Jan 10, 2018

Graduation 2017 Una Meta Mas!

Una Meta Mas, One More Accomplishment
Una Meta Mas, One More Accomplishment

This November, Common Hope | Familias de Esperanza celebrated the graduation of 159 students. Visitors and sponsors from across the United States traveled to Antigua, Guatemala to celebrate the accomplishments of these dedicated students. A ceremony was held on Saturday, November 11 with nearly 700 people in attendance including family members, staff, students, and visitors. Students from Antigua, San Miguel Milpas Altas, San Rafael, and New Hope were present along with two University graduates.

The theme of this year’s graduation event, Una Meta Más or One More Accomplishment, recognized and celebrated everyone involved in making graduation possible; the students for their persistence and dedication, the families for their continuous support, the staff for their commitment, and our sponsors and supporters for all the ways you make Common Hope’s work possible.

Andrés, who faced a lot of adversity throughout his years of school, spoke during the Graduation ceremony. He addressed his fellow classmates saying,

"With great satisfaction we can now say that our dreams have become a reality." 

At 21 years old, Andrés worked while also attending school. This year he graduated with a Bachelor in Administration Management. He is the first of his family to graduate from high school.

Andrés isn’t the only student who had to overcome many challenges to achieve a high school diploma. Eva, a graduate from the Antigua area, faced a particularly difficult family situation. Her outlook and attitude always remained positive however, and this year she graduated as a Bilingual Secretary. During her graduation speech, Eva encouraged her classmates to see graduation as just the beginning of a bright future and to keep dreaming despite the challenges that may lie ahead.

“Because what would life be without obstacles, without challenges? I think it would be boring. The Spring wouldn’t be as beautiful if it wasn’t for the Winter. If we don’t go through adversity, we can’t welcome prosperity.”

After the Graduation ceremony, the celebration continued with a Carnival that included more than 15 activities like Bingo, a marimba band, traditional Guatemalan games, a photo booth, wishing well, and everyone’s favorite — karaoke! See the photo of Juan, his family and his sponsor, Steve, attempting to build a tower in under a minute (a good challenge as Steve is an architect!)

Graduates were also given the opportunity to give roses of appreciation to the people in their lives who helped them achieve their dreams and goals. In another photo, see Rose and Dave receive a rose from their sponsored student, Jose. Un momento hermoso — A beautiful moment.

We would like to say thank you and GRACIAS to everyone in the GlobalGiving family who donated to our project this year and made this graduation day possible! YOU are what makes this work happen and YOU are the light of hope for many students who have big dreams. 

What doors did graduation open for you? What sense of accomplishment did you feel once you had your diploma in hand? Were you inspired to continue your education? Or did you enter the workforce with energy and enthusiasm? 

 

Andres speaking at the graduation ceremony
Andres speaking at the graduation ceremony
Juan, his sponsor Steve, and the tower challenge
Juan, his sponsor Steve, and the tower challenge
Rose and Dave receive a rose from Jose
Rose and Dave receive a rose from Jose
Graduates from San Rafael el Arado
Graduates from San Rafael el Arado
Finding your brick on the Pathway of Dreams
Finding your brick on the Pathway of Dreams
Oct 12, 2017

Social Work + Clinic = Healthy Families

Dr. Miriam facilitated the training
Dr. Miriam facilitated the training

Stopping and preventing family crisis and disease is the goal of a recent two-day preventative health care training  between the Antigua Health Clinic and the Social Work Program.

Dr. Miriam, an Antigua Clinic doctor and facilitator of the training explains, "the first step in implementing preventative health care with our families is to work with our key collaborators, Common Hope social workers, because they are the first contacts with our families and play a crucial role in orienting them."

Thirteen Antigua social workers participated in the training. "The training deepened our understanding so that we can serve our families in a more comprehensive way" said Patty, Antigua Social Work Program Manager.

A key component of preventative health care is to diagnose and treat the illness so it can be managed. Having social workers equipped with the knowledge to seek signs of concern earlier will allow them to make clinic referrals sooner. The training also taught social workers to more effectively look for environmental conditions that can be making health problems worse.

The Antigua Clinic offers services that address many health concerns families face, yet in a culture not prone to healthcare access, not everyone takes advantage.

This collaboration between the Health Care and Social Work aims to better inform and encourage families to participate in early childhood wellness, prenatal, cervical cancer prevention, diabetes and hypertension programming.

This is just one step in providing families with the tools, knowledge, resources and care they need to stay healthy. And your donations make it possible for thousands of people to receive access to quality health care and family development services. ¡Gracias! 

Common Hope is always looking for new ways for programs to collaborate in order to expand their reach and deepen their impact. In what ways do you collaborate? Have you ever discovered unexpected opportunities to collaborate that strengthened your team or department?  

Common Hope social workers at the training
Common Hope social workers at the training
Jul 14, 2017

Creative, Inclusive Teachers Matter

Carla has been a teacher for 20 years
Carla has been a teacher for 20 years

In Guatemala, one out of every three first graders fails and has to repeat first grade. But at New Hope School, it is rare to see a first grader repeat the year. What makes New Hope School stand apart from other schools in Guatemala?

MORE THAN ACADEMICS
Having taught at New Hope School for four years, Carla explains the secret to the school’s success. “We all work in a coordinated way with a special focus on the students who are struggling and think creatively about the different strategies we can implement both inside and outside the classroom to help those students reach the desired outcomes, not letting any student fall through the cracks.” This comprehensive approach of teachers working alongside Common Hope social workers and psychologists ensures that each student is receiving the support they need to succeed in school.

Carla has been a teacher for 20 years and she understands that the most crucial and influential years of education occur very early in a child’s life, which is why she loves teaching younger students. “You can really shape them and clearly see the fruit of your labor,” she explains.

Carla also credits the success of her students to an approach that encompasses more than just books and learning.

“I love being a teacher. But for me it’s more than the academic part. It’s so important to support my students by being a good listener, to show them that I care about them, to show affection. Especially for struggling students, if they feel affection the academics will follow.”

EDUCATION AS A WAY OUT OF POVERTY
All of the students at New Hope School come from families with limited resources. Carla hopes that through the education they receive at New Hope School, they will gain the tools they need to be successful in life, get a good job, and are able to break the cycle of poverty.

Dedicated teachers like Carla are living Common Hope’s mission every day. Thanks to the crucial support of a United Way Worldwide grant on behalf of the generosity of Target, the work at New Hope School continues to make a real impact in the lives of children in Guatemala.Target has supported the Early Childhood Initiative at New Hope School since 2008 and we are so grateful for their ongoing support.

Thank you Target for partnering with us! Together, with the leadership and dedication of exceptional teachers like Carla, we are giving students the tools they need to build a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Who are the teachers in your life who impacted you in a special way? Do you agree that teaching is more than just academics? Leave us a comment! 

Carla in her classroom at New Hope School
Carla in her classroom at New Hope School
 
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