In March of this year, Xela AID Board Member Leon Kaplan fought for his life after a heart attack. He turned this frightening event into an educational scholarship for a hopeful young girl! Here’s how.
Leon was driving his car on a day like any other when he was stricken with the attack.
“I don’t remember how I stopped the car or how I ended up in the middle of the street,” he says. “I was told by the Los Angeles Fire Department that someone had called 911 and performed CPR on me until the paramedics arrived, but they wouldn’t give me the name.”
Without the help of that good Samaritan, Leon would not have survived.
Upon leaving the hospital, Leon was determined to find and thank his anonymous hero. He drove to the intersection where the event had taken place, and posted signs asking for the person who’d saved him to contact him. After a first failed attempt, he visited the intersection again. At a home nearby, he met Ashley and Samantha, two women who’d helped the mystery person to perform CPR under intense, trying circumstances.
Leon was so touched after hearing the story of his near death that he began to do some intensive investigating. He managed to find the record of the phone number for the 911 call that saved his life. The number belonged to Susie Powell, a legal assistant from Hollywood and former English teacher.
Leon and Susie met over lunch and bonded over their shared interests in educating youth. Leon sponsors a child for school through Xela AID’s Work Study Scholarship Program. He asked Susie if, as a "thank you" for her heroism, he could sponsor another child in her name. “She was thrilled by the idea and immediately agreed,” Leon recalls.
Maria Socorro Gomez Mendez was thrilled, too, upon learning that she’d been sponsored, and in fact, will now get to fulfill her dream of becoming a teacher—like Susie, who is now a hero in two lives.
Many children in Guatemala are in desperate need of education in order to pull themselves out of poverty and become self-reliant. Currently, in rural Guatemala, only 1 in every 10 children will make it to high school! Students in Xela AID’s programs beat the odds, with more than 80% graduating high school!
Like Leon and Susie, you can help children like Maria go to school and fulfill their dreams.
To sponsor a child’s education click HERE.