Monday, December 20, 2010

Our Annual Appeal

Now entering its fifth year, Amigos de San Pablo is currently accepting donations for the 2011 school year, which starts in mid-January.

Amigos de San Pablo depends on donations from people like you—people who believe that all children have a fundamental right to get an education.

For those of you who have donated in the past, thank you. Know that your contributions have made a huge difference in the lives of children from San Pablo. Our grantees have overcome a variety of challenges to stay in school. It is incredibly gratifying to us that Darvin Pérez—one of our first grantees in 2007—is still in school, despite familial pressure to work in the fields or migrate to Mexico. After a rocky start, he has embraced school and become a youth leader. And in many ways, he has come to represent for us the power of a program like Amigos de San Pablo.

Please help students like Darvin by giving to Amigos de San Pablo this holiday season. Thanks again for your support!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Graduation and Looking Ahead

We are proud to report that two of our students—Mayra Pérez and Urias Pérez—graduated from the Instituto this past fall! Mayra had a wide range of interests at school and was involved in a number of extracurricular activities, particularly the Pastoral Juvenil, or Catholic Youth Group. For many young people in San Pablo, participation in the Pastoral Juvenil is the first step towards taking a larger role in the community, whether it be through Jóvenes en la Misión (a regional environmentalist youth group) or any of a number of co-op committees.

Some of you might remember Urias from last year's postings. He's an aspiring carpenter who has hopes to turn his carpentry skills into a small business in the Tacaná area. Here he is explaining his hopes for the future:

Once again, congratulations, Mayra and Urias!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2010 Year in Review

The school year is about to begin once again in Guatemala, and now seems a good time to look back at 2010 and share with you the successes of Amigos de San Pablo. Having recently completed its fourth year, the program sponsored 12 students this past year. The list follows:

Luis Arreaga, Middle School
Sonia Morales, Middle School
Juan Velásquez, Middle School
Plácida Gutiérrez, Middle School
Eloíza Arreaga, Middle School
Darvin Pérez, Middle School
Ofelia Pérez, Middle School
Yendi Morales, Middle School
Alan Morales, Middle School
Aracely Velásquez, High School
Urias Pérez, High School
Mayra Pérez, High School

We were pleased to see a blend of return grantees and some new faces this year. On top of that, we were particularly excited to hear that this year's students have seen their grades improve and their participation in extracurricular activities—from sports and church-related events to tutoring and environmental campaigns—increase over the course of the year. For example, Eloíza is volunteering with a University of California research site that seeks to build homes that are adaptable to future climate change. Great work, Eloíza!

Also, several students continue to work on their small business plans. We've already told you about Urias' burgeoning carpentry business, but Alan, Ofelia and Darvin are working on a small farm project, a floral arrangement project and a bakery project, respectively.