Happy New Year from Guatemala! Our staff returned to work this week and are excitedly preparing for the new school year, which starts next week. We were so pleased to see the generosity of our friends who donated to GlobalGiving during the holiday season. Thanks to your donation, we now have a permanent place on the site, which will allow us to reach new donors all around the world. We can't think of a better way to start the year, especially with 60 more students joining our rosters next week! So, from all of the NDG students, families, staff, and volunteers, we hope that you have a fantastic 2013.
First of all, we would like to thank all of you who have been so generous in the first days of our GlobalGiving campaign. Your giving makes an enormous difference—as you can see on the GlobalGiving website, we’re already about 10% of the way to our goal and going strong!
We also want to tell you a bit about what the money you donate can help us do. This week concludes Summer School at both of our schools, a program that has been a resounding success over the past two years. Summer vacation in Guatemalan schools normally occurs between October and December. However, we ask our children to come back for a fun-filled, yet educational month of school during November. The reason we do this is two-fold: First, it allows us to create positive associations with school for the youngest class that is experiencing school for the first time. If they love school, they are more likely to come back each day during the school year. The second, and more important reason that we run Summer School, is because so many of our families are coffee farmers. November is harvesting season, which means picking coffee from dawn to dusk, for children as well as adults. If we are able to keep most of them in school (our retention rates during summer school are very positive, around 90%), it means we are able to keep them away from the backbreaking labor that they would otherwise be doing.
Summer School has been a great success for a number of reasons. We have had wonderful volunteers from all over the world come help us run new and innovative classes for the children, from music class, to break dancing, to basketball. They have also been a huge help to our Guatemalan teachers in more traditional classes such as Reading, English, Science, and Math. Summer School has also been a success because we were able to collect enough funds to cover all of our operations. Most of this money came from individual donors like yourselves. This allowed us to purchase all the necessary supplies, pay the salaries of our Guatemalan teachers, and cover all other operational costs.
Thank you for your help. It is making a real impact on the lives of our children, and will continue to do so in the months to come.
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