AFL in 2024

Welcoming a new GRACES staff member

English classes expand opportunities for junior high students

Last month, Escuela Integrada kicked off the 2024 school year with an exciting new opportunity—English classes for all junior high students! In partnership with Academia de Lideres Futuros (AFL), every student in 7th-9th grade will take English for an hour at the end of every school day.

In 2023, GRACES provided scholarships and transportation for up to 15 students to take English classes at AFL at their location in Parramos. This year, three teachers from AFL will come to Escuela Integrada instead, expanding the opportunity from 15 to 57 students.

“With the money we were spending on transportation we could only provide scholarships for a small number of students,” said Hannah Nadeau Girón, executive director of GRACES. “This way, we can serve more students.”

AFL’s proven curriculum and instruction is an incredible resource for the students at Escuela Integrada, Nadeau Girón said, noting that several former Escuela Integrada students have obtained English fluency.

“There are so many more job opportunities in Guatemala for individuals who speak English,” Nadeau Girón said. “We want to give our students as many chances to break the cycle of poverty as we can.”

GRACES hires new staff member, Catherine Escobar

We are thrilled to announce the hire of Catherine Escobar as the new Sponsorship Coordinator for GRACES! Catherine comes to us with a wealth of experience and has already been working with us as a photographer and translator during Vision Trips.

“Cathy loves Jesus, has a heart of service and all the qualities and qualifications needed to be an excellent Sponsorship Coordinator,” said Hannah Nadeau Girón, executive director of GRACES.

Prior to GRACES, Catherine worked as an accessibility analyst in a telecommunications company, where she ensured that products and services were accessible to individuals with disabilities. She is currently studying systems engineering.

“I believe in the potential within Guatemala, particularly among the students at Escuela Integrada, and I am eager to engage directly with them,” she said. “I firmly believe in Guatemala’s wealth and the capacity of every individual to contribute to its progress. GRACES is already making strides in this regard, and I am enthusiastic about joining in this transformative journey.”

Catherine, or Cathy for short, grew up in a family of six in Guatemala City. She enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking and biking, and photography.

“Part of my role includes being a channel between the Escuela Integrada kids and their sponsors, and I am thrilled about nurturing those relationships and collaborating to create a caring community,” she said.

After several years of dedicated service, current Sponsorship Coordinator Lucas Hertzberg will be returning to the United States with his wife and daughter. While we are sad to see him go, we know he will continue to be involved in other capacities. Keep your eyes on your email and social media in the coming weeks for ways to show your appreciation for Lucas!

Show a little love this Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and we need your help to show the kids and staff members at Escuela Integrada that they are loved! We want to give each student and staff member a small gift on Valentine’s Day* to show them that someone is thinking about them.

We have 173 students at the school and 25 staff members at the school. If you would like to help with a small Valentine’s gift through a donation of $10, click here. Each $10 donation will guarantee that one person at the school receives a gift.

To share a message of love with the students, staff and teachers, please include it in the “Note” section of the donation. We will collect all of the notes and share them with the school!

*In observance of Ash Wednesday on February 14, we will deliver Valentine’s gifts on Thursday, Feb. 15.