News

Board Members Visit Rural Communities

Members of the Child Aid board climb into the back of a pickup truck for the last leg of their journey to visit schools in the community of Pacanal.

By: John Kin, Child Aid Board Member

Judging by the looks of surprise we got along the way, it’s probably not every day that a couple of pickup trucks filled with Americans comes bumping along through the back roads of Guatemala.

I was traveling with a group of Child Aid board members and supporters to visit four K’iche-speaking communities in a coffee growing region south of Lake Atitlán. The trip was part of our annual board retreat and an opportunity for us to visit and interact with some of the students, teachers and community members who benefit from Child Aid’s programs. We also spent time with the staff who work on the front lines of our literacy program.

To get where we needed to go, we had to use trucks. A washed out road had forced us to take a rough, alternate route that was far too treacherous for our bus. The dusty and bumpy trip was the first of many eye-opening experiences, as we realized the logistical challenges of working in remote areas.

As a board member and long-time Child Aid supporter, I had visited some of these same communities on my last trip to Guatemala two years ago. After hearing about the growth and development of the Reading for Life program since my last visit, I was eager to see for myself how things had changed.

The group talks with a teacher in the town of Pacanal to learn more about his classroom and how he works with students.

Our first stop was the small village of Pacanal. This school had just recently joined the program and had not yet received any books or teacher training from Child Aid. John Van Keppel, the Guatemala National Director, wanted us to see what typical rural classrooms are like before taking to those we’ve worked in for a year to more. “It was important to me that the group gets to see a school that hasn’t had any support,” John told me later, “because this is what the majority of schools in Guatemala are like.”

At Pacanal we met with a teacher who told us about his daily routine and showed us the handful of math and reading books he had for his many students. I was particularly struck by the stack of cards he had made out of paper to teach the sounds of letters. The teacher was obviously doing his best but had few resources to work with.

In visiting other schools we observed several teachers using materials they received and techniques they learned in Child Aid trainings. You could see a real difference in the confidence level of the teachers and their engagement and interaction with the students. A classroom in Las Canoas, with a teacher now in her third year of trainings, was filled with the joyful sound of students working together in small groups, eagerly drawing pictures, playing word games and reading a book aloud with their teacher.

Some boys from the village of Xojolá.

Another exciting stop for me was the town of Xojolá, where we visited a bright new community library that Child Aid helped build last year. The first time I visited here, the library was operating out of a small converted building that barely had enough room to hold the books. The new space featured wide open spaces for kids to work, read and interact. The whole town gathered to show off the library to our group and honored us with a traditional Guatemalan meal prepared by the community and served at a long table in the middle of the library.

It was a pleasure for me to reconnect and spend time with the Guatemalan staff who work in the villages every day. It’s their dedication and enthusiasm that is at heart of the success of the programs.

“The staff was excited to meet the board members and share what they have learned and done,” said Child Aid’s Guatemala Operations Coordinator Maritza López. “They are proud of the work they are doing with Child Aid and feel they are doing something positive for Guatemala.”

Click here to see the Slideshow.

Categories: News, Supporters In Action
03/27/2013 10:37 AM
Supporters In Action

Birthday Helps Hundreds in Guatemalan Village

Brenda Hunsberger (third from left) and Patti Boote (second from right) with Child Aid staff in Santa Lucía Utatlán, Guatemala.

When Brenda Hunsberger turned 50 earlier this year, she skipped the presents and decided to use the occasion to make a difference. After reading about our educational work with indigenous children, she contacted Child Aid and set out to raise enough money to support our Reading for Life program in the village of Santa Lucía Utatlán, Guatemala. Over the course of a year, Brenda and her partner, Patti Boote, raised over $9,800 for the community, all through modest donations from friends, colleagues and family.

Last month, Brenda and Patti traveled with us to Guatemala to see the fruits of their effort firsthand. They visited Child Aid partner villages, observed our field staff in action and journeyed by “chicken bus” out to Santa Lucía, where they spent four days volunteering in the village library they supported.

“The most special part,” Brenda told us, “was the day we were invited to the principal’s father’s home for lunch. They made this big lunch for a dozen of us. No one spoke English and we hardly speak Spanish, but we had an absolutely wonderful time.”

When we asked them about Reading for Life, Patti replied that “Child Aid’s work was much more than we ever thought it was going to be. This is so much more than building a library – it’s about supporting a whole community.”

Categories: Supporters In Action
10/30/2012 10:14 AM | 0 Comments
Supporters In Action

Wrap Up: The Portland Color Run

Child Aid volunteer, Heather Nicolaides, helped throw color at runners in the Yellow Zone.

Saturday’s Color Run in Portland, Oregon, was a big success! Over 15,000 people, including nearly 100 Child Aid volunteers (Thank you, volunteers!), turned out for the event. Participants young and old ran 5K and got blanketed in brightly colored powder at each of the five Color Zones that were located along the course. A portion of the event’s proceeds were donated to Child Aid by The Color Run. (Thank you, Color Run!) We also had the opportunity to get the word out about Child Aid’s literacy work to thousands of people in Portland, home of Child Aid’s head office. What a weekend. Our thanks go out to everyone who ran, volunteered or otherwise helped make it possible.

For more pictures of the Portland Color Run, visit our the Child Aid photo gallery.

Color Runners give thumbs up for Child Aid.

Child Aid Executive Director, Sam Hendricks, talks to Color Runners about Child Aid’s literacy work in Guatemala.

Smile, it’s the 2012 Portland Color Run!

Categories: Supporters In Action
10/2/2012 1:45 PM | 0 Comments
News

‘Like Us’ for Literacy on Facebook!

A generous Child Aid donor has pledged $5 for every new Like we get on Facebook between now and October 1 – up to $10,000!  All you have to do is go to Child Aid’s Facebook page and click the “Like” button. It’s that easy.

Our community is our greatest resource. The more people that know us, talk about us and share us with friends, the more children we can help learn to read in Guatemala. This $10,000 pledge is a unique opportunity, and we need your help to make it happen.

And please tell your friends! Just post the following to your Facebook timeline:

Help me raise $10,000 for children in Guatemala just by liking Child Aid’s Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/childaidliteracy.

Categories: News, Supporters In Action
08/1/2012 8:36 PM | 0 Comments
Supporters In Action

Girl’s Bat Mitzvah Project Supports Godinez

Thank you Zivi Spectre! Zivi, who lives in Portland, Oregon, just turned 13. For her Bat Mitzvah project, she raised $1,550 to support Child Aid’s literacy work in the village of Godínez, Guatemala. The event made for a beautiful evening. A Guatemalan family made delicious vegetarian tamales, Zivi gave a smashing presentation, a Child Aid staff member presented a slideshow about our literacy work in Guatemala, and a young Guatemalan woman gave an moving speech about going to school as a child in Guatemala. Plus, Tienda Santa Cruz, in Portland, generously donated a giant tres leches cake that served over 80 people! You couldn’t have asked for a lovelier event.

Zivi (left) and her mother, Lesley (right), with friends from Guatemala.

All of us at Child Aid would like to express our sincerest thanks to Zivi for this tremendous show of support. The money you raised will help us bring more children’s books to Godinez, continue our literacy training for the village’s seven teachers and support the reading programs that are underway now. Thank you, Zivi!

Homemade tamales and a packed house.

Categories: Supporters In Action
07/16/2012 3:57 PM | 0 Comments
News

2012 Portland Color Run – Volunteer with Us!

Photo courtesy of The Color Run.

You may have heard: Child Aid is the official charity for The 2012 Portland Color Run, “the happiest 5K on the planet”… And we need volunteers!

A portion of The Color Run profits will go to Child Aid, so your help as a volunteer is extremely valuable to us. Come get colorful – we can’t pull this off without you!

2012 Dates and Details:

September 27 & 28
We need volunteers to hand out race packets at appointed sites in Portland. Morning or afternoon shifts are only four hours.

September 29
Volunteers on event day will perform a variety of colorful – and we mean colorful – tasks, including color throwing, merchandise sales, parking, refreshment stations, starting line crew and more. Prepare to get messy!

If you’d like to join the volunteer team for The Portland Color Run, please email us at volunteer@child-aid.org or give us a call at 503-223-3008.

Thank you for your support!

Categories: News, Supporters In Action
07/6/2012 2:44 PM | 1 Comments
Supporters In Action

Register Now for “Travel with Child Aid”

Child Aid volunteer, Katherine Hinds, helps in the kitchen after a long day's work in Chimaltenango, Guatemala.

Our first annual Travel with Child Aid trip happens August 5, 2012, and there’s only one month left to register. We’d love to have you join us. The registration deadline is June 5, 2012.

Designed for those who have made, or are considering making, a significant financial contribution to our literacy program, Travel with Child Aid gives key supporters a week in Guatemala to get to know us in depth. Participants will travel with Child Aid staff to some of our partner communities, where they will see firsthand how our program works. Most importantly, members of the group will be able to directly experience the difference their investment makes in children’s lives. A light volunteer project in a school or library will also give participants the chance to work alongside children and families – those who know best the value literacy brings to their communities.

We hope this trip will inspire our most committed supporters to continue their involvement, while giving new donors insight into Reading for Life, a program they will come to know intimately.

Our in-country sample itinerary includes:

  • Orientation breakfast and walk-through of Antigua.
  • Visit to Child Aid’s Book Center and a reception with literacy staff.
  • Guided visits to rural villages in the Central Highlands region.
  • Demonstrations of our literacy work in remote schools and libraries.
  • Home visits with local families.
  • A volunteer activity to benefit a school or library.
  • Cultural activities like markets and coffee farms.

How to Participate:

To participate, download our Program Application form and, by June 5, 2012, send it by mail to Child Aid, 917 SW Oak St, Suite 208, Portland, OR 97025, or by email to travel@child-aid.org.

Categories: Supporters In Action
05/9/2012 7:10 PM | 0 Comments
Supporters In Action

Washington State 4th Graders Read for Change

Students reading for their Child Aid Read-a-thon

Read-a-thon participants turning pages to support Child Aid’s work in Guatemala.

When fourth-grade teacher Nancy Danforth told us her students were reading to raise money for Child Aid, we were thrilled. But we had no idea her and fellow teacher Cynthia Scruggs’ students would plow through enough books to raise over $3,200.

In April, fourth-grade students at St. Louise School, in Bellevue, Washington, embarked on a 30-day read-a-thon to support Child Aid’s literacy work in Guatemala.

First, the students gathered pledges from parents and friends, who promised to contribute a small amount for every page the children read. Then the students hit the books. They read at home, on their free time and during several “read-ins” that the teachers organized at school.

By the end of the month, the students had read nearly 30,000 pages in all, raising enough money to bring reading programs to more than 60 children in Guatemala for an entire year. Without a doubt, the efforts of St. Louise’s page-turning fourth-graders will be felt thousands of miles away, by children who face tremendous challenges when it comes to learning to read.

We want to send our sincerest thanks to all the fourth-graders at St. Louise for their energy, commitment and hard work. The effort they put into this will make a real difference for children in Guatemala. Our gratitude also goes out to Mrs. Danforth and Mrs. Scruggs for making it happen; to St. Louise’s principal, Dan Fitzpatrick; and to all the parents and friends who sponsored these young readers. Thank you for your support!

If you are interested in holding a read-a-thon at your school, please email us at readathon@child-aid.org, or call 503-223-3008.

Categories: Supporters In Action
05/7/2012 9:25 PM | 0 Comments
News

Child Aid Launches Travel Program

Child Aid supporter in Guatemala

Child Aid supporter, Dick Saulsbury, visits with local Guatemalan children in Chimaltenango..

We are very excited to announce our first annual Travel with Child Aid trip, which will happen this August. Designed for those who have made, or are considering making, a significant financial contribution to our literacy program, Travel with Child Aid gives key supporters a week in Guatemala to get to know us in depth. Participants will travel with Child Aid staff to some of our partner communities, where they will see firsthand how our program works. Most importantly, members of the group will be able to directly experience the difference their investment makes in children’s lives. A light volunteer project in a school or library will also give participants the chance to work alongside children and families – those who know best the value literacy brings to their communities.

We hope this trip will inspire our most committed supporters to continue their involvement, while giving new donors insight into Reading for Life, a program they will come to know intimately.

Our in-country sample itinerary includes:

  • Orientation breakfast and walk-through of Antigua.
  • Visit to Child Aid’s Book Center and a reception with literacy staff.
  • Guided visits to rural villages in the Central Highlands region.
  • Demonstrations of our literacy work in remote schools and libraries.
  • Home visits with local families.
  • A volunteer activity to benefit a school or library.
  • Cultural activities like markets and coffee farms.

How to Participate:

To participate, download our Program Application form and send it by mail to Child Aid, 917 SW Oak St, Suite 208, Portland, OR 97025, or by email to travel@child-aid.org.

Categories: News, Supporters In Action
05/5/2012 11:47 PM | 0 Comments
News

Child Aid: Official Charity of The 2012 Portland Color Run

The Color RunGreat news! Child Aid is the official charity for The 2012 Portland Color Run, “the happiest 5K on the planet”. A portion of profits from The Portland Color Run will go to Child Aid and our Reading for Life program.

If you haven’t heard of The Color Run, picture something between the Holi Festival of Colors in India and a 5K run in the U.S.

Still can’t imagine it? Watch the video here.

The Color Run has been selling out FAST, so get your tickets soon.

Date: September 29, 2012

Register: www.thecolorrun.com/portland/

Volunteer: Help us spread the color! If you’d like to join the volunteer team for The Portland Color Run, please email us at volunteer@child-aid.org. It will be a lot of fun.

Our heartfelt thanks goes to everyone at The Color Run for this exciting opportunity!

Categories: News, Supporters In Action
04/19/2012 6:04 AM | 0 Comments