Centro Civico por la Paz is a place in Heredia, half an hour away from San José, where free courses on sports, theater and music are offered to kids, teenagers and sometimes adults, too. Besides the main building with different rooms, you can find two soccer fields and a skaterparc where almost at any time, mostly boys but also some girls are playing soccer or basketball or practice some tricks with their skateboard, mountain bike or skates. On a regular basis they are also ZUMBA classes taking place, where mostly women participate.
Especially during the times of the general strike, when kids had no school and nothing to do all day, the Centro Civico was giving the opportunity to everyone, who wanted to take the offering, to do something useful with their time. But also when school takes place, the Centro Civico is great for kids and teenagers, because they meet others in the same age and are able to spend their time in a positive way and secure surroundings. The Centro Civico is supposed to lead teenagers away from violence and drugs, giving them a chance to design their leisure time in a meaningful way and serve as a place of safety and comfort. Thus, the premises are equipped with security guards. Drugs, alcohol and violent behavior are strictly permitted.
Amongst other things, seminars and lectures on social focal points are taking place. In certain courses, like the theater class, problem-subjects are constantly addressed, discussed and integrated.
At the beginning of my social engagement in Centro Civico I initially got to know the co-workers and accompanied some of the teachers during their classes.
During this time I was able to meet many kids, teenagers and also young adults in my own age as well as making new acquaintances with Costa-Ricans and Nicaraguans outside of my host family. Following that, I checked with the teachers when my support would be needed and put together a weekly schedule, which is created to be flexible depending on the course offers and school holidays. In this way I can support both art classes, the ones with kids as well as adults. At the theater, the choir and dance classes I take an active role. A particularly multifaceted task is, to develop a choreography together with the whole group.
I prepared and lead an English class and occasionally I give tutoring lessons in English and German for anyone who is interested. As English classes in the schools of Costa Rica aren’t very good and most of the students are speaking on a significant lower skill level than for example in Germany or in some cases aren’t speaking English at all, tutoring the language is especially helpful and important in my opinion. Moreover, many of the students lack the motivation for learning and also the interest and understanding for the meaning of languages is considerably lower than with European students. Although the interest for school classes is rather low, many students show interest in my person, the German culture and language.
A few times a week a soccer-group for younger as well as one for older girls is taking place, where I can support a little from time to time.
Moreover, from March onwards I can help in a group with younger school kids and will also try to exert some of the German culture and German games.