23 Oct
  • By Theresa DeSouza
  • Cause in

Thank You, English Program Supporters!

Greetings from Guatemala City!

The 2014 UPAVIM school year is coming to an end! After the exhausting and exhilarating ups and downs of life in Guatemala City, we are wrapping up the school year, including the second year of the afternoon English Program at the UPAVIM School. Thank you so much for your support and donations. Your generosity has enabled us to provide an additional 20 hours of class per week. Our school year here in the community of La Esperanza has been full of ups and downs, joys and sorrows.

We started preparing and fundraising in November and December of 2013, then kicked off the year in full speed in January. Students were excited to start the year with their new school supplies and uniforms. We also welcomed a group of new volunteers to UPAVIM to add to the excitement.

February was a more difficult month, as the new school principal decided life in La Esperanza, was not what was best for her and her family. Thankfully, Pahola Chumil, one of our teachers, and also the daughter of one of the founders of UPAVIM, stepped up and took over the Principal position. Pahola has done an amazing job as Principal and we have seen so many improvements and growth under her direction. March was a fun month with many beach trips with the teachers and families of UPAVIM. We also had lots of visits from volunteer family members and past volunteers who came to help out in the school.

April was mellow with a week off for Semana Santa and a weeklong visit from a college group from Vermont. In May, we welcomed new teachers to our school and our excited students were able to add more hours of English class to their daily schedules. La Esperanza also began to see an increase in violence. June was a heartbreaking month for the whole community, as shootings became a regular occurrence. Victims included sons, fathers, nephews, brothers, uncles and cousins of numerous families in La Esperanza.

July was a month of grief and recovery with trips to the cemetery and an abundance of flowers. In August we witnessed more incidents but we also began the celebrations for Guatemalan Independence Day. September is the month of patriotism here in Guatemala with Independence Day activities occurring at the beginning of the month and continuing until the actual Independence Day on September 15th. The students of UPAVIM participated in dance competitions, plays, parades, gymnastics routines, and folklorico routines. Every corner of the country was decorated in blue and white.

October is the last month of school, which will consist of reviews and final exams. November and December will be times for reflection and preparation for the upcoming 2015 school year. Our students have learned so much this year and we are really excited to continue and improve their education for next year.

With the violence steadily increasing in all of Guatemala, it is becoming even more important to keep our children in the classroom for a full day, and off the streets of their tumultuous community. From everyone at UPAVIM, we want to send out a heartfelt thank you for your contribution to our 2014 school year.

Your donations allowed extra hours of English Language Learning. The additional classroom time would not have been possible without you. We are grateful and proud that you are a part of our quest to be Unidas Para Vivir Mejor (United for a Better Life). You have impacted the lives of so many children and families this year. As we move into this holiday season, we hope you will continue to partner with us as we prepare for the upcoming school year.

Please watch this special Thank You video brought to you by some of our very own UPAVIM scholars!

Wishing you the best,

With peace and love from La Esperanza.