Children's Library Project

hogueraIn 2005, first year volunteer Northwestern medical student Jason Oppenheimer took action when he noticed that few local kids spent time reading and many never passed elementary education levels. Why? Families were too poor to buy books, and the local school only went up to 5th grade.

So he decided, "If the students can't afford books - give them books. If their parents can't help them in their home - find them an environment where the more advanced students can tutor those in need of assistance. If the students can't afford to go to Buena Vista for a secondary education - give them the opportunity to move their education forward at the clinic.


With a generous donation of textbooks from Alfonso Cortez, a good friend of Clinic Director Dr. Douglas Villarroel, Jason formed Centro Medico's children's library, "La Hoguera," Spanish for "the hearth."

Jason hoped that it would be a place where students would come after school to supplement their learning and a place for children to pass the time with a book while their parents visited the clinic. During his final two weeks of volunteering at Centro Medico, children started to come to La Hoguera. Lured by coloring books and other arts and crafts, many students found the books and sat down intrigued. It was a good start, and Jason was happy.
Centro Medico still needs many more textbooks and fiction books in Spanish. The arts and crafts supplies are always in need of replenishment. The dream is to someday provide the library with a listening center and a few computers with educational programs. We welcome any donations!!!