Empowering Guatemalan Youth to Promote Literacy

Jul 7, 2011

Juan Carlos's Truth

Juan Carlos shares his truth
Juan Carlos shares his truth

Juan Carlos is not the most articulate of our newest teen reading promoters. He lives in the shadow of his domineering father and his Spanish skills are a bit weak. But I love this kid because what he lacks in eloquence he makes up for with spirit and determination.

Last week as our Learning Journey group ended their time with the teens in a teary and heartfelt closing circle, Juan Carlos's words hit me hard. He bravely shared, "If it weren't for Reading Village, I would not be here. I would be in the field carrying heavy loads of vegetables." And that's the truth. His family would not be able to afford to send him to public school (which in Guatemala is not free), and he would be trapped in the cycle of poverty that many never escape.

Juan Carlos was not accepted into our program on his first try. But that did not stop him. And now, despite his difficulties expressing himself, he is nearly always the first to offer an opinion or answer a question during the teens' training sessions.

And each week he grows more and more accomplished at engaging small children in stories. Through our program Juan Carlos is not only discovering a new future for himself but making this possible for the children he reads to.

Keep teens like Juan Carlos in school with a donation today.

Thank you for your partnership in this important work,

Juan Carlos reading to children in his community
Juan Carlos reading to children in his community


Jun 10, 2011

Donations Matched on June 15

Sharing a good story
Sharing a good story

Don't forget! Wednesday the 15th is Bonus Day.

Donations made on that day only will be matched 30%

That means a donation of $50 (10 books) becomes $65 (13 books).

As always, your support is greatly appreciated.

Jun 2, 2011

Donations matched on June 15


During my last visit to the community of Concepción I encountered a small boy walking toward me. It did my heart good to see a book in his hand. The fact that he was carrying it in a plastic bag told me that he wanted to take good care of this precious item.
He had checked out the book from our supply room cum library and was returning it. I asked him if he enjoyed the story, and his face lit up with a big smile. ¡Sí, mucho! I thanked him for taking such good care of the book and told him he could check out another one. At the thought of bringing home another book he became physically overcome with ants-in-his-pants excitement. From my perspective, it just doesn't get any better than that.
Your donations keep books in the hands of little boys and girls like this, and on Wednesday, June 15, your donation goes even further. GlobalGiving will match 30% of all donations made on our GlobalGiving page that day only. So, for example, a donation of $50 (10 books) becomes $65 (13 books).
Mark your calendar. Don't miss this opportunity to expand your impact!
Thank you for all you do to bring the power and joy of reading to children.
May 12, 2011

Local Leadership Takes Root

Youth Leaders in Concepcion
Youth Leaders in Concepcion

I never expected that we'd see it this soon, just two and a half years after beginning in Concepcion, but there it was right in front of me -- the birth of a new generation of leaders in this community.

Sunday, after Daniel and I had wrapped up the training session with our fifteen teen reading promoters, Marcela (one of the teens) told Daniel the group had something to tell us. I have to say I felt a bit nervous as the mood was serious and they all seemed to know what this was about.

Marcela then announced that they all met the day before and formed their own action committee with a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer. They've created such a love of and demand for books in the children they read to they now see the need for a library. And by their own initiative they formed this committee in order to begin to make that happen -- with our blessing and promise of support. 

I was so choked up I could barely respond. THIS is what the work is about for me -- the development of local leaders that will create a new future for their own community. 

Please continue your generous support with a donation today. You are making a difference!

Mar 4, 2011

Donations Matched on March 16

Youth rise to the expectations that we hold for them. Here at Reading Village we see it every day in our teen reading promoters. And it's one of the greatest satisfactions of my work to see them become more than they ever thought they could be. So it makes me sad when I hear of adults grossly underestimating the potential of young people.

Daniel Guzmán our In Country Director just came back from a conference in Guatemala City that was filled with teachers interested in techniques to better teach reading and writing. As he explained to those he met about the work he does, he realized that they don't believe in teens the way we do. They could not imagine that high school students would be responsible or capable enough to be successful at promotinliteracy in the ways they do in our program. So I am very appreciative of your belief in and support of our teens. Your donations are an investment in their futures. And on March 16, any donation you make on our GlobalGiving web page will be matched 30%. Mark your calendar!

And consider joining our upcoming Learning Journey in Guatemala to really get to know our teens, their work and to spread the love of reading right alongside them. Nothing fills these kids with pride more than knowing someone traveled thousands of miles to see what they do. Just a few spaces remain for the June 23-July 1 trip. For more information visit the link below.

Thank you for all you do to bring the power and joy of literacy to children.


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Project Leader

Linda Smith

Boulder, CO United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Empowering Guatemalan Youth to Promote Literacy