Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica

by Boy With a Ball
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Fund College Program for At-Risk Youth, Costa Rica
Outreach during weekly tutoring inspires youth.
Outreach during weekly tutoring inspires youth.
With enthusiasm, we want to introduce you to a new face bringing fresh ideas and positive energy to the university program team, Raul! In his first months, Raul has not only invigorated the current students in the program in their studies and giving back to their communities, but also strengthed the platform for future program participants to get involved and be inspired. We are very grateful for all of our program leaders like Raul and look forward to seeing the college program continually make a dramatic impact in the lives of all the young people it touches!
Here's what Raul has to say...
"I am the coordinator of the University Student Program in Costa Rica. I believe that God allowed me to experience stages in my life that were directly preparing me to serve in the best way in this foundation. I accepted the challenge of working on this project because I am convinced of the many opportunities that God is constantly putting in the paths of young people in this country. I believe in young people in Latin America and that with the right tools and motivations, it is possible to create a better world. When someday I leave this project and move onward to new challenges, I hope to have strengthened the state of consciousness of all the beneficiaries of our program and that this clarity allows each student new perspective; both mentally and spiritually speaking."
(Photo, Raul, far right)
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Happy new year from Boy with a Ball Costa Rica. We are glad you are a part of our movement and the lives we are shaping together. 

We want to take a moment to share with you a wonderful story which ended the 2017 year on an exciting note in our University Scholarship Program. This program exists beacuse we understand that the realities of a young persons socioeconomic background makes it difficult to stay in school.

This year, in order to give youth a small win faster, we revamped the scholarship program and moved from covering 4 year university level education to more technical/trade degrees (approximately one year and a half) which are very sought after in the job market. We partnered with the Universidad Latina which was excited to be an agent of change in the history these young men and women as they start a new chapter in their life and in the lives of their families. They waived the registration fee and gave a 25% scholarship to the cause.

The piece we want to highlight is that they are starting 10th grade next year and will attend classes once a week which shouldn’t impact their normal high school studies. Why is this awesome? By the time they graduate, they will have their high school degree AND a technical degree allowing them to start working almost right away. Watching them sign their registration and seeing their excitement was priceless…they couldn’t believe they were sitting in a university classroom, a possibility that had been only something to dream about.

This photo is our starting point – the day they registered. Nine new students carefully chosen from their communities. Nine stories that which will for sure inspire many. This week is the first week of classes! (and more stories to come!)

Thank you for believing in this program, in the work we do through BWAB. Many hands and hearts work hard to give these youth better opportunities. I am always proud of what we can accomplish together.

We are still in need of funds for our program staff for 2018. There are the people who work day in and out, giving far more than they need to with their hearts on their sleeves to ensure that our programs, volunteers and youth have what they need to succeed. 

Please consider donating today. A $200 donation means access to programs that empower and equip for an entire year for one young person. That's just $16 a month. 

We know there are many ways that you can invest your resouces, so we sincerely appreciate every bit of support that you show us.

Thank you and make 2018 a year that counts!

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Last Thursday, eleven young people from the at-risk communities where Boy with a Ball works in San Jose had an irreplaceable experience when our friends at Western Union, the American financial services and communications company, invited them to their Costa Rica headquarters.

The morning was filled with enthusiasm as several members of the WU team shared their own educational and professional experience, how working in this multinational company has opened doors and helped them grow and words of motivation for these young people as they strive to break the mold in their communities. Caroline Mata, Regional Talent Acquisition Manager for Western Union had this to say about the visit:

"It fills us with pride to make a difference alongside this great organization (BWAB). It was a great day! We are clear that it's education that will open the pathway to a better life. Our commitment is strong!"

There are currently three past members of the BWAB university program employed at Western Union and we don't plan to stop there. Several of the eleven visitors are current or potential scholars with Boy with a Ball and Western Union's commitment to the program and communities is as alive as ever. We are very grateful for the long term relationship with WU and especially for the individuals there whose love and faith continue to push young people to transform their lives and communities.

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Boy with a Ball's University Scholarship program doesn't begin when a person is accepted into college, but much earlier, when they begin building a vision for the future where their lives are used for their God-given potential. 

When Tatiana first began attending the Boy with a Ball English class in the community hall in Los Cuadros, little did she know the impact that it would soon have on her life, not to mention that of her family and neighbors.

Tatiana has lived her whole life in Los Cuadros. The community, northeast of San Jose, was once recognized for its cool evening air and coffee production. Today it's more notoriously known for the drugs and social problems that can be noticed at a glance. Tatiana's life growing up was no exception to the norm, marked with family violence and senseless deaths, with little motivation to make a better life for herself. Tatiana, like many other young women around her, had a baby before finishing high school. She left her studies to be a mother but always knew deep within her that there was something more she was meant for, her potential left untapped.

When the opportunity arose at age 31 to begin learning English, Tatiana's two sons were both in school and getting passing grades, her husband and partner of about 15 years had a full time job and she, for the first time in many years, had the time and energy to pursue something new. That's when Tatiana learned about the new Boy with a Ball English group opening up and decided to give it a shot.

Tatiana did not start out with the highest grades in the class, and like many, she struggled with assignments and getting used to studying after many years. After 3 months and having passed the first level of the class, having built friendships with her classmates, teacher and program volunteers, Tatiana was encouraged by her success. By the time of the final exam for level two, Tatiana not only had the best attendance in the group, but also was starting to think about future in a new way.

Two weeks before the test, it was announced that the student with the best grade and attendance would receive a full scholarship to an outstanding English institute, Wizard, for two years. A few students in the class threw in the towel, thinking they did not have a chance or just doing enough to pass. Some of the brightest students in the class began planning how would they fit the institute schedule into their current situation. Tatiana however, just kept studying. She was humble and when the scholarship was announced and her name was called, although there was a bit of shock, everyone in the group knew that Tatiana deserved that scholarship.

Today, having completed one year as a scholar at Wizard, Tatiana is a different woman than the one we knew on her first day walking in. The quiet woman not quite sure if she belonged has transformed into a confident and assertive student. Tatiana's launch into Wizard not only has her speaking English more fluently each week, but also helped to inspire her to finish her high school degree, knowing that with hard work and faith, she could do it. Soon, with continued efforts and vision, Tatiana will be on her way to the University Scholarship group.

It takes faith in yourself to walk into an new opportunity, work hard and make the most of it. When those around you also have faith in your ability, when they see the power within you, the equation has all that it needs for that untapped potential to explode. Tatiana not only is an example to her two sons, but also to others in her community, young and old. Besides being an active member in Boy with a Ball programs, she often invites young people to her house to help them with their English homework. Tatiana's story is one of faith - and what just a little bit in ourselves and others can do to change the world.

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Miguel, tutoring a young person in his community.
Miguel, tutoring a young person in his community.

Boy with a Ball's college scholarship program does not lack the ambition to enter the professional work force in Costa Rica. Within the low income, slum communities where the foundation works, there are many strong, smart and capable youth looking for the opportunities to break the barriers into a better life for themselves, their families and their communities. For some of these young people, a difficult step is taking the big jump from high school into a university setting. This year, we partnered with Magister, a one year technical school focusing in Business and Technology. This provided a great transition for 4 people in the program, who this month are completing their one year degree before continuing on to other university studies while having a degree which gives great experience to find a job to support their continuing studies. One of these people is Miguel Martinez, and here is what he had to say about his time at Magister:

"For me, Magister was a new experience, as I was studying at UNED previously (an online university) and I had to change my study methods. I had classes once a week and the teachers who taught the different modules were very good, the teaching methods very complete and efficient. I finished each module successfully with the excellent grades which I did not obtain during the last semester in the UNED. This motivated me to continue and not to be held back. I am satisfied with what I achieved in my time at Magister, and I was very grateful for the opportunity they gave me. Something that I now hope to achieve is to study Systems Engineering at a technician level. During this year in Magister one of the lessons I learned was to work with fellow classmates as we did many team projects and presentations, working with people of different ages and sharing experience both academically and personally."

Congratulations to Miguel and the other Magister graduates of 2016!

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Organization Information

Boy With a Ball

Location: Lawrenceville, GA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @boywithaball
Project Leader:
Kim Hackbarth
Goicoechea, San Jose Costa Rica
$6,683 raised of $30,000 goal
55 donations
$23,317 to go
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