To get a background on the students and their needs, Suzanne visited each artisan in his or her home and studio. These meetings helped her to develop appropriate classroom materials and to establish a stronger bond with each individual. As a fringe benefit, Suzanne met the student's parents. She reports being impressed by the great pride they showed in their son or daughter's accomplishment of being a FOFA young artisan contest winner or honoree.
Suzanne recounts, "during my visit a wonderful young weaver took me to his town's history museum. He walked me through the exhibits. Several of his family members had fought in both the wars of independence and revolution and there were photos and references to them. It was a sweet and memorable experience and gave me a vivid sense of the history of this particular family."
Suzanne worked with 14 students in all, dividing into two groups, enabling her to give more individualized attention. While one group took computer classes, the other worked on their English during a four-hour class. In the afternoon, students switched.
Suzanne re-counts the great dedication shown by students who clearly desire to learn as much as they could. One young couple, with a baby at home, could only come in the morning. While the husband attended English, his wife went to computer training. When they returned home, they shared what they had learned with each other.
Suzanne became involved with Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art when she saw an advertisement for the first FOFA young artisans contest in a local paper. She contacted FOFA to volunteer "in any way she could." A corporate trainer by profession, Suzanne also has a certificate in ESL. In her spare time, she creates her own artwork. This background has made her uniquely qualified and attuned to the artesanos. Suzanne says, "it's been a very rewarding experience. I love Oaxacan people and their crafts. I want to make whatever contribution I can."