The July NFE team spent two days with our Nicolás Christian School students, praying for and encouraging them. Our trips help us to really get to know these students through personal conversations. The students love to perform for teams and have prepared dramas using mime actors. Students also lead us in worship with songs and have recently added instruments such as guitars, keyboard, a trumpet and percussion. The July team was planning to put on the third annual all-day Teacher Professional Development Workshop for local Ixil teachers. This year we’re thrilled to have 80 Ixil teachers attending from a variety of villages! Nicolás Christian School has its own internet capacity, and one of the presenters at the workshop was a Spanish-speaking Seattle Pacific University professor who did a Livestream presentation on the topic of special needs students. The teachers received a certificate from SPU at the end of the day. One of the other real benefits of these workshops is for teachers to network with each other, to promote sharing of resources and information as well as supporting each other in the pursuit of educational excellence. The July team spent time meeting with parents and teachers in La Bendición, La Esperanza and Belén to answer their questions and obtain feedback. The team also spent time with primary school students in these villages. Be on the lookout for the date of the July Team Trip Report for details about how these plans unfolded!
Thank you to our donors who are helping Ixil youth to realize their educational dreams! This month, we would like to walk you through how each dollar you donate is spent. For each dollar that you donate: Nicolas Fund for Education is definitely a “no frills” operation. Our National Director, Ivan España, administers our NFE programs in Guatemala. Our “US Administrative expenses” include our virtual assistant, donor management software, Constant Contact, website, insurance, office supplies and marketing tools such as posters and mailings. We have one part-time “virtual assistant” who is an independent contractor to help coordinate NFE Board activities and assist with communications. The costs associated with our virtual assistant contractor are covered by a private donor, and we are very grateful for this help. We have no NFE employees in the United States. The “Distance Learning Program” refers to Juanita’s and VH1 programs through Instituto Superior de Educación a Distancia. ISEA meets Guatemalan Ministry of Education criteria and standards. The village tutoring program, however, was created by NFE specifically to better prepare students before they begin 7th grade. Our fundraising costs are far, far below the average for a nonprofit because of our faithful donors and volunteers. This allows our fundraising to be highly efficient so that the least amount of money can be spent to receive a donation. Typically, nonprofits spend about 25-30% of funds raised on the fundraising process itself, according to Charity Navigator. NFE spends only 2%, thanks to our dedicated team of volunteers who bake, set up and take down our event and the hospitality of both Evergreen Covenant Church and Bellevue Presbyterian for our fundraiser. Our volunteers really help us devote every …
Take the opportunity to spend a week with God participating in His work in the Ixil region of Guatemala to lift these students up from poverty through education. Your prayers and encouragement are a vital part of their success story! Our July Impact Team will be meeting soon to plan trip activities! It is not too late to sign up, but time is running out! This Impact Team will get to visit the new computer and science labs, spend time with our Nicolás Christian School students and participate in a Teacher Professional Development Workshop for local teachers. This popular workshop involves both Guatemalan and US teachers sharing information with a mutual goal to improve teaching skills, build networking and stimulate creativity. Time will be spent in the villages of La Bendición and La Esperanza, as well. Trip dates are July 22-August 1. Average cost is $1800-2000 paid over three installments. To sign up, you can now find our Trip Application and Criminal Background Check forms on our NFE website! Simply print these documents off, fill them out and mail them with your $100 deposit to NFE, 9311 SE 36th Street, #202, Mercer Island, WA 98040. Your deposit check should be made out to “Nicolás Fund for Education” and in the memo line write “July 2016 trip”. Do not put your name on the memo line or it won’t be tax-deductible. Put your name on a Post-It on the check, and don’t forget to include your application and National Criminal Background Check form. If this trip doesn’t work for your schedule, the dates for the November graduation trip will be November 10-18 and the February trip dates are February 17-27, …
Pedro David is the son of pea and fruit tree farmers. He has older twin brothers, Gaspar and Juan, and two younger brothers, Eduardo and Angel Gabriel. Pedro David’s mother has had to stop weaving due to eye problems. In 2006 Pedro David’s parents expressed the dream that their children would, “one day be able to attend and graduate from high school.” Pedro David is just about to fulfill their dream this November when he graduates from 11th grade, thanks to your donations! Pedro David recently volunteered to preach the word of God during student-led worship at Nicolás Christian School, and reportedly did a fantastic job! He is also making progress in both academics and in his spiritual growth, according to NFE Program Director Ivan España. Pedro David was the “Top Student” at Nicolás Christian School last month! Pedro David recently told us, “Before I began attending Nicolás Christian School, I was worried because I was not studying. Now that I have a scholarship to attend Nicolás Christian School, my life is happy and changing many things, and getting better every day. If I were not in school, my life would be different. I would maybe be doing other activities that do not benefit me personally. Please pray for me to do my activities better than before, to get good grades and to not go through bad times.” Pedro David’s mother requests prayer for employment opportunities for Pedro David after graduation in November.
Paul Selvig, February 2016 team member, and his son Josiah shared about their experience as team members. Paul, a multi-trip veteran, described how rewarding it was to introduce his son to his friends in the Ixil that he has made over many years. He strongly encouraged families to consider taking a trip together.
NFE Board member, Kathy Riper, provided a status update on developments at Nicolás Christian School, aided by two videos that featured our new computer and science laboratories. Professor Braulio Mateo Bach Cabrera gave an excellent introduction of all the changes the school has experienced since opening in January 2016. On behalf of the parents of NCS students and NCS staff, Prof. Braulio expressed gratitude to the donors who have made all of this happen!
Petronila Elizabeth Ramos, our keynote speaker, left theFulfilling A Dream Desert Event audience spellbound, many in tears, as she shared her life-journey from a fatherless girl in the jungles of Guatemala to a University Graduate and teacher. Petronila related how her father’s abandonment of her as a child has reverberated pain throughout her life. She recounted losing her brother to the Guatemalan 36-year civil war and her fear of losing her mother, her only parent. She described her family’s poverty, and how they came to be included in the Agros village of La Esperanza. Petronila explained how a near-fatal knife attack perpetrated by two village members on her mother and her devastated their family and continues to haunt Petronila. Despite these significant challenges, Petronila has survived and gone on to academic excellence with NFE’s help. We will soon be sharing more of Petronila’s courageous story on our blog.
Thanks to all who attended our 2016 Fulfilling a Dream Dessert Event! It was a wonderful night that we won’t soon forget! There was a palpable feeling of love and good will in the room between people who share a mutual interest and affection for our friends in the Ixil. We are especially grateful for all who donated so generously to the Nicolas Fund for Education at our event. Thank You. We are still counting the contributions that are coming in, but we can report we have received a generous increase over last year’s event totaling over $130,000. This is about 65% of the ongoing expense of running our program. Thank you on behalf of the 68 students who are in our program or have graduated.