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Guatemala Update: February 2015
Congratulations to Xela AID's Work Study Scholarship Program Graduate:
 
Sandra Catarina Vasquez Guzman
Thanks to sponsor June Russel-Glennon, Sandra has officially completed her studies in Xela AID's Work Study Scholarship Program (WSS) and is now on her way to becoming an accountant. Sandra says that without the help of June, she would not have been able to receive her diploma and pursue the career of her dreams. Sandra is looking forward to using her diploma to support her newborn baby and someday even continue her studies.

Special thanks to ALL of our Xela AID sponsors for making it possible for young people like Sandra to pursue their dreams! 


If you'd like to make a difference in the life of a student like Sandra, visit our Waiting List or contact amy@xelaaid.org for more information.
 

New EKG Machine to be Installed in Xela AID's Clinic

A HUGE thank you to Xela AID Board Member and Cardiologist Dr. Steve Kent, for making possible the donation of an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine to Xela AID's June Russel-Glennon Clinic.

An EKG will allow our doctors to offer a screening program in which heart problems can be detected early on. In Guatemala, where children are often born at home, parents have no way of knowing that their child was born with any sort of heart defects.

"With a yearly screening program, we can implement needed treatments early and make it possible for children, who otherwise would have died young, to live longer, healthier lives," said Dr. Kent.

The EKG will be paired with free screenings Xela AID will make available during 2015.
"If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life." 
 
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Xela AID Welcomes New 
"Leaders of the Future" Students 

In January, Xela AID's second class of "Leaders of the Future" were accepted into the program. The 25 new students will participate in a two-year formal program that will include training in a broad swath of categories spanning hygiene, health education, infectious disease prevention, sustainable agricultural practices, small business development, and much more to assist in making the community a better place. Another concentration will be ethics, public speaking, and building other leadership skills that will position these young people to become future leaders in their communities.

In their orientation, the newest participants were given an introduction to Xela AID, the Leaders of the Future Program, and the curriculum for their two-year involvement. Elmer Gomez Avilio Mazariegos (pictured above), the Coordinator of the Program, explained to the new recruits the responsibilities of undertaking the program, along with the outcomes they can expect to fuel their growth.

Lucky González, Xela AID's Assistant Director in Guatemala, described, "All of the students were eager to begin and are excited for what's to come. I can't wait to see what this group is able to accomplish."

Artist Walter Perez is Thriving Thanks to the Apprenticeship Made Possible by Xela AID

After a three-month apprenticeship with well-known Guatemalan artist Mariano Gonzales Chavajay, Walter Perez has truly blown us away with his most recent work and how much progress he made during his three months with Mariano.

The apprenticeship was made possible by the generous support of U.S.-based plein air artist and Xela AID Volunteer Kevin MacPherson and his foundation,
Art Ambassador for a Colorful World.

"We are amazed at the talent that Walter has, and are very thankful to Kevin and his foundation for their generous support of Walter and his dream of becoming an artist," said Leslie Baer Dinkel, Xela AID's executive director.

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 and several other volunteers. She believed that with the help of an apprentice, he could transform this incredible talent into a future career - and she was right! Thanks to Sherry and Pat Maxwell, Xela AID Education Program liaison, for making the apprenticeship happen! 

To see more of his beautiful work, check out our
Artist Walter Perez album on Facebook and make sure to LIKE Xela AID on Facebook to stay updated on his most recent pieces. 

Juana's Taco Cart is in Operation Thanks to Xela AID's Microloan Program

Juana Gomez Perez is the teacher in Xela AID's Study Center, working with up to 30 young students each day who need extra support to stay in school. She is bilingual, speaking both Spanish and the local Mám language. Juana began in Xela AID's Work-Study Scholarship program in grade school, and is a shining example of that program's success! (Juana at left with daughter and Xela AID Volunteer Rick Hague, 2014).

However, Juana is only able to work with the students for a maximum of three hours each day in the afternoons, after they leave school. While she is being paid fairly, she has two children to support and was having trouble making ends meet.

Juana believed there was a need for a "taco cart" in the area and asked if Xela AID could make her a microloan so she could run the cart and supplement her teaching income.

Thanks to our microloan fund which is supported by Xela AID Board Chair Sue Rikalo and the Arthur B. Schultz Foundation, Xela AID was able to respond positively and immediately to her request, loaning $1,000. 

Today, after just a few months, Juana's taco cart microbusiness is earning enough so that she can pay back about $50 each month. If a loan making it possible for Juana to supplement her part-time work with Xela AID had not been available, she might have had to seek employment elsewhere. She could have been lost as a wonderful asset for the 30+ children of the village that would not be in school now if it weren't for Juana! With the assistance of Xela AID, she is feeding and clothing her children AND has remained in the community. We thank our supporters for the important role they played in this success story!
Watch for more Xela AID updates soon, and thank you for your interest and your support.
Our mailing address is:
Xela AID Partnerships For Self Reliance
65 Pine Ave. #404
Long Beach, CA 90802

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