Christmas greetings from Guatemala! As we review the many blessings of this past year, we are thankful for the role you have played in providing hope for the future of the children who attend the La Escuela Integrada. Again this year, the lives of these children and their families have been greatly impacted and your support has truly made a difference.
If you have followed us on social media and our website this year you know that the celebrations coming from your support this year are numerous and outstanding- we hired a new School Director in Guatemala, hired a fabulous, energetic Principal, purchased a new minivan for the school, the students have new desks, new textbooks, better meals to eat and even new shoes! More than 110 children attending La Escuela Integrada have active, prayerful sponsors; a project is being implemented which will allow 40 children to have a house built for their family; and, the school debt has been eradicated.
These actions are providing very powerful transformations for everyone involved. The children are benefiting from better living conditions, good nutrition, increased academic opportunities and from the constant positive relationships with you, the supporters and sponsors. The graduation rates for the children are high and we have more young people graduating and seeking professional career opportunities, with hopes of becoming doctors, architects, teachers and psychologists.
The one word summary for this year continues to be that of HOPE. Everyone involved is grateful for the outcomes and accomplishments for all the children. While we celebrate, we also know that there are many more children who are in need. For example one of the young children in the school recently lost her father who was hit by a drunk driver, thereby losing her family stability. Her mother works for the school as a cook but has been struggling to care for the father while he was in a coma, pay rent and take care of her 6 children. At one point they became so impoverished they were to become homeless, could not provide medication for the comatose father (who was rejected from the hospital), and could not afford a funeral and casket when the father died. A few supporters stepped forward, built a small home and assisted the family. We are working with our partners to provide this family counseling, a sponsor for the daughter to assist with her education, and hope that she may complete her education and experience a difference future.
As you are aware, the children attending the school receive their education for free. They also receive nutritious meals, medicine, school supplies and hope for their future. This year we have loftier goals for the school and children such as providing full meals for breakfast, expanding learning to provide more technology options and the development of additional support programs. Without La Escuela Integrada, these opportunities would never be available to these children. Your support is truly making a difference in their lives.
We ask you to assist us in continuing to provide these children opportunities and hope, together we are transforming lives. Please consider providing an additional donation to the school this holiday season so that another child may obtain an education, nutritional programs can be augmented and even more success is provided in Guatemala this year. You may make tax deductible donation by visiting our website at wearegraces.org or by mail to GRACES, 1026 S. Fulton Street, Salisbury, NC 28144.
We THANK YOU for your partnership, support and prayers for the children and this ministry. We wish you a very blessed Christmas season and the happiest New Year!
Paula Bohland, Interim Executive Director