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News from Guatemala: May 2016
"“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

—Mahatma Gandhi

Xela AID
Impacts, 2015 

More than 25,000 hot, nutritious meals were served during 2015 to children fortunate enough to be attending Xela AID’s San Martín Tots Preschool. Read about how with Xela AID’s help our community is defying the norms, about our financial strength, personal stories of triumph, and myriad other important outcomes powered by supporters like you in our 2015 Impact Report

We Need Your
Xela AID Story!

Have you been on a Xela AID volunteer trip? Do you sponsor a WSS student? Has Xela AID made a difference in your life? Please take several minutes to share why Xela AID is special to you. Your memorable experience could help us be recognized by Great Non Profits for the fourth year running as a Top-Rated Nonprofit. Click HERE to share your Xela AID story, and thanks ahead of time for your support! 

“Wild Alaska”
This September

Xela AID’s new travel program featuring exciting adventures and meaningful fellowship with old and new Xela AID friends launches this fall with Wild Alaska. There’s still time to join us for a 9-day 8-night trip aboard the cruise ship Norwegian Jewel Sept. 2-10, 2016. Contact Scott Dennis to book today!
See Flyer for details and pricing.
Phone: 626-627-9021

Support Us Through Amazon

You can support Xela AID by purchasing through “Amazon Smile.” That means your birthday, anniversary, Christmas gifts and everyday purchases can benefit Xela AID a full 5%, at no cost to you! Just go to When asked to select a charity, type in “Xela AID Partnerships for Self Reliance.” Go to each time you shop and you’ll be shopping for good!
Xela AID is a proud member of 
LIKE us!
LIKE us!
Visit our Website!
Visit our Website!

New Video: Sponsored Students
Thank “Xela AID Angels” 

Photo: Work Study Scholarship Students are all smiles after a day of studies with Board Member Steve Kent.

Xela AID Angels are those who sponsor students to be in school. More than 130 children from San Martin Chiquíto have been given the opportunity to make their dreams come true by getting the chance to attend school! Take a look at the heart-warming video the Work Study Scholarship (WSS) Students made with the help of Xela AID’s Leaders of Today. Watch HERE.
On behalf of the entire Xela AID team we would like to thank each and every Xela AID Angel for your continued support in making dreams come true.
Not an Angel? You can be, and make a difference in a child’s life! Click HERE to meet children on our waiting list. Sponsoring is as easy as clicking through to make your tax deductible donation. Questions? E-mail

Volunteers Build, Cook and Teach


Photo: Volunteer group "Los Chuchos" stop for a fun cooking class in Antigua, Guatemala.
To say Xela AID’s recent volunteer trip was as success is an understatement. Fearless leaders and Board Chair Sue Rikalo and Board Member Steve Kent led down an awesome group of volunteers for a week of construction, cooking, exciting adventures and more! This is Xela AID’s second volunteer trip of the year, and it included volunteers of many different talents and skills. After a warm welcome on the first day in San Martin Chiquito the group who dubbed themselves “Los Chuchos” got straight to work.
Among other assignments:
> Xela AID Board Member John Douglass, an anthropologist, interviewed locals for a suite of cultural exhibits that will be located at the Betty Rikalo Welcome Center on the third floor of Xela AID Headquarters.
> A chicken coop project assured that some chickens in San Martin are living in luxury. “The coups our team built are the Mercedes Benz of all chicken coops,” said trip leader Sue Rikalo. Trudy Saldana led this project, and three coops were built, delivered and stocked. Those who donated chickens last holiday season helped to fund this project! 
> Veterinarian Kevin Cassidy led a clinic to vaccinate cats and dogs against rabies. Kevin and six men from the village pampered pets with door-to-door service, vaccinating about 150 animals in all.
> Volunteer Jill Onken worked with Clean Water Program Coordinator Elmer Mazariegos to begin a water harvesting project. Elmer’s home was selected as the test site. They measured his roof, and using complicated calculations, estimated what size storage container would be required to hold enough water to get Elmer’s family through the dry season.
> At Xela AID’s clinic, volunteer Dr. Nancy Rikalo and Board Member Dr. Steve Kent shared expertise with Xela AID’s new doctor, Karla Santizo. Drs. Nancy and Steve spoke at a conference organized to take advantage of their expertise (diabetes and cardiology). And Dr. Nancy also spent time training Health Educator Estrella Vásquez and Work Study Scholarship (WSS) student Niko Guzman (studying to be a lab tech) on health topics to share with patients.
> Volunteers Jo Anna Kassel and Pearl Glaves taught English to 6th graders and Xela AID’s Leaders of Today.
> Michael Maddux led the charge to document the trip and posted photos on Xela AID’s Facebook page, garnering an audience of thousands of engaged friends and fans.
> Sam Kent revved up the Computer lab and tutored Xela AID staff and students in uses of Excel.
> Artist Joel Heger gave painting lessons to two students receiving Art Ambassador scholarships and led an art project with children tutored at Xela AID's Study Center.
> Master Weaver and Kitchen Coordinator Luciana Perez held her first cooking class in Xela AID’s brand new kitchen. They whipped up some delicious chicken stew with vegetables and tortillas. “I was very happy to share my cooking skills with people who appreciate the work of indigenous women,” said Luciana. “It was a beautiful, fun experience and it is helping me build my confidence”.
Xela AID’s staff joins trip leaders Sue and Steve in thanking all of our “Los Chuchos” volunteers for their contributions on this trip! 

Montessori “Practice Salon” Launched


Photo: Children from Xela AID’s San Martín Tots Preschool take a break from their studies to play a game with Volunteer Meaghan Yolles.

Xela AID’s San Martín Tots preschool has been benefitting low-income children for more than a decade. This month, Xela AID took a first step toward implementing a new teaching method that will kick learning up a notch, and will provide “the highest quality preschool education available in the world today,” said Sherry Robbin, Xela AID Board Member who is the new method’s mentor and benefactor.
The method is Montessori—known worldwide for producing high performing graduates, and Sherry is a believer.
“My own child went to Montessori, and I was schooled in the method. The children in the village we serve face many hardships and this kind of preparation is going to serve them well not only throughout school, but throughout their lives,” she said.
In early 2015, Sherry laid the groundwork for three young women in the village of San Martín Chiquito to start studying the method. The next step was to create a “Practice Salon” where the three could begin to put into practice what they had learned. Sherry worked with the women to select and rent a site, had child-sized tables and chairs built, and provided special materials for the children to learn hand-eye coordination, organization and sorting, counting, patience and more. The new Xela AID Montessori Practice Salon launched on May 12th.
“The teachers, parents and children could not be happier with this new opportunity to prepare these children for their future,” said Xela AID Director Luis de Leon.
There are currently 12 children enrolled in the program which is being staffed by teachers-in-training Alicia de Leon, Juana Lopez and Fabiana Vasquez. The ladies are rotating throughout the week making sure there are two instructors in the class each day.
“This is a dream come true,” says Alicia, who also runs Xela AID’s Literacy Program several afternoons each week. “A mother came to pick up her son Anthony this week, and he said, ‘I don’t want to go. I am busy. I am working!”
Anthony is three. Sherry is elated: “That’s the attitude we like to hear!”
“I am so grateful to Montessori trainer Shirley Yancor (a resident of nearby Xela) who has been an inspiration to Alicia, Juana and Fabiana,” Sherry says.
Xela AID is grateful to Sherry for making this important program possible! 

Scholarship Awards Reward and Encourage Las Nubes Students


 Photo: Breskin Paola Aguilar and Sucely Teresa Barillas proudly    receive their well deserved scholarships.
The remote village of Las Nubes was in particularly bad shape when Xela AID Board Member Sherry Robin first visited. In one of the first projects she sponsored, the rickety wooden shack that had sufficed was replaced by a proper block school house—and with multiple classrooms no less.
But Sherry didn’t stop there. For the last few years, she has sponsored a scholarship program to help motivate and reward Las Nubes students who have excelled through a scholarship program.
Sherry worked with Xela AID Director Luis Enrique de León and a Xela AID staff member from Las Nubes to come up with a plan to reward the top performing students graduating from this small but mighty rural school her generosity made possible. Scholarships of Q1000 ($131) were awarded this year to four graduates who attained a GPA of 80 (A-).
Since outside of Xela AID programs only 1 in 10 rural children will graduate even the 6th grade, Sherry wanted to continue to reward students who continued on to high school. Four students who had received the scholarship last year and who had continued on to high school AND maintained a GPA of at least 80, also were awarded the scholarship.  
“Students who maintain a high grade point average can receive this assistance for up to 3 years,” Sherry explained. These funds help to pay for books, uniforms, and part of school fees. The family is responsible for all other costs. 
Over the years, approximately 20 students have been inspired by this program. Notes Sherry, “Although it only pays a part of the expenses of attending high school, it is that extra help that motivates the family to find additional funds so that their child can continue their education.”
Xela AID thanks Sherry for her continued commitment to the Las Nubes community.
Thank you for your interest and support!
Our mailing address is:
Xela AID Partnerships For Self Reliance
111 W. Ocean Blvd.
4th Floor
Long Beach, CA 90802

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