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GRACES is 10 years old!

GRACES is officially 10 years old today! Ten years ago, Escuela Integrada was on the brink of closing its doors after the previous funding organization dissolved. Thankfully, a group of dedicated volunteers quickly formed a new entity to preserve Escuela Integrada in their moment of greatest need.

“It was easy to be ‘all in,’” said Krista Woolly, a founding member of the GRACES’ Board of Directors. “There isn’t anything about the organization that I do not appreciate and love, including offering so much grace and love to the most vulnerable families in Antigua.”

In the spring of 2014, Woolly and several others established GRACES as a 501(c)3 with a homebase in Salisbury, North Carolina, and support from several churches across the U.S.

“In the most difficult moments—we could say moments of crisis—we have found support from people who gave us trust and love,” said Hernan Garcia, program director for Escuela Integrada.

The organization faced incredible financial hardship, but continued to survive thanks in no small part to the generosity of benefactors and volunteers. Since its founding, GRACES’ support base expanded to include more churches, schools and individual supporters.

“Financially we have been afloat since GRACES took charge of supporting the school,” Garcia said. “We have been able to promptly have the resources for food, salaries, rent and for all our programs to function in a good way.”

Today, GRACES is able to fully fund Escuela Integrada, and provide financial support for Academy of Future Leaders in Parramos and Ahava in Pastores. In 2023, GRACES served more than 160 students through Escuela Integrada, provided 190 English language classes at Academy of Future Leaders and supported more than 700 hours of after-school tutoring at Ahava.

“We have been able to advance and provide a better service to children and their families,” Garcia said. “We are more organized, and we implemented new programs and strengthened those we already had.”

The programs would cease to exist if it were not for individuals, churches and groups who come alongside the organization in partnership, financial support and service. Since its founding, GRACES has been able to expand service, sponsorship and immersion opportunities through Vision Trips; student, teacher and classroom sponsorships; and in-person and virtual events.

“There have been a lot of ups and downs and trials (especially financial trials!) these past ten years, but God has been faithful,” said Hannah Nadeau Girón, executive director of GRACES. “I am so thankful for all of our board members, supporters and staff who make up this organization, and I am excited to see what the next ten years have in store.”

Learn more about GRACES by visiting wearegraces.org.

Corriendo por oportunidades raises awareness for Escuela Integrada in Jocotenango and beyond!

On May 4, the second annual Corriendo por Oportunidades race took off from the front of Escuela Integrada in Jocotenango. Students, families, staff, teachers and local supporters ran through Jocotenango to raise awareness and support for the school.

Satellite events were held in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Salisbury, North Carolina, where groups of supporters gathered to walk or run in solidarity with those in Guatemala. More than 100 people participated in all three events combined with several others throughout the U.S. also joining the fun.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for photos from the race in Guatemala!

Visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wearegraces.gt