Empowering Guatemalan Youth to Promote Literacy

 
$186,972
$13,028
Raised
Remaining
Juanito
Juanito

In a circle of our youth leaders, one in particular stands out. He’s got deep dark eyes, a clean pressed shirt, and a contagious smile. He’s also ten years and two feet shorter than most of the others.
 
Juanito is the younger brother of two of our program participants but for the past two years he’s all but joined the group. He is fourth in a line of brothers with progressively more opportunity as they embrace their educations: a mechanic, a university student, and a soon to be graduate. And then there is Juanito. The young boy has benefited immensely from the education of his older brothers. They brought home books to read to him, they took him to the neighborhood library that they themselves opened, and they showed him, by way of example, the doors that would be opened if he could do what 90% of his peers would not – finish high school.
 
Just eight years old, Juanito is still several years away from achieving that dream but he’s not wasting any time. Today, he walks confidently into youth leadership meetings and takes a chair in the circle. The teens offer him a turn answering questions and participating in conversation. He brings his friends to the library, reads to them, and shows them how to pick out books.
 
While he dreams of being a reading promoter like his older brothers, we are thrilled to witness that he already is. Juanito is a perfect example of the ways in which literacy and education can unlock the potential of children living in poverty. “I’ve learned from Juanito the true happiness that literacy and leadership can bring,” said one of our youth leaders. “I’m so glad he’s with us.”

Thank you for making this happiness happen. Thank you for transforming lives through literacy.

Sincerely,
Signature - Linda Smith
Linda Smith
Founder & Executive Director, Reading Village

Linda Smith (Founder) with Current Scholars
Linda Smith (Founder) with Current Scholars

This month has been so humbling. In the past 30 days hundreds of individuals from around the world have stepped up to raise more than $26,000. But the clock is still ticking, there are still lives to change and students to send to school. 
 
Before the clock runs out on 2014, please join our 30x30 campaign and help us close the gap on raising $30,000 in 30 days so that all of our scholars can start school next week. Your invesment will directly transform the lives of our 53 scholars and the 3,500 young children they reach with literacy activities. But don't take our word for it. Here's what our scholars and their families ahve to say about the impact of your investment:

  • "This year there was a drought. The corn flowered early and then died. For us this is a disaster. I think many families will stop paying for school becasue they must feed their families. Or they will go into debt." - Parent of a Reading Village Scholar
  • "Thank you to you all for the scholarship you have given me. My parents don't have a job with a steady salary so that they can pay for my registration or buy my school supplies. We work in the fields. But through Reading Village I am so grateful that you all have always supported me in being able to continue in school and to dream of my future." - Santiago, Reading Village Scholar
  • "Lots of families don't think girls should be educated. Parents don't think it's a good investment of money. So a girl who wants to continue her education has to find a way. And this can create conflict with parents when a girl decides she has a dream that they do not understand or support." - Ana, Reading Village Scholar

Thank you for your support this past year. We're so grateful that you've helped us raise more than $26,000 in the month of December alone and hope you'll step up to close the gap on our goal to raise $30,000 in 30 days. We could not do this good work without you. Happy holidays to you and yours from everyone at Reading Village.

Links:

Take a Stand
Take a Stand

We’re half way through the month of December, and more than half way towards our goal of raising $30,000 in 30 days!
 
In the past two weeks, individuals from around the world have generously stepped up to give the gift of education. Because of them, students like Rosmery have the chance to chase their dreams:
 
Like many young women in Guatemala, Rosmery came from a family that did not value girls' education. In spite of this, she was determined to not only finish her own schooling, but to become a teacher so she could educate other children and “show that a girl could be something in this world.” In her first year in the program, tragedy struck and Rosmery’s mother died. Rosmery could have been married off or sent to live with relatives so there would be fewer mouths to feed, and she certainly would not have been able to afford the basic costs of going to school. Instead, Reading Village supporters stepped up and provided a scholarship and leadership training that helped Rosmery graduate from high school and achieve her dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher.
 
Consider this your invitation. Please join our 30x30 campaign and stand beside hundreds of individuals from around the world who believe that Rosmery and her peers should have the chance to fulfill their potential.

Links:

Go to Guatemala with Reading Village
Go to Guatemala with Reading Village
Exciting news! Registration is officially open for our spring Learning Journeyto Guatemala. Join us April 9-16, 2015 for the trip of a lifetime. For eight days you will join a small group of mindful travelers to visit the communities where we work, meet our scholars and their families, and witness the transformation in these rural towns. Download this information packet for additional details. In case you need convincing, here are the top ten reasons to join a Learning Journey:
 
  1. Witness the impact of your investment - Meet the youth you have been supporting all these years.
  2. Be Inspired - There is nothing more inspiring than a group of teenagers who are getting degrees and building libraries rather than dropping out of school and marrying young.
  3. Travel With A Purpose - A Learning Journey to Guatemala is a great way to get off the beaten path, see a new country, and immerse yourself in a new culture.
  4. Meet New People - Our trips attract a diverse crowd of adventurers, philanthropists, educators, and parents from around the world all of whom are looking for a little camaraderie as they strive to live a meaningful life.
  5. Practice a New Language - While you do not need to speak any Spanish to enjoy the Learning Journey, Guatemala is home to some of the world’s best language schools if you’d like to tack on some study time.
  6. Change Your Perspective - Encountering rural, low-income Guatemalan communities that also happen to be full to the brim with optimism and fortitude is a great antidote to the daily grind.
  7. Indulge Your Taste Buds - Indulge your taste buds in organic coffee, homemade tortillas, fresh tamales and of course the occasional choco-banana or two! 
  8. Surprise Yourself: Ever wonder if you could travel in a developing country, squat in a primitive latrine, or make tortillas over an open fire? This trip is a safe space to challenge yourself and grow.
  9. Pay It Forward: When you sit with our youth leaders, bear witness to their work and participate in a reading fiesta with young children, you have a chance to touch their lives in humbling and inspiring ways.
  10. Life is Short - If you’ve been thinking about a trip to Guatemala don’t wait any longer. Come see the world with us!

 

Links:

Back to School
Back to School
     That's right, it's that bitter sweet end of summer season here in the United States when we're buying books and filling backpacks and sending children back to school. It's a season of new beginnings, of growth, of potential.
     Meanwhile, in Guatemala, we're deep into that growth with our group of 40 scholars across 4 communities. Every year, the pinnacle of growth is achieved at our annual retreat. All of our scholars come together to spend a weekend building relationships, being inspired, and deepening their understanding of the responsibility they have to change the world around them. This year's retreat was a huge success. Games were played, speakers enjoyed, and lessons learned. As the weekend wrapped up, Santiago - a third-year scholar from the rural farming community of Los Morales - said, "Before participating in the Reading Village program I used to be different, I've changed in a very positive way. It has improved my vocabulary, my participation with peers, my public speaking. This program has changed my life." 
     That is, of course, exactly what education does - it changes lives. Education unlocks possibilities, builds skills, increases incomes, and alleviates poverty. This retreat was a chance to watch that unfold, it was a chance for our teens to set down their books and process the magnitude of the work they are doing to transform lives in rural Guatemala.
While our scholars are working away in Guatemala, here's what we've been up to during this busy back to school season:
  • Mark Your Calendars: From September 3rd-10th, all recurring donations give on Global Giving will be matched 100%. We're looking for five donors to pledge $25 per month, will you be one of them? Make a monthly gift right now.
  • We Need Your Vote:  We're proud to announce that two of our photos have been selected as finalists in the annual Global Giving photo contest. The photo with the most votes will win $1000 - that's enough to send a teen to high school for two years! We'd be so grateful if you'd head over and vote for the Reading Village images. Vote for #1 and vote for #2.
  • Announcing Our Partnership with Amazon Smile: We're excited to announce that Amazon has agreed to donate 0.5% of every eligible purchase to Reading Vilage. It's easy, just head over to Amazon Smile and search for Reading Village. After you select our organization all you have to do is start shopping and when you check out you'll be making a donation at no additional cost. Happy Back to School Shopping!
From everyone at Reading Village - we're wishing you a wonderful back to school season! Thank you for helping us change lives.

Links:

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Organization

Project Leader

Linda Smith

Boulder, CO United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Empowering Guatemalan Youth to Promote Literacy