| Nov 21, 2017
Marlon and Gildardo: Empowering a family
Another school year has come to an end in Joconal. We aren’t sure where the time went, but we have our third year of secondary classes under our belt. All of the students did very well this year, excelling in their classes. Your help with the GlobalGiving campaign has allowed all of our 17 students to finish strong in Joconal.
This year, we did not have a high school graduating class, but we did celebrate our 9th grade class. In Guatemala, their secondary school is divided into two parts: Basico (7th thru 9th) and Bachillerato (10th thru 11th). After a student completes Basico, they are encouraged to focus on their career path. Completing 9th grade is not a small achievement for our students. In three years of schooling, we have sent two students to trade schools and continue to help our students identify opportunities in their field of interest.
In our 9th grade class this year, we had a very special graduate. Marlon began 7th grade when we first launched our program in January 2015. Originally, Marlon registered with his older brother Gildardo. As we began to do placement testing, neither Marlon nor his brother Gildardo were present. We reached out to them to find out what happened. These boys shared that they needed to work to help their mother provide for their four younger siblings. They both wanted to go to school, but knew that they wouldn’t be able to be in class and help at home. My heart broke for the boys knowing that this opportunity would mean a better future.
Shortly after, Karina shared with me that Marlon would be starting 7th grade. His brother, Gildardo, had offered to work extra hours, so his brother could stay in school. This selfless act has touched my heart for years as Marlon excelled in school. When he started school, he had no idea what he wanted to do. Over the past three years, he began to identify skills that he didn’t know he had. He discovered a love for working with his hands in art and cooking in home ec. He began applying this love at home and found out that he enjoyed cutting hair. This soon turned into an after school job providing hair cuts for 10Q a piece.
Marlon shared with us that he would be moving to a trade school in 2018. He wants to take what he has learned and apply it as a mechanic. We are sad to see Marlon go, but extremely excited for him to take the next step. We know he will excel. This career path with allow Marlon to use his hands and tap into his entrepreneurial spirit by providing a needed service that does not exist in Joconal. Also, he will be earning, at the minimum, three times what he was picking coffee each month, and this job will ensure that he has work year round.
As Marlon moves to the next step, I can’t help but think of Gildardo’s sacrifice for his brother. This sacrifice will have a real impact on his family. Your gift to Empower Students in the Coffee Growing Village of Joconal ensures that families can continue to make that choice. Your gift really did not just empower Marlon, it empowered Gildardo as well. It ensured that Gildardo’s sacrifice was not in vain.
We will keep you posted on Marlon’s progress. In the meantime, we are preparing for our 4th year in January 2018. Along with our secondary program, we will also be launching a brand new Preschool and Kindergarten in Joconal. The leaders of the village have been so blown away by the success of the secondary school that they have asked us to help them start a Preschool. To accommodate the program, they are building us another classroom at the Leiva’s farm house. To learn more, you can check out our new GlobalGiving project “Help Launch a Preschool in the Village of Joconal”.
This year both of our projects will be participating in GlobalGiving’s GivingTuesday campaign. There is $75,000.00 up for grabs for the entire 24 hours on November 28th. Our organization will receive a match based how much we raise during this time. You can help us receive some of this money just by giving this Tuesday, November 28th. Stop by and check out our project and share it with a friend.
Again, thank you for partnering with us to empower the community of Joconal through education. Our students’ lives would look very different without you.
Marlon and his mom