Enriching the shanty towns of Caracas
Alive to the World is the creation of Christine Vollmer, whose youngest child was born with a neurological impairment which left him blind, deaf and brain damaged. The doctors gave him little hope, but Mrs Vollmer and her family would not give up. Under the expert guidance of Dr Charles Solis, of REACH Family Institute, they began an intensive programme of stimulation which left them in awe of the extraordinary nature of human potential and of the human brain. Leopoldo responded, developing his sight and hearing. He was even able to crawl and say a few words before, at the age of 14, his heart suddenly stopped.
All children start with high ideals and a yearning to belong
Christine Vollmer always had an interest in children and a love of teaching. Franco-English by birth, her marriage took her to Venezuela, where she was captivated by the children she found there. As her own grew, she was able to return to teaching and was electrified by the conditions in the shanty towns of Caracas and the interior. Law and order were minimal and family breakdown rife. Young girls were becoming pregnant and boys were joining gangs. She then noticed that the girls had as much desire for romance, marriage and family life as other children, and the boys as much yearning for heroism and a sense of belonging in community. However, both sexes lacked the sense of direction and understanding of values which could bring them to their goals. If these were given to them in a good school programme, their lives would be immeasurably enriched – and so it has proved.
An international programme adapted to each country
Alive to the World took Mrs Vollmer and her team many years to create. It was always designed as an international programme which could be adapted for use in any language or country. It has now reached over 1 million students, in 8 languages, 22 countries and 4 continents with more being constantly added as the programme itself continues to grow and develop.
“The Neglected Element for Development”, by Christine de Marcellus Vollmer at the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute
“The Family in Latin America”, by Christine de Marcellus Vollmer to the United Nations, New York
The voice behind the why
“One of our most outstanding successes was in a large and very poor state school outside Caracas which was slated for closure because of uncontrollable violence. We secured EU funding for a 3-year Alive to the World experiment. Within two months all troublemaking was gone. The leading “toughs” became the leading reformers, clearing a large area of rubbish to make a football field. When I came to visit, I was greeted by the “Safety Committee” of boys and the “Protocol Committee” of girls.”Christine VollmerCreator of Alive to the World