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Update from Guatemala: October 6, 2014
OCTOBER 15, 2014: DEADLINE for March 2015 Volunteer Trip
On the heels of three highly successful summer trips, Xela AID is already planning for 2015. The first trip of next year which will be held in March 2015 will be a combination of service and cultural exploration. Over half of the available 22 spaces (maximum) have been reserved, so make sure to download and review application by clicking below. 

The trip could span culinary classes focused on Mayan cuisine (could include learning about chocolate making) to a tour around Lake Atitlan of Guatemalan folk art, artists, and textiles including those that are organically dyed. A tour of restoration projects in Antigua will be planned with local icon and top-rated Trip Advisor guide Elizabeth Bell.

For more information or to apply, download on this page our Trip Overview and Application.

Please share freely with friends and relatives who may be interested in joining us and perhaps YOU on this exciting adventure in culture and service! 
Xela AID Top Rated by GreatNonProfits! 
GreatNonProfits, the leading site for donors and volunteers to find reviews and ratings of nonprofits, has for the second year running recognized Xela AID Partnerships for Self Reliance among their Top-Rated Nonprofits. Awards are based on reviews by participants in various categories, including the general public (trip participants, in Xela AID's case), the organization's Board of Directors and Donors.

"We are very honored to have been Top Rated again this year," said Leslie Baer Dinkel, Xela AID's executive director. "This has been made possible by our participants, based on us having met or exceeded their expectations last year. Most importantly, we are honored that our supporters thought it appropriate to rate us a five-star organization. We are proud of that."

To read reviews or add your own, click Xela AID on GreatNonProfits.
An Art Apprenticeship for Walter
Walter Sacarias Perez Lopez (pictured above) has been awarded a three-month artist apprenticeship with well-known Guatemalan artist Mariano Gonzalez Chavajay. The idea for the apprenticeship came to Sherry Robin, who was co-leading a Xela AID volunteer trip last year and participating in an art workshop with Mariano several other volunteers. It then came to fruition through the generous support U.S. plein air artist and Xela AID Volunteer Kevin MacPherson and his foundation, Art Ambassador For a Colorful WorldXela AID thanks Kevin for his generous support of Walter, a budding artist in his own right! 
Donate to Xela AID Partnerships for Self Reliance
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to
change the world." 

- Nelson Mandela
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"Climb for the Kids" Yields $11,000
Closing in on Goal

Xela AID thanks donors, climbers and invites additional donations through end of October
“We made it!” was the news from Xela AID’s adventurers who vowed to scale the slopes of Kilimanjaro to raise funds for Xela AID programs. A total of 13 climbers (for Xela AID and other causes, including the American Cancer Society, Rotary Club of Avalon, and San Diego Zoo Global’s initiative to save Rhinos) made it to the base camp at more than 15,500 feet, with 11 summiting.  

Xela AID climbers (and climbers for other causes who contributed to Xela AID) included Kathy Burt, Bonnie Dinkel, Leslie Baer Dinkel, Mel Dinkel, Cliff Hague and Amy Logan. “Thank you to the more than 60 people who have contributed so far to make our climb count,” said Leslie Baer Dinkel, executive director for Xela AID.  

While climbers agreed that a good time was most definitely had by all, the climb wasn’t without its difficult moments as one might expect since it was eight days, and more than 60 miles. “It was exciting and enjoyable and at the same time, it was definitely among the most challenging experiences of my life,” said Mel Dinkel, Xela AID treasurer and CFO. Mel counts Mt. Whitney on his “toughest” list. He, Cliff and Shelby scaled it last year (22 miles/16 hours) in preparation for Kilimanjaro.

The group who scaled Kilimanjaro hiked five to eight hours each day, and the last push, started at midnight in freezing temperatures. “Our water froze, as did our noses, feet, and fingers. Several of us ended up with mild cases of frostbite and blisters —now healing,” said Amy Logan, Xela AID program coordinator who summited. Amy made it to “Uhuru” (Freedom) Point, the second summit point at the top of a glacier, at 7:15 a.m. 

 “Our thanks to our supporters who have made our effort count through donations which will help our weavers support their families, help children get the screening they need to live longer, healthier lives, and more,” said Amy.

Climbers are closing in on their goal of $19,341—one dollar for every foot of Kilimanjaro's altitude, and will continue raising funds through the end of October.
Donate HERE
View our Facebook Album Xela AID Adventurers
Conquer Kilimanjaro 

Xela AID Hosts San Martín Sacatepequez'
Second Scholastic Olympics

Friday, September 26th marked the second Scholastic Olympics held in the San Martín Sacatepequez (SMS) school district hosted by Xela AID. The inaugural event was held last year, a collaboration between Xela AID and schools in SMS. 

This year's event was attended by 480 students from all 39 schools in SMS. Eighty students participated from each grade. 

Competitions ran throughout the day, resulting in 6 top math students and 6 top language students. Through further eliminations, three top students resulted in each category and received iPads sponsored by Xela AID. 

On the Board of Examiners for the event representing Xela AID were Sub-Director and Education Coordinator Lucrecia Gonzales, and Clean Environment Technician Elmer Mazariegos.

"The important thing about this event is that students are encouraged to compete and improve their level of study." says Luis Enrique de León, Xela AID Director in Guatemala who was instrumental in starting the Scholastic Olympics event. 

Luis says that the event has been helpful in assessing education levels in the local community, which are currently sub-par, and where Xela AID needs to focus. 

"The students are working very diligently, as are the teachers, but the students' level points out the significant work we need to do in teacher education so that we can get more students into professional programs," he said. 

In future Olympics, Luis says there may also be rewards for the best teachers, and for those who have presented winning proposals to "improve the level of scholarship in San Martín," he noted.

This year, Xela AID received a proposal from the SMS teachers association asking for additional training. Said Leslie Baer Dinkel, Xela AID executive director, "We are currently considering creating a capacity building center as a resource for students teachers." 

Potentially a 2016 project, the education center would make it possible for Xela AID to expand the scope of its educational offerings, which currently span preschool through college, adult literacy training and Leadership training. 

Special Thanks to New Sponsors! 

We are thrilled to announce the latest Xela AID "Angels."
  • Jennifer and Wanda Cote and family: (above, right) for their sponsorship of Silvia Catalina Lopez Perez
  • Lauren Kent for her sponsorship of Myrna Lorena Coyoy Perez
  • Nancy and Steve Rikalo Kent for their sponsorship of Kimberly Elizabeth Coyoy Perez
  • Jill and John Onken Douglass for their sponsorship of Ingrid Magralia Argueta Lopez
  • Michael Maddux for his sponsorship of Juana Elena Guzman Vasquez
  • Franklin Long for his sponsorship of Wendy Soledad Vasquez Vasquez 
  • Martha Saatjian for her sponsorship of Betsabe Elizabeth Uz Barilla 
  • Sherry Robin for her sponsorship of Julio Ramon Alonzo Lopez
  • Dick Tlish for his sponsorship of Rosalinda Marisela Mendoza Mendez
  • Lasaro Coreas for his sponsorship of Ottoniel Abisai Lopez Garcia
  • Linda Chesterfield for her sponsorship of Erwin Abraham Perez Vasquez
  • Kathy Burt for her sponsorship of Amira Fernanda Ixcoy Vasquez
  • James and Lynne Burt for their sponsorship of Wilmer Misael Ixcoy Vasquez
  • Leon Kaplan for his sponsorship of Mirza Marily de Leon Perez
Thank you for your ongoing support. We'd love for you to volunteer with us next year and share your knowledge and skills with those in great need. See the link to our March trip in the story in the left-hand column. June and August trips will also be announced this month.

Sincerely yours,

Leslie Baer Dinkel
Executive Director, Xela AID
Our mailing address is:
Local Hope - Guatemala's Xela AID Partnerships For Self Reliance
16585 Pacific Coast Hwy #1194
Sunset Beach, CA 90742

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