Mac – Co-Executive Director of Planting Seeds International
I first came to Guatemala in 2010 to be a teacher’s assistant for a partner organization of Planting Seeds called Safe Passage. While there, I developed a tutoring program focusing on supporting students with one on one attention to improve reading, writing, and math skills. That is where I found out about Planting Seeds and the amazing philosophy that not only prepares kids academically, but also fosters their growth as human beings. Through my time in Guatemala, I have learned about the strength, resilience, generosity, and capability of so many Guatemalans along with the extreme consequences of poverty, oppression, exploitation, and marginalization that has plagued so many Guatemalan families. In my opinion, the answer is education. Not only education to get a job, but education to empower, to question, and to love. It is our responsibility to move education and community development to a place where we are listening to the families, promoting love and creativity, and working together to solve larger problems.
Shannon – Co-Executive Director of Planting Seeds International
My name is Shannon Moyle, originally from Ottawa Canada. My love, passion and dedication for Planting Seeds and for the children and families of Guatemala began 10 years ago in 2006. I have had the pleasure of knowing Richard and Susan Schmaltz my entire life and I have them to thank for introducing me to the Planting Seeds Philosophy and the realities and resilience of so many living in Guatemala. Planting Seeds in turn introduced me to a nonprofit in Guatemala called Safe Passage, where I have spent the last 9 years teaching children English through music and movement, coordinating family programs, and engaging youth in the Hip Hop culture through breakdance. I am excited to be a part of Planting Seeds and continue supporting communities in their own development.
Madeli – Executive Director of Plantando Semillas Educational Program
Madeli is a native Guatemalan who has worked with Susan Schmaltz to develop the Plantando Semillas Program since its inception. She recently graduated from Landavar University, as class valedictorian, with a Masters in Education. Madeli has been Executive Director of the Plantando Semillas Educational Program since 2014. She is in charge of all of our classroom programs as well as the Teacher Training Centre in San Lucas. Madeli is a founding member of the Associación de Maestrós de Educatión Temprana “Plantando Semillas”, the group that provides the Planting Seeds Teacher Certification program.
Martina – Coordinator of Plantando Semillas Educational Program
Martina has been a part of the Planting Seeds Community for over 10 years. She started her work with Planting Seeds in 2006 as a teacher in our 2 year old program. After seven years of building loving spaces in Guatemala CIty, Martina transitioned to our model program in San Lucas, “Garden of Dreams” and is our Pedagogical Coordinator. She recently completed her undergraduate studies in Pedagogy and Educational Administration at the University of San Carlos, which represents a great support in improving the training and supervision of our educational programs. Martina’s dream is to see children grow in a holistic way under the Planting Seeds method.
Joanna – Development Officer
My interest in International Development began in my early 20s when I ventured to Asia after college graduation. Through my travels, I was not only exposed to different cultures and lifestyles, but also to the extreme poverty faced by the majority of the world’s population. Upon my return to the United States and while working in fundraising for the Anti-Defamation League, my experience stayed with me. So much so that I began pursuing international volunteering opportunities, which landed me in India. While there, I realized that I did not truly understand the problems that contribute to poverty, so I decided to pursue a Master of the Arts in International Development in 2016. My studies reaffirmed my belief in education as the foundation to breaking the cycle of poverty, and when I was hired at Planting Seeds in 2017, I felt like it was fate that landed me here. I truly believe in the mission of Planting Seeds and the organization’s ability to make a positive, lasting impact on the lives of Guatemalans through education and community empowerment.
Our Future Plans
Our initial and long term goals in Planting Seeds are to continue working on healthy human development. We are excited to work with Madeli and the amazing Plantando Semillas staff to ensure high quality programming in all Planting Seeds centers. One of our first initiatives will be to extend the Planting Seeds Philosophy to parents and families, supporting them so they can create loving spaces in their homes. The first step to making this happen will be opening up a community center in Zone 3, with the families living in the areas surrounding the Guatemala City Garbage Dump. Our goal is to have full community involvement in the development and creation of the upcoming center. This includes regular community meetings, researching current available resources, and engaging in conversations about the history and needs of the families. The initial programs in the center will focus on family development, parental support, and a safe and fun space for kids, adolescents, and adults.