Alison Asturias Kelly

Volunteer USA

Alison

Masters in Education – Administrative Services Credential – Bilingual Multicultural Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, California.

Alison Asturias Kelly was born into a bicultural and bilingual family in San Francisco, California, with a Guatemalan American heritage. Due to the political unrest and the desire for higher levels of education, Alison’s mother, grandparents, and great grandparents lived transnationally, bridging two worlds – Berkeley, California, and La Reforma, Guatemala.

Of the five children, Alison took a keen interest in the history, languages, and cultures of Guatemala. She dedicated most of her advanced studies on Guatemala at the University of California, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco State University, eventually focusing on immigrant education in California public schools.

Alison began her teaching career in the migrant fields of Watsonville, California, where she fostered a special interest in the achievement of latino children who were both culturally and linguistically diverse. As a bilingual educator, Alison became a Language Development Specialist for Whisman School District in Mountain View, California. She provided English Language Development (ELD) to children in grades K-12 and trained teachers in cross-cultural, language and academic development (CLAD).

After completing her Master’s degree at San Francisco State, Alison returned to her home town of Berkeley, California, as a bilingual classroom teacher. In an effort to improve bilingual and multicultural services in Berkeley schools, Alison prepared a Title VII grant for $1.2 million. For the next five years, she served as the Title VII Project Coordinator and led the implementation of a new Two-Way Immersion (TWI) bilingual model in Berkeley. For a short time, Alison served as a principal at Rosa Parks School. However, Alison’s true passion was coaching classroom teachers throughout the Bay Area with a focus on effective classroom practices for linguistically and culturally diverse students.

After her 28 years as a bilingual educator and 15 years as an instructional coach, Alison and her husband, David, moved to Guatemala with their children for 3 years. Their oldest daughter had left for college, and their youngest were only 4 and 5 years old. When these two children were born, Alison and David adopted them in Guatemala as infants. Alison and David felt determined to maintain and cultivate their children’s heritage by living in Guatemala. During that time, the entire family embraced Guatemala as a second home to Berkeley.

Alison and her family continue the legacy of the Asturias family by bridging both countries. During the school year, Alison teaches in Berkeley while her children attend the TWI bilingual program that she helped to implement in 1997. And, they spend the summer months in beautiful Guatemala on Lake Atitlan where she teachers Mayan women to read and write.

Alison discovered Niños de Lago (NdL) through a budding friendship with the director and founder, Arlaine Cervantes. She spent several years supporting the project by developing NdL’s La Cadena, a network of schools and institutions that serve disadvantaged youth in Guatemala. As Alison helped bring organizations together to support these children, she was drawn deeper into the project from a place of moral responsibility. She is fully aware of the political unrest in Guatemala which has plagued so many generations before her. She recognizes that her own children were a result of a society that struggles to recover from a 36-year war. And, as a devoted educator, Alison Asturias Kelly believes that NdL can change these children’s lives by providing a positive experience in the forest of Lake Atitlan, where they can develop leadership skills and a moral responsibility to improve the lives of others.

 

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