Mar 24, 2017

Thank you for you support

In his forever home
In his forever home

The San Ramon area continues to benefit from your support for the spay and neuter programs.  Additionally, we continue to help the homeless dogs find foster and forever homes.  Just yesterday I heard the story of a dog that had been abandoned by its owners, left behind to fend for himself when the owners moved.  The dog was near death due to complications from the tick-borne disease ehrlichiosis.  A foster family diligently nursed him back to health, and he was successfully placed in his forever home.

This is just one of hundreds of similar stories that reach their happy ending due to your generosity and the loving attention of volunteers.

Jan 9, 2017

It Takes a Village!

CAA Student Workshop - Values and Volunteerism
CAA Student Workshop - Values and Volunteerism

Nothing excited our 23 scholarship students more in early December than finishing the term and focusing on Christmas holidays with a 2 month break from school. For a number of these students, Chirstmas vacation included a daily ritutual of helping the family pick coffee in the mountians all around San Ramon, not exactly a vacation. But, first we thought it important that students and their families reflect on the academic achievements and challenges of the past year, and to identify the necessary steps to exceed those academic levels in the coming year.  To accomplish this, we organized a half-day counseling and workshop for December 10th aimed to keep these students focused on continued growth in 2017.

With the help of our 5 volunteer university social workers, and under the direction of our licensed volunteer social worker, JF, we sat down with the mothers or fathers of the scholarship students to review last year's grades hoping to identify academic, attendance, conduct, or special need issues that we could help improve.  While the parent interviews were being conducted, University of Costa Rica 3rd-4th year social worker students engaged the scholarship students in a workshop emphasizing the importance of Positive Values and Giving Back through Volunteerism.

For some parents, this discussion was the first focused review and discussion of their child's academic record, and it allowed for a candid discussion with trained social workers about their child's progress. In some cases, the parent had not even reviewed the grades much less discussed them with the child! These interviews identified 3 students that will require closer monitoring and family intervention during the next school term - to change behaviors that are impacting academic progress.  And, we identified 2 others with vision problems that need special eyeglasses.

In the case of one very athletic high school student whose grades had fallen over the second term of 2016, the interview identified that the student had been misinformed by other students that he would be able to get a university scholarship based solely on his athletic strengths, and it didn't really matter about his mediocre academic record.  After a prolonged discussion with JF, a social worker and a former university admissions and financial assistance advisor, the student and his mother came to understand that without a strong academic record, even a good athlete would not hope to get into Costa Rica's public universities, much less get government financial assistance.   Hopefully, this discussion, and some first term scheduled follow-up counseling sessions in March and April, will enable this student to refocus on both his academics and his athletics and get back on course in 2017. 

With the help of some capable volunteers, the CAA Education Committee applauded the academic success of the vast majority of our students, and identified 3 students that will require closer monitoring of progress to get back on course.

It really does take a village to successfully raise and educate a child - and without these dedicated social worker volunteers and your financial help through Global Giving, some of these students would slip through the cracks and drop out of school.  We send our special thanks to all of you who continue to be members of our extended village! 



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.

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