Oct 14, 2016

CAA Scholarship Program's First High School Completion Is A Very Important Milesone

JCS, July 2016 Scholarship Awards
JCS, July 2016 Scholarship Awards

All 23 of the CAA Educational Scholarship students are working hard as they approach the last 8 weeks of the 2016 school year, but our spotlight today is on a quiet, determined 12th grade student who was raised in the coffee producing mountains west of San Ramon. 

Josué (Joshua) finishes the 12 grade this December, and is preparing to take his Bachellerato Tests necessary to get his diploma. Gaining a high school diploma will be a first for the family, and Josué and his sister, also in high school, have been encouraged by their parents who are also taking courses after work to get their own high school diplomas.  Both parents dropped out of school many years ago, as was customary then, in order to work the coffee fields and raise a family. In fact, in Josué’s rural pueblo, only a handful of the parents of students now of high school age progressed beyond the 6th or 8th grade, and only two actually completed high school.  So, for this family, earning a high school diploma is a very big deal!

Josué and his family have faced numerous challenges during his high school years --- the family lost their home and all its furnishings in a fire a few years ago, and it took a concerted family effort to recover from that loss.  We were able to help Josué replace his laptop, but this fire was devastating and disrupted his school work. 

And, like many students expected to already know some English as a second language before entering high school, Josué struggled because his rural elementary school did not have an English instructor. With the help of local English-speaking tutors including CAA volunteers, Josué has been able to progress to the final Bachellerato tests in November.   

And, Josué’s preparation was not just limited to studying in high school---he also works many weekends to support his education and family, and he participates in a young adult leadership group in San Ramon based on recommendations from high school officials.

We wish Josué success with his tests and achieving that diploma.  Hopefully, it will open the door to university studies, or a promising career.  

This also is a milestone to celebrate for the CAA Educational Scholarship program. Josué is the first of our CAA scholarship program student to be able to reach for that diploma. Looking forward to 2018, three more CAA students will likely stand at the same point, sweating out their Bachillerato Tests, and, hopefully, marching forward to receive a high school diploma. 

We share this success story with you, our generous Global Giving supporters.  Your gifts helped to prepare Josué to get this diploma, and with your continued support, more students will have the opportunity to achieve the same. By working together, we are making a difference, one student at a time.

Jul 20, 2016

Leadership and Volunteerism - A Challenge to CAA's Education Scholarship Students in 2016

Francisco's Smile_ Says It All! CAA Awards July 20
Francisco's Smile_ Says It All! CAA Awards July 20

On July 16th, the CAA Education Committee presented Educational Scholarship vouchers to 23 worthy students to get these students ready for the second term of the school year. This term’s recipients included 14 elementary students, 9 high school students, and 1 University of Costa Rica student serving as the scholarship program administrator Intern. This term’s awards represent an investment of almost 1,750, 000 colones (about $3,200 USD) to buy the shoes, uniforms, and school supplies that help keep these students in school.    

The theme of this session was student leadership development, citizen responsibility, and giving back through volunteerism.

Our program administrator Intern, lead a group activity to identify and focus on personal goals: Each of the students had the opportunity to introduce themselves, state their academic and personal development goals, and to identify their favorite activity.  It is no secret in Costa Rica that soccer is the national sport, so it was no surprise that soccer was the favorite activity.  However, one young woman reported that working with computers was her passion - a student that is willing to break away from the pack!

And, to encourage leadership among our high school scholarship students, FRR also challenged these students to examine the importance of water in their daily lives, and identify opportunities for citizens to prepare for an increasingly drought-impacted Central America.  This challenge was introduced in an earlier June  session, and the student panel reported their findings at the Awards Presentation on the 16th.

  • The student panel identified the important role of forests in protecting our natural water resource-production areas; proper waste disposal and recycling; and healthy eating choices that reduce the impact of cattle as a source of pollution, erosion, and as a driver of the conversion of forests into pastures.
  • Additionally, the students identified the need for improved awareness of the impact of trash and waste management on communities and the quality of water resources; the need for more training on water conservation practices around the home and in agriculture; and the impact of agro-chemical use as a contaminant of surface and ground water/general health.
  • In summary, the panel recognized that Costa Rica’s historical water abundance situation is changing, and citizens and the government must take action to more carefully manage water resources over the coming decades. And, introducing this topic to elementary students at a young level was suggested as the way to build awareness and gradually change wasteful and destructive practices.

JF, CAA Education Committee Volunteer and licensed social worker, engaged the students on the importance of adopting a culture of volunteerism – to identify opportunities to grow and develop personal leadership skills through volunteer activities.  If they do, these students will be better prepared to become productive citizens, stand out in the job market, and provide benefits to the community. The help that is being provided to these students through the  CAA organization comes with expectations - those receiving help now should make the time to volunteer and help others in the future. In response to Johanna’s comments, a number of parents voiced their support for encouraging youngsters and parents to volunteer for the benefit of the community, and thanked the CAA for the support.    

Additionally, the Committee identified 9 students, mostly female, who are very interested in mathematics.  To encourage these students to continue their interest in math and science, the Committee wants to offer an additional recognition for excellence in these STEM subject areas at the 2017 awards presentation. STEM prepared students are in demand in the job market, and encouraging young women to pursue these non-traditional academic paths/careers could provide an economic bridge to help the family out of poverty.  

You hold the keys! This CAA educational support program would not be possible without the generous contributions of donors through Global Giving, and CAA Committee Member volunteers who raise funds locally. Working together, we can continue to make a difference here in San Ramon, Costa Rica, one student at a time.   

Maryeth with CAA Member Linda D.
Maryeth with CAA Member Linda D.
CAA Awards_July 2016 Challenge_Water Resourcs
CAA Awards_July 2016 Challenge_Water Resourcs
CAA Scholarship Students, Second Term 2016
CAA Scholarship Students, Second Term 2016
Program Intern FRR Leading Challenge Session
Program Intern FRR Leading Challenge Session
Apr 26, 2016

Kendall's Vision for the Future is Much Brighter

Kendall at 2016 Scholarship Award Ceremony
Kendall at 2016 Scholarship Award Ceremony

Meet Kendall, an active and intelligent elementary student in the coffee-rich mountains just west of San Ramon de Alajuela.  He really enjoys playing football (soccer) at school, but studies always come first.  You might notice the tenderness and humility in his face and demeanor, and know that he is a student who really needs the help that is provided by the CAA Educational Scholarship Program, one of 24 elementary and high school students being assisted in 2016.

A few weeks ago, I received a call from Kendall’s parents that he was really having difficulty in this school term – Kendall’s prescription glasses were 3 years old, his vision had deteriorated, and he needed new glasses now if he was to keep up in class. The family had no money for new glasses and were barely making ends meet. We quickly contacted an optician in San Ramon who is affiliated with the CAA, Lic. Alejandro Rodríguez Sánchez of Optics Rosán, who agreed to provide the CAA with a 50% discount for Kendall’s examination and new eye-glasses. Within a few days, Kendall had his new glasses and was back in business. 

Because of a very generous optician and quick action by the Education Committee, Kendall’s vision is no longer an obstacle to learning - now, our shared vision is for Kendall to stay focused on making good grades to prepare him for a brighter future!  

As Kendall’s story demonstrates, It really does take a village to raise a child; in the US, Costa Rica, or anywhere in the world. Without generous donors, our CAA Education Committee volunteers in San Ramón, supportive parents and educators, the supportive “village” could not exist.

Your continued support can help us keep the vision alive for a very motivated group of students here in San Ramon de Alajuela, Costa Rica.     

Kendall with new glasses, 2016
Kendall with new glasses, 2016

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