I leave for Guatemala today to celebrate the end of our 6th successful year and the high school graduation of four more reading promoters: Maribel, Laura, Rony and Olivia. We’ve seen the impact our teens have had on the children they read to, and now we’re seeing the impact on their own lives as they graduate. This powerful story is captured in a new video professionally produced for us by Adam Soch. Be sure to have a look!
While you’re there you’ll see we've undergone a complete makeover. We’ve created a new logo, as brilliant as the work we’re doing together, and a new website to showcase it all. And with hundreds of supporters around the world, we’ve built a fundraising platform that lets you engage your friends and family in this life changing work. Start networking here!
As we head into this season of gratitude I want to say thank you for standing by us all this time. We’re looking forward to a very bright future.
As you’ve probably figured out, we’re a literacy organization that doesn’t build libraries.
But we don’t have to. This past summer, the teenagers with whom we’ve been working to develop leadership skills and finish high school in the village of Concepcion informed us that they would be building their village’s very first library. They petitioned their town council for a building and have begun organizing the community in renovation efforts.
Never before has a return on our investment felt quite so tangible: four walls, a few dozen shelves, orange paint, and a group of impassioned teenagers who believe in the power of reading and writing to change their community.
This fall, invest in leaders like these. On October 17th, Global Giving will match every donation by 30%. For just 24 hours, you can multiply your money and help us reach our goal of raising $20,000 to change the lives of more than 2,000 children in 2013. Go to www.globalgiving.org and search for “Empower Guatemalan Youth” to find us.
And when you decide to support our work, remember this: In North America and much of Europe, $50 may fill your tank with gas, but in Guatemala it can provide teenagers with the resources to revitalize a community through reading and literacy programs. Make your money go further and give to Guatemala. Thank you for trusting us with your investment.
I'm traveling to Guatemala a week from Sunday, and I can't wait to interview the teen reading promoter candidates for 2013 and to see the space the teens in Concepción have acquired to convert to the community's first-ever public library.
Julio César (a promoter who graduated from our program and high school last year) wrote to tell me he thought the space was beautiful. His comment touched me because the space is, quite frankly, hideous. It needs much work, but he already sees it through the lens of his vision. It's already a library in his mind's eye. His ability to envision and create a new future like that is an ability he acquired through his experience and training in our program.
I'll be posting photos and stories during my trip. If you'd like to stay up-to-date on all the inspiring tidbits, "like" Reading Village on our Facebook page.
And consider coming to see the work and meet these amazing teens yourself! Larry and I will be leading a service-learning trip to our communities in Guatemala November 3-10, and we'd love to have you along.
November is an amazing time to be in Guatemala -- especially if you enjoy sunny weather and spectacular sunsets over Lake Atitlán. These trips are a wonderful combination of cultural exchange, sightseeing and service. You'll develop friendships with our teen reading promoters and their families, experience daily life in rural Mayan villages and help our promoters put on a "reading fiesta" for the children in one of our communities. The registration deadline is October 1st. If you are interested, you can find more details on our website and feel free to contact me.