María stands out among the 21 LHI youth in their final year of middle school, as she is dedicated, responsible, and undoubtedly one of the most motivated. She has consistently been on our Wall of Fame for good grades, and she is always the first to show up to student meetings!
María has high hopes for what awaits her when she starts high school in January, and we are so excited for her. María wants to study to be a nurse, which puts her in the minority, as most of her classmates will study teaching, the only high school option in Chajul. While María will have to leave Chajul in order to study nursing, which will be difficult for both her and her family, María and her mother both believe it’s worth it!
María’s mom, Manuela, only completed one year of formal schooling, never having any other opportunity to study. She says she will continue to push her children to study and to take advantage of the opportunities provided to them. Even though it would be a loss for her to not have María helping out at home, Manuela knows that it is an importantinvestment in her future.
María is already looking beyond high school, with her sights set on university. She hopes to follow the example of her sister Dominga in getting there. Dominga was in LHI’s first class of high school graduates last October, and thanks to our collaboration with Philanthropiece, she’s now in her second semester of university! María looks up to her sister’s example, and she is willing to work hard to follow it.
We could not be more proud of Dominga or more excited for María as she takes on the challenges of high school and works towards her goal of a university degree.
First-Ever Donor Spotlight!
Featuring Alan & Sally Bair
We are so fortunate to have so manyincredible supporters in the LHI family; you each have played a vital part in making us the organization we are today. Thank you so much!
While we could be featuring so many of you here, today we are recognizing the heartfelt support of Alan and Sally Bair. For the last five years, they have sponsored David Imul Calel, an outstanding student in his second year at a competitive high school. Together, they have been able to take pride in his academic achievements and recognize the many struggles he faces in his education.
After so many years of support, we were thrilled that Alan and Sally decided to visit Chajul. They spent a day with David’s family, learning to make tortillas, sharing a meal, and even having a lesson in corn cultivation! It was such an honor to watch these two families as their worlds met, just for one day — a powerful experience for everyone involved. After the visit, Alan and Sally wrote to David: “words cannot express the joyous emotions we have felt during and after our wonderful visit…we can never think of Guatemala again without thinking of all the wonderful people we met — most especially your family.” David also wrote, saying he hopes they left with an unforgettable experience — don’t worry David, it sounds like they most certainly did!
You too can visit Chajul! We are planning a special trip for our supporters — all of you! Stay tuned for 2013 dates or contact[email protected]
with questions or to express your interest!
works in partnership with
Heart and Soul: Capacity Building at its Best
After nearly four years with LHI, we are so excited for Verónica to step into a brand-new role as our General Director! In her years of service to LHI, Verónica has been the heart and soul of the organization, helping to take it from a pilot scholarship program to a systematized youth development program with wrap-around services, an outstanding community library, and an artisan program. She has demonstrated incredible motivation and dedication to her work; she believes heart and soul in the work and in the impact that she is making in her community. Verónica has been at the center of LHI programming since she began, and we cannot think of anyone more deserving of or well equipped for this new position!
Verónica will manage the coordination of all LHI programming, human resources, and general administration. While she will continue to work directly with students and families in the youth development program, Verónica will be charged withmonitoring the developmentof programming and of the organization as a whole. We are excited for the personal and professional development opportunities that this new position will entail for her, and we are thrilled at how much it aligns with our objective of being an organization for and by the community of Chajul. LHI is steadily decreasing our dependence on non-Guatemalan staff and increasing professional opportunities in Chajul. We are so grateful to Verónica for her leadership throughout the history of LHI. She is an incredible asset to the organization and community, and we are thrilled for her to take on this new role with its increased responsibility!
A few middle school students pondering their futures
In many ways, applying to high school in Guatemala is akin to applying to college in the US — it is an arduous process that is difficult to navigate and requires a student to choose a course of study. For a student from Chajul, it is especially complicated, as there is only one high school in town, providing only one field of study. As a result, few students have considered the many career options that exist in other communities, which could be a better personal and professional fit.
Thanks to your support, we make it our job to support our youth in navigating this gap in educational access and in ensuring that they enter a career program that fits with their skills and interests.
We love this job. It means that Edilma and Verónica have individual meetings with each of our graduating middle schools students to better understand their needs, interests, and educational goals. It means that we have conversations with parents to learn what they want for their children. Most importantly, it means that we get to watch our youth transition from children to adults as they enter, learn, and graduate from high school. We are thrilled to provide this resource and we could not do it without your support. Most of all, we are so proud of our students and all that they are learning as they become the next generation of Chajulense leaders.
An Intercultural Classroom
In August, LHI hosted eight outstanding visitors on our 2nd annual Educators Trip. Teachers came from all over the US to participate in an array of service-learning activities, which helped build their own understanding of the challenges facing students and teachers in Chajul while helping local educators address those challenges head on.
US teachers leading a
dynamic Story Hour!
The teachers visited nine classrooms, led a dynamic Story Hour in the Saber Sin Límites Community Library, and helped library staff master new literacy and language-learning techniques. We are so excited for librarians Adelaida and Marilú to put their new tools to work in ourincreased literacy programming during the school vacation in November and December!
The culmination of the trip was a professional development training for primary school teachers on various themes, including strategic lesson planning and how to make math fun for struggling students. We stood open-mouthed as we watched teacher after teacher sign in for the training — until 75 eager teachers from 15 different schools had packed the library! The Chajul teachers all took home new academic resources and a wide array of new teaching tools. For their part, the visiting teachers took home unforgettable memories of an invaluable cultural exchange. A win-win, indeed!