Rural Education Institute Honors Out-Going President, Sara Tylosky
By Camie Fenton
In honoring a daughter, Julie, who died at 21 years of age, something good has emerged from the efforts of Craig and Sara Tylosky—The Rural Education Institute (REI) in San Miguel de Allende. “By moving to San Miguel, we made a needed life change in light of Julie’s short-lived life,” said Sara, who founded and helped guide REI as President until this past January. She has just turned the reins of president to Chip Swab, who is Acting President for 2017. “Craig and I wanted to apply our energy towards making life better for children, which is a healing process in itself, and now we want to thank the hundreds of volunteers and donors who have made REI’s growth and service possible over the last eight years.”
“Sara leaves REI with a strong board and well defined education and extra-curricular programs that have evolved as a strong conduit for enhanced educational opportunities, such as hands-on assistance by post-graduate interns specializing in international development and with a focus on youth and education,” added Chip. REI uses existing community centers, or builds them, to create a place for after school activities. They supply the computers, books, and interns along with local volunteers to create and maintain the pathways that keep students motivated from the third grade through middle-school to improve their Spanish literacy, learn Basic English, and learn how to use computers.
The interns who run REI’s programs bring sensitivity to cultural differences in learning aptitudes to everyone they serve, from the children to their parents. Wherever REI has opened a community center, they have found that adults also seek classes in order to keep up with their kids’ progress in computing skills, speaking English, and improving Spanish literacy. REI’s programs follow the SEP guidelines (Secretaría de Educación Pública) for public education in supporting those goals.
As Chip Swab steps into the role of Acting President, he tells his story of growing up in rural Tennessee, where he was schooled for grades 1-6 in a one-room classroom, which, he says, served him well. “I relate to the schools in our rural communities, where kids may feel cut off from ‘the world’. But REI is opening the world of possibilities, one child at a time. My goal is to continue to grow our programs.” To do this, Chip and the REI board will focus on three areas over the coming year: 1) bringing more post-graduate interns to help other communities; 2) continuing to work closely with SEP goals and the parents in the communities; and 3) continuing to strengthen REI’s connections with other local NGO’s, in order to give children a better chance to participate in Mexico’s growing and changing economy.
Chip expressed gratitude for Sara’s efforts as cofounder and out-going president and for her dream, dedication, and passion in growing the charity to this point. He asks those who care about REI’s vision and work to participate in the “Sponsor an REI Intern” program at USD 950 per semester. REI currently has six interns and needs to increase this number to ten for the coming year (current interns come from the US, Spain, France, and Colombia). This amount will cover their two-way airfare and a very small stipend. If you can house an intern, you will meet one of these amazing young people who are dedicated to bettering the world. Please call to become involved with REI. Chip’s number is 415 120 0543, ruraledmexico.org, and Rural-Education-Institute-of-Mexico on Facebook.