Our education programs developed out of five of our community members’ desire to study for and earn their GED. Since that time, this department has developed four adult education programs: English language classes, Spanish literacy classes, a driver’s education program, and leadership development (which includes basic computer and Internet training).
Recently, we added a youth education program that helps Mayan students prepare for college. Several volunteers teach each program, and childcare is provided so that more parents who have young children can participate. Classes are taught at St. Francis of Assisi Parish and School.
Pixan Ixim seeks to address the barriers to education facing the Mayan community. Factors that make access to education difficult are the lack of basic education and literacy, the lack of basic English competency, the lack of transportation and childcare, and few economic resources. For all of these reasons, enrollment in more traditional education programs seems like an intimidating idea for many of our community members. Therefore, our education programs focus on building relationships and community as much as it focuses on formal education. This makes the courses inviting for Mayans, who have a very community-oriented culture. Through our education programs, we hope that our community members will be able to celebrate their own heritage, relate better with American society as a whole, and build an educational foundation that will help them succeed in a variety of endeavors.
Pixan Ixim is a Catholic, faith-based community organization. We gather every Saturday at St. Francis of Assisi Parish to pray in the Mayan language of Q’anjob’al. At these gatherings we celebrate birthdays and baby showers, pray for community members who are ill, and give thanks for all of the blessings received as a community or as individuals. Everybody is welcome to participate in these gatherings.
Pixan Ixim developed a Maya Youth Group in July, 2010 in order to teach the youth of our community the Maya worldview and to support them by providing education programs. Education programs, such as the book club and marimba classes, are aimed to help the youth prepare for college and to celebrate Mayan culture. In addition, the youth participate in community service every Friday evening.