Empowering Guatemalan Youth to Promote Literacy

 
$217,475 $82,525
Raised Remaining
Learning Journey 2015
Learning Journey 2015

Dear Changemaker,

I'm excited to report that last month a group of eleven intrepid individuals traveled down to Guatemala on our annual Learning Journey. The trip went off without a hitch and this small group of passionate travelers now understands, better than ever before, the impact of our work in these rural communities.

Traveling from across the United States and as far away as Japan, these individuals all have their own story and each of them took a unique interest in our work. They are teachers and literacy specialists, accountants, researchers, students, and parents. Together they spent seven days traveling alongside our board members and staff to witness the impact of our work in Guatemala. They read books, took boat rides, made tortillas, and enjoyed winding walks high in the hill communities where we work.

Our blog is now filled with stories from their travels. Head over and take a look and consider joining our 2016 Learning Journey yourself - we'd love to have you!

Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6 - Day 7

Thanks for following along on this journey! Our work wouldn't be possible without your support and we'd love for you to see it first hand someday. You're always invited!

Sincerely,

Linda Smith, Executive Director of Reading Village

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:

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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