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News from Guatemala: December 2015
Dear Friend,
Each of the success stories you are about to read are possible because of our outstanding Xela AID team in Guatemala and here at home, our dedicated Board of Directors and Advisors who are an integral part of our team, and the generosity of our supporters like you! We at Xela AID are deeply grateful to our Xela AID family for your heartfelt participation and support throughout the year, and wish you and your family a peaceful and rewarding Holiday Season.

Leslie Baer Dinkel
Executive Director

Secure Your Space on a Xela AID
Volunteer Trip!

Looking forward to changing lives for the better during 2016 with Xela AID? Spaces are filling quickly, so make sure to pick your trip and get your deposit in soon! Trips open to the public in 2016 include April 29-May 9, July 23-August 1, and August 13-21. Rotarians may be interested in September 29-October 9. We look forward to traveling with you!

Download Overview/Application Now (First Come First Served)

            Visit our Volunteer Trips Page to View Individual Day Schedules

Call for more information: Arlene Corral (559) 802-6174

Jack's Journal

Earlier this year, artist and President of Xela AID partner organization Art Ambassador for a Colorful World Jack Vogler traveled on a Xela AID volunteer trip to bring color and fun to the kids of San Martín and surrounding communities. He documented his adventures in a journal including beautiful photos.
Read and View Jack’s Journal

Calling All Xela AID Angels!

Do you currently sponsor a child in our Work Study Scholarship (WSS) program? If you do, we call you a "Xela AID Angel." Interested in connecting more with your sponsored child? Good news! Simply e-mail a note for your student with student name and ID number in the Subject to the following e-mail address: It will be passed along to your student as soon as possible. Tell them about your family, send photos, or simply say hello! All communication from sponsors is encouraged. Questions?
How can you become a Xela AID Angel? Easy! Click below to meet children on our waiting list. Sponsoring is as easy as clicking through to make your tax deductible donation.
View Waiting List
“I have found this paradox to be true; that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt—only more love.”

—Mother Teresa of Calcutta
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Christmas Shoes for Martín

Yuly Hoffens (left) and Lucky González helping Martín pick out a comfy pair of shoes.
 Martin is nine years old. The shoes he was wearing last week, hand me downs, may have been as old as him! But that changed last week when Christmas came early for Martin. That’s when Xela AID local staffers, along with Arlene Corral who was visiting from Xela AID’s stateside office, purchased and delivered another dozen pairs of shoes for Martín and 11 other children just in time for Christmas!
The grateful recipients thanked staff, and Martín promised, “I won’t get them dirty!” Yuly Hoffens, Xela AID’s therapist who heads the “Shoes for Xela AID” Project replied: “Get them dirty! Play, run, have fun!” The program is part of Xela AID’s Emergency Relief efforts, and is made possible by donations to our Emergency Fund.  Thank you Yuly and team!

Winter Vacation School Keeps
Kids Learning

The Nativity cast after a day of rehearsals.

Each winter, kids in Guatemala are off school from December to mid-January. But in rural San Martín Chiquito where student test scores tend to trail behind their city counterparts, they can ill afford the break.
Enter Xela AID’s “Winter Vacation School,” like our summer school, where kids can keep learning. During the past month more than 50 young people and adults from San Martin Chiquíto have been coming to take advantage of the opportunity.
“We have been providing reading, English, math and art classes to continue to grow their skills,” described Lucky González, Xela AID’s Education Coordinator and Sub Director in Guatemala. The kids attend mornings, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
To end Winter Vacation School, the young people rehearsed and put on a Christmas skit for friends and families in the village. Little ones dressed up as Mary, Joseph, the Three Wise Men, shepherds, sheep—six children dressed as sheep! A baby Jesus doll completed the Nativity scene.

Leaders Take on the Business World  

Leaders of Today who studied Radio and TV proudly display their certificates of completion.

Mariño Perez dreams of being a filmmaker. And because of training he is receiving through Xela AID’s Leaders of Today program, that dream is getting closer.
Leaders of Today, a group of 35 of the area’s top students, just completed a two-month-long business management course, and the group is all a buzz.  Each student was able to explore a career that interested them, included Engineering, Radio and TV, or Baking.
The students also learned how to do simple business plans, and gained other skills they would need to start their own small business. As a bonus, each got the chance to attend the El Congreso Nacional de la Juventud (National Congress meeting for youth).
To celebrate their successes, they organized a trip to the beach. They enjoyed some hot weather, cool water, sandy toes and delicious food. “We’re so busy throughout the year we never have the chance to celebrate our successes,” said Elmer Mazariegos, Xela AID’s Leaders of Today Coordinator. “That is why we immediately took the opportunity for a beach trip and everyone was so excited!”
Leaders of Today’s Training and Beach Trip Here!

Emergency Relief:
Safe and Dry for Christmas

Xela AID staff and leaders finishing up the first wall on the second day of house construction.

Xela AID’s Guatemalan team are just as generous with their time and resources at work as they are outside of work. The team pulled together funding from friends for simple construction materials and pooled their time to build a tiny home for a family of six—the Orozco family.
“They had been living in a hovel—literally, tin roofing sheets with a black tarp for a ceiling,” described Arlene Corral, Xela AID Program Associate who just returned from a Guatemala trip last week. “All six had been sleeping on dirt until (Xela AID Director) Luis de León gave them a mattress,” said Corral. The Xela AID team wanted to do more so they decided to build them a new home.
“The eldest daughter and son are so intelligent and do everything they can to help support their mother and siblings but life is hard and sometimes you need a little help,” said Yuly Hoffens, Xela AID’s therapist. “I’m happy we were able to do something so special for this family this holiday season.”

The Orozco family is thrilled they now have a home that protects them from the rain and a bed to sleep sound at night.
Have a Joyous Holiday Season and
Watch for Updates in January
Our mailing address is:
Xela AID Partnerships For Self Reliance
65 Pine Ave. #404
Long Beach, CA 90802

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