textiles that Guatemala is so famous for as well as show how they make mats from the reeds harvested from local lakes. After they have finished they serve you a traditional meal of Pepito (meat & vegetarian versions) and you have the opportunity to ask questions through your guide about the cooperative and the local community or to browse the locally produced textiles and handicrafts. All proceeds from any purchases made are distributed amongst the community and also provides investment in the education of local children.

Casa Shalom
Casa Shalom is an orphanage for disadvantaged children and youth developed by North American missionaries. This faith-based organization was opened in 1987 and the program is based on Christian principles.

Safe Passage
Safe Passage is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working in Guatemala City to bring hope, education, and opportunity to the children and families living in extreme poverty around the City's garbage dump. The program includes approximately 550 children, ranging in age from 1 to 21 years, coming from nearly 300 families in the surrounding neighborhoods. This is one of the most emotionally evocative programs we visit and was founded by an American, Hanley Denning, who went to Guatemala to study Spanish and never left, developing programs to remove children from working in the dump and supplementing family income so children could receive nutrition, health services and an education. Tragically, in 2007 Hanley was killed in a car accident in Guatemala but her vision goes on.

Los Patojos: 
Los Patojos is an after school program from children of the community Jocatenango located just outside of Antigua. While Antigua has cafes, fancy stores and nice restaurants, its neighbor Jocatenango has street crime, drug problems and extreme poverty. Los Patojos was started to help keep kids off the streets and away from petty crime, drugs and gang life.  Juan Pablo is the founder of Los Patojos.

At Los Patojos, you participate in a service learning activity. You will work in small groups to prepare and present an activity for a group of approximately 20-25 children. You should develop a plan that is developmentally appropriate, that provides educational and recreational opportunities, and can be conducted with youngsters whose only language is Spanish. The plan should include:
  • identify the individuals involved and the roles of each group member,
  • the age group for which the activity is planned,
  • the objectives of the activity,
  • what supplies or materials will be used and the plan for securing those materials,
  • a brief agenda for and description of the activity.  
Suggested activities can include working with children on drawing, painting or handicraft projects, teaching the children songs in English, playing a sport, cooking class, table games, dancing, classes in guitar or another musical instrument. Please note that an hour and a half can be a long time to keep children's attention and focus. Your group should consider planning for multiple activities. In planning activities, build on your own strengths, talents, skills & interests.

At the end of the week, there is typically an overnight excursion to an area outside of Antigua where you will have an opportunity to see some more of the beauty of Guatemala, visiting ancient ruins, sightseeing and getting an idea of some of the service delivery issues in more rural areas. Decisions about the specific excursion for the coming year have not yet been made but will be based on considerations of safety, feasibility and cost.