Karen Monnier of Fredericktown recently traveled to Paraguay.
Monnier made the 4,700-mile trip in order to teach young people in the South American country how to be leaders.
This is the second time Monnier has been chosen to participate. She took a similar trip last year to Costa Rica. During her first trip, she was part of conducting a national leadership education project known as Transformación Costa Rica.
Monnier was chosen to be part of leadership expert, author, and pastor John C. Maxwell’s team of certified international coaches, volunteers and leaders to attend both Transformation Costa Rica in 2018 and now Transformation Paraguay in 2019.
“I am a certified coach, trainer and speaker with the John Maxwell Team,” Monnier said. “As part of the John Maxwell Team, I am an executive director with my own business, Dakota Growth Alliance. I’m certified to teach, train and coach individuals and businesses in various areas to help them reach their personal and professional potential.”
Monnier said it is always a pleasure to be allowed to attend the transformation trips with this year’s being even more exciting because the curriculum was centered around the youth of Paraguay.
“We spoke to youth in seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth grades about the law of intentionality and the importance of making good choices,” Monnier said. “Like other transformation trips, we taught them how to lead roundtable trainings with the materials we gave them, so they could continue learning other leadership values amongst their peers.”
Monnier said the mission was to teach the youth how to lead roundtable discussions either based on Yo Decido or Soy Valioso.
“We wanted them all to know that it’s not the conditions that surround us, but the decisions that we make that determine our future,” Monnier said. “Yo Decido taught them that ‘choice’ is a gift, life begins with no choices, as age increases, the gift of choice increases.”
Monnier said Yo Decido also taught the value of making good choices, that choices are the best way to change your life and how making good choices benefits others.
“In Soy Valioso, we spoke about the law of intentionality,” Monnier said. “Growth will not just happen.”
Monnier said they taught the benefits of practicing the law of intentionality and the steps to follow as well as the characteristics of those who live according to the law of intentionality.
“This was just two of the lessons they will continue to learn about,” Monnier said. “They were given books with additional lessons to discuss during their continued roundtable trainings.”
Monnier said the experience was very rewarding and the youth were all very eager to learn. She said the youth wanted to hear about why she was there, where she was from and at one point a young man turned the tables on her asking what her goals in life were.
“Even though we had to communicate through interpreters, it was obvious we were connecting with them,” Monnier said. “I allowed them to ask me any questions if we had the time available.”
Monnier said during her second day of training she was speaking to seventh and eighth graders and there was one young man who could speak three languages and wants to be a physicist when he grows up.
“He is a prime example of how circumstances do not dictate your future,” she said. “The schools aren’t in the best shape. Most of the classrooms had buckets to catch the rain because the roof leaked. It is humbling to see the conditions of which they learn.”
Monnier said one teacher expressed how the children usually do not have anyone to motivate and encourage them.
“Getting to interact with the youth, despite the language barrier is always amazing,” Monnier said. “But something that is remarkable is that we got to meet children who make up the Recycled Orchestra. They play instruments that are made from trash, such as pizza pans, metal drums, etc. They performed for us during the wrap-up celebration and we were able to meet them and take pictures. They are truly outstanding.”
Monnier said during the visit the Minister of Education signed into law that their materials would be required to be taught in every school.
“I plan on attending future transformation trips anytime the team goes, as long as my schedule allows,” Monnier said. “While we go in hopes of making a difference in the lives of those who do not have access to the material provided by John Maxwell, it is in fact, our lives that are transformed.”
Monnier said not only did she get to experience other cultures but she got to see the impact in the faces and lives of those they touched. She said her favorite part was the people she met, and she plans to stay in contact via social media.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at email@example.com