Feb 2, 2016

Jorge's Education Journey Continues in 2016

Jorge with CAA Members Robert Carr Lorca Warner
Jorge with CAA Members Robert Carr Lorca Warner

Jorge’s journey to take full advantage of the Costa Rican educational system continues as he moves into the 6th Grade in 2016, shown here with generous CAA Members Robert Carr and Lorca Warner.  This is Jorge's last year in elementary before moving into high school next year. He was one of 23 lucky students, 13 elementary and 10 high school, to be awarded CAA educational scholarships last week, just in time to get the uniforms, shoes and school supplies required to start classes on February 8th

For some students like Jorge, the period between early December through February 8, and most weekends were spent with other family members climbing the coffee farms in the local mountains, baskets loaded with picked coffee beans. Their holidays were not spent playing with new toys or video games, because coffee season is one of the only times that the family can earn extra money for the year. This year has been tougher than last, because Jorge’s father has a medical condition that limited him to part-time work, although he, too, is in the coffee fields doing what he can while the beans are red and ripe for picking.

But despite the hard work in the coffee fields, Jorge also brought his family some wonderful news when his report card arrived back in December---he scored in the 90’s on all his courses.  This confirms Jorge’s motivation to keep up with his studies while helping his family.  

After getting their vouchers, the students and families went to the 3 participating merchants to exchange their vouchers for shoes, uniforms, and school supplies.  And, to insure that the program was getting good value in the marketplace, we conducted a market basket analysis of uniform selection, quality, and prices in early January. The analysis identified a merchant with multiple locations in town that was able to offer the same or higher level of quality, better selection and price on required school uniforms. We should be able to provide almost 15% more uniforms for the same dollars.Even better, the pants were locally-made, providing local jobs, and have a 1 year guarantee. As an added bonus, we were able to teach our university student intern, studying to be a social-worker, how to conduct a solid market-basket pricing survey and compile the results. This term, we will provide almost $4500 in school supplies/uniforms, and supporters through Global Giving provided about half of that funding, so thank you one and all. 

It is important to know that education is not mandatory in Costa Rica after completing the 6th grade. Therefore, many academically successful students drop out after elementary school because the expenses associated with high school are higher than for elementary, and the lure of an extra worker in the fields is very strong. This is a very critical time in the educational paths of these kids and the time for extra vigilence.   

At the awards ceremony on the 23rd, several mothers and fathers stood to send blessings to all those that helped support these families. Those words of appreciation, the smiles and thankful hugs from the students and parents, made for a very heartwarming morning. 

The CAA Education Committee members also send our thanks to our fabulous Global Giving supporters. We will need to raise more money for the Second School Term, but with this great start, we feel confident that we will be ready to help these kids again in July. Education is the key to the future for children like Jorge and their families; and with your continued support, we can keep that vision alive. Bless you all.

Community Action Alliance, Education Committee  

Dec 28, 2015

The $2,000 You Donated in 2015 Made a World of Difference

Elena is one of our many lucky dogs!
Elena is one of our many lucky dogs!

The $2,000 you donated in 2015 made a world of difference for street dogs who would otherwise have died. Dedicated volunteers donate their time and love, but they depend on your monetary donations to provide critical veterinary care. Thanks to you, we treated and saved dogs with an otherwise fatal tick disease (erlichia), dogs bitten by poisonous snakes, dogs hit by cars, and dogs with tumors. All of the dogs were also spayed/neutered, and had a place to call home this holiday season. 

There are still a few days left to make a tax deductible donation in 2015, and 100% of the donations we receive from GlobalGiving pay for emergency veterinary care for homeless street dogs.

THANK YOU for helping us save the lives of street dogs who need emergency veterinary care.

Nov 14, 2015


Meet Jorge, an eager and energetic 4th grade elementary student, one of the twenty-five fortunate San Ramon area students enrolled in the CAA Educational Scholarship Program.  For Jorge, and similar students from migrant coffee-working families in Costa Rica, the opportunity for regular schooling is elusive, given that coffee field workers typically move frequently for work, and family money is not there for required school supplies and uniforms. However, for the past 3 years, Jorge, his sister and older brother have been able to regularly attend their rural elementary school, walking 4 kilometers to and from school each day for classes.  

Unfortunately, the window of opportunity for education in Costa Rica is time and age sensitive. Jorge’s older brother has not been as fortunate as Jorge – because of past irregular school attendance and lack of money, he had only achieved a 2nd- 3rd grade education level when he “aged-out” of elementary school at age 12. This young man is now walking 7 kilometers to a neighboring town for training to prepare him for work in agriculture. For this friendly and attentive 12 year old student, the opportunity to regularly attend elementary school arrived a bit too late.

However, thanks to your donations and other fund-raising efforts of CAA volunteers, Jorge has been able to get the school supplies, shoes and school uniforms necessary to regularly attend school, and he and his sister are now at the age-appropriate educational level.  Without your help, Jorge and his sister are at risk of walking the same path the system offered his older brother – a path leading only to manual agricultural labor in the coffee fields. 

CAA local volunteers, with your help, provided $6600 in school supplies, shoes, uniforms and other financial assistance to 25 scholarship students this school-year, and we hope to fund up to five additional students next year.  To do this, we need to raise $2600 before the next school year begins in late January, 2016. 

During this Thanksgiving season, can you please make a pledge to help students like Jorge? For these families in poverty in Costa Rica, the window of opportunity to get an education can close very quickly. 

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