I just returned from a one-month stay in the Solala region of Guatemala. Each time I visit I am moved and inspired by the spirit and warmth of the Guatemalan people.
The highlight of my recent visit was my interaction with the scholarship students and youth of one of our partner organizations, FORMA GUATEMALA. I had the opportunity to participate in weekly training sessions with the high school level scholarship students. Each of the scholarship students is also responsible for a Saturday tutoring program for 4-8 year old students in their local communities. The young students they tutor are attentive and eager to learn.
The scholarship students are receiving valuable leadership training that will serve them well in their future years. I find them to be mature, focused and eager to make a contribution. I can see their growth and development from one year to the next.
For some time, Lynnette and I have traveled, visited, worked and studied in various Latin American countries. During our times there, we have met many people, learned many things, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. The last five years have found us most often visiting Guatemala. It is a beautiful county with spring-like weather year-round in the mountainous areas. However, what draws us back most are the Guatemalan people – they are friendly, fun loving, and industrious.
The not-so-beautiful truth of the Guatemalan situation is that a large portion of the population is young, poor and hungry. They are not poor and hungry for lack of ambition; in fact, they are constantly at the ready to take advantage of any opportunity that comes along. Unfortunately, this search begins for the poor when they are still very young (8-10 years old). The result is a significant segment of the population is trapped working at low skill, low paying jobs which prevent them from getting an education, having time to try new things, or having resources to apply toward better opportunities.
Lynnette and I have met Guatemalans who have overcome these conditions through hard work and perseverance. They have succeeded with skilled business careers and decent incomes. This is after beginning their working life at about 8 years of age as for instance a shoeshine boy on the streets. They are now helping young, talented, ambitious Guatemalans to become community and business leaders in rural areas of the mountains.
Lynnette and I have joined a small group of like-minded people here in the USA and have organized a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation as a vehicle to raise funds to continue and extend these efforts. We plan to help with educational scholarships, nutrition programs, tutoring, library programs, and occasional special projects such as improving bathrooms at the community schools.
We are currently looking for donors who would like to join us in these efforts. We have a website for an online contribution using either PayPal or a credit card; or a check can be sent to our post office box. If you or someone you know would care to help, we would be very grateful. Just think of the good your help could make in the life of a hopeful Guatemalan youth!