Updated: Jul 25
Over the years, as Cadaniño has grown from 35 students in a garage with one teacher in 2016 to a team of 17 at two community Impact Centers serving over 230 students going into 2023, the need to verify that we are doing the best we can with the resources God has given us so that we can effectively assist those we are called to serve, became vitally important to the ministry.
With every additional student enrolled, every teacher hired, and every new program implemented or project executed, the ability to understand what we are doing, the effectiveness of our classes, and the capacity to troubleshoot problems effectively became increasingly necessary.
We are a small organization with limited resources and a small administrative team. Most of our funding goes towards hiring teachers who live in the communities to serve our students.
They do an amazing job. Last year our team taught over 3,000 classes. That is an incredible amount for such a small team. Most of them went well, but when dealing with such a massive amount of programming, a few things always go wrong and need improvement.
Albert Einstein is quoted as having said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”
All too often, it’s easy to prescribe solutions without first bothering to understand why things aren’t working right.
Over the last years, we’ve developed a simple way of troubleshooting problems called the “Cadaniño Evaluation Method.” It enables us to identify the problems correctly and work towards the right solutions.
This is how it works.
Every program we operate or project we execute has a core objective that clearly defines what it hopes to accomplish. Something that can be easily understood and communicated.
Academic Reinforcement Classes: Help students reach their grade level.
Bible Classes: Teaching students to understand God’s word so they can have a personal relationship with Him.
Computer Classes: Teach students relevant IT skills.
It should be simple, to the point, and clearly communicated to all involved.
This is the creation of the content or preparation of the curriculum.
Academic Reinforcement Classes: Teachers develop teaching tools, worksheets, and class material for use with the students.
Bible Classes: Select topics that meet students’ needs, plan Bible classes, and prepare materials.
Computer Classes: The selection and creation of the courses our students will use.
When not teaching students, this is where our teachers spend the bulk of the remainder of their time. Better-planned classes typically lead to better-taught classes.
Consistently and clearly communicating to our constituents, in this case, the students and their parents, what our program is and is not.
Academic Reinforcement Classes: We will help students academically in the areas in which they are weak and teach them key concepts. We will not help students complete all the homework assigned at school. That is the responsibility of the parents.
Bible Classes: We will teach students how to study their Bible, understand what it means to be a follower of Christ, and how to live out the teaching of Jesus in service to others. We are not meant to take the place of students attending church with their families.
Computer Classes: We will provide an incredible opportunity for students who have never touched a computer to advance to learning coding and programming. We are not an internet café where students can come and browse the internet and watch movies.
By continually reiterating, via various avenues, meetings, text messages, flyers, and signage, what the purpose of our classes, we reduce misunderstandings and the frustration that comes from misplaced expectations.
Doing a good job, and being able to verify that you are doing a good job, are two different things. Implementing control methods ensures that we understand the effectiveness of our programs.
Academic Reinforcement Classes: Tracking students’ grades at school via their report cards enables us to see where students need help so we can meet their needs accordingly.
Bible Classes: Student engagement, class participation, personal prayer and counseling sessions with teachers, and home visits provide teachers with insight into the students’ lives.
Computer Classes: Control sheets filled out by students that track their daily progress combined with digital reports on the back end of the platforms we use mean that our teachers can quickly identify and assist students who need help.
Taking time to review the results of our programs via weekly staff meetings and discussions with individual team members ensures that everyone is up to speed on how things are going and enables us to work together to find solutions.
These steps create a process that generally provides us with the necessary information to identify what is causing problems, enabling us to find practical solutions that can be rapidly implemented.
Refining this process has been slow, but the work we spend helping our team understand how to do it is paying off. It’s not a perfect solution for fixing every problem. It doesn’t always provide the answers to the problem or give you the immediate resources to do something about it, but it does give you vital data with which to make informed decisions and has been key to the incredible growth and impact we have seen at Cadaniño.
I hope this gives you a clear understanding of how we strive to be good stewards of the resources so generously provided by our partners to serve the vulnerable in Guatemala and impact lives for eternity.