When high school isn’t free, almost anything can threaten a girl’s right to an education. Take Juana for example [not her real name]. Juana’s step-father, recently reunited with his biological daughter has been convinced by her that he should support her and not Juana. 15-year-old Juana is one of the most promising students in our Leaders and Readers Program, and is now having to consider moving out of her home and living with her grandmother. In communities where only 10% of youth have the opportunity to go to high school, scholarships become vehicles of change for our youth leaders. Because education is so important to every young person in their efforts to reach their full potential, scholarships are one of our 10 critical Building Blocks for building human capacity. Your support of the Leaders and Readers Program allows Juana and all of her peers in the program to continue studying and break free from the cycle of poverty that entraps their families in rural Guatemala.Invest in the capacity of youth like Juana during this month’s Human Capital Campaign and double your impact before the month is over. Matching funds (up to a total of $50,000) are still available for donations made by 11:59 pm, today June 30th. We hope you'll help us reach more youth like Juana with a donation today!
Thank you for your partnership in this important work,Linda SmithFounder & Executive Director, Reading Village
Juan is the perfect example of how our program leverages individual achievement to better entire communities. Juan entered our Leaders and Readers Program just this year. Not only does Juan fulfill the program requirements of leading 3 hours of reading activities with 50 children each week and attending leadership development workshops, but he has also taken the initiative to give back even more to his community. He helps neighboring school children with their homework, giving the children the support their parents can’t and reinforcing the importance of education by his example. No one asked him to do this. He simply felt compelled to do it. It’s a beautiful thing to watch a young leader rising.Juan’s reaching out to neighboring children required clear values, a vision, self-esteem, empathy, relationship building, planning, a sense of purpose and a belief that he could make a difference. These are the types of skills and attitudes our youth leaders gain by participating in our program. In every way they are preparing to be the next generation of professionals, parents and leaders of their communities. Youth leadership development is the cornerstone of our co-creative work with our partner communities in Guatemala and one of the 10 human capital building blocks we are sharing with you this year as we celebrate our 10th year. During the entire month of June we will be raising funds through our 10th Anniversary Human Capital Campaign. A generous group of contributors has created a $50,000 pool of funds to match your contributions 100%. I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to multiply your impact in Guatemala and invest in youth leaders like Juan who are also giving very generously of themselves.Thank you for your partnership in this important work,
Linda SmithFounder & Executive Director, Reading Village
In our partner communities thousands of children are reaping the benefits of youth-led reading activities. Alicia, a Reading Village youth leader, is not alone when she reports, “The children I read to ask deep questions. They are not afraid to express themselves."We have chosen literacy as our tool for change because literacy is not only an important end in and of itself, but it is also the means to other more transformative ends, such as improved health, economic development, creative and critical thinking skills, informed decision making, personal empowerment, as well as civil and social participation. In the hands of our youth leaders,literacy becomes a building block for human capacity; it is a tool to help communities break free from the cycle of intergenerational poverty.Beyond the three hours of engaging reading activities our teens deliver each week, they are also having an impact at home. Zoyla proudly told me, “My four-year-old sister is growing up with books in our house. She is too little to read but she turns the pages. She asks me questions about the books and wants to go to school.”Carmen reads to her mother while she weaves, and Alicia’s three-year-old sister looks at books she brings home, and her brother wants to follow in her footsteps to become a youth leader and reading promoter, too.For these reasons and so many more, we celebrate literacy as the 9th building block in our Human Capital Campaign. In our tenth year we now have youth who were part of our program during all six years of their elementary school education now enrolled as Reading Village youth leaders and promoting literacy themselves. We have great expectations for the passion and skill they will bring to their reading hours at the schools and the impact they’ll have in their communities.Thank you for your partnership in this important work,