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Americas Association for the Care of the Children (AACC) is the brain child of Deborah Young together with 2 friends that have been in the child care field for over 30 years. AACC is a non-profit, 501(c)3 and the umbrella organization for Programma Integral Educando con Amor y Tenura (PIEAT). PIEAT is located in Nicaragua. In the United States AACC partners with Companeras, in Nepal with Hands in Nepal, in Kenya with Mama Beth’s orphanage, feeding center and school, and in Bhutan with the Royal University of Bhutan.
In the last 10 years AACC , together with our partners, have also built 7 educational centers, developed a vitamin program with donations from Vitamin Angels, a dental therapy program, a therapy program for children with disabilities, school scholarship programs for children and adults, and promoted community development through home visits, community workshops, story hours, and community projects. AACC works in rural and urban areas
AACC starts in new communities by implementing initial surveys, interviews, and focus groups to identify local needs and desires. We use a participatory action research framework to guide our work. This process ensures the voices of the community are voiced, heard, and integrated in decision making and implementation of programs and projects. Presently we have conducted over 1800 initial surveys and interviews and have visited over 2000 homes sharing information on health, education and holistic principles of development, and constructed over 9 educational centers.
AACC’s activities include five fundamental components.
House to house visits: To bring education to the community about: the impacts of poverty. Actions that can be taken to reduce this impact is explored and developed. Themes on basic hygiene, preventative health information, literacy, alternatives to domestic violence, support of human rights for all with a focus on age, gender, sexual orientation, and knowledge of child development, brain development, social emotional development, and community development.
Community workshops: To bring workshops on a variety of topics which include but are not limited to; child development, brain development, temperaments of children, best evidenced-based practices for the care of young children, home back-yard gardens, fuel efficient stoves, literacy skills, and basic hygiene and preventative health practices. Community leaders, parents and teenagers of the community attend. Story times are given to children in the community on a weekly basis using oral learning traditions. Stories are read or shared aloud, cooperative parachute games are played, role play and simple theatre skills are used to encourage compassionate social development, physical exercises such as yoga are practiced, and preventative health practices are taught.
Educational Centers: To construct community education centers which house infant and toddler classrooms for childcare, education and development; community meeting spaces for education programs; primary classrooms; health clinics; and libraries. Child Care is identified, as one of the major concerns in the Millennium Goals of the United Nations. Preparation and training for teachers is also provided on an on-going basis.
4. Community Networking: To connect community groups working with children to organize and work together to help increase the quality of the future of all its members sharing the limited resources available.
5. Community Development with Democracy and Peace: To support and expand the understanding and practice of democracy within the family. AACC promotes peace and democracy by learning non-violent strategies for conflict resolution, knowledge and skills in social emotional development, peaceful strategies for family and community development. Our hope is to increase compassionate reflective action.