One of the best predictors of success in life is education. It’s true in the United States; it’s true pretty much everywhere around the world. That’s why for the past fifteen years members of The Good Shepherd UCC in Sahuarita, Arizona have been investing in the education of young people in Guatemala.
In Guatemala, only about two children in ten complete the sixth grade. And only one in ten finishes the equivalent of high school. That translates to pervasive poverty throughout the country. The problem is compounded by the fact that education is free in Guatemala only through the sixth grade. After that, the family has to pay.
Higher education rates, on the other hand, translate to economic and social stability. High school graduates enjoy a wide range of job opportunities that provide economic security for graduates and their families. Higher paying jobs and economic stability also reduce the likelihood of northern immigration.
The good news is that education is very inexpensive in Guatemala, compared to the United States. Annual tuition for a secondary school student averages about $400 a year. That’s one of the things that motivated folks at The Good Shepherd to get involved. “I love the fact that for only $400 I can make a significant difference in the life of a young person,” says Anna Dethmers, one of the scholarship providers, “and ultimately in the life of their family. Talk about great ‘bang for your buck!’ Where can you do better than that!?”
Another great advantage is that Probigua Language School, which coordinates the scholarship program, absorbs the administrative and overhead costs. “It’s wonderful that every single penny I give goes directly to the scholarship,” adds Lynn Nowakowski, another contributor. “How often do you find a cause with that kind of return?”
For over 15 years, The Good Shepherd has contributed over $60,000 to the scholarship program, making it possible for 150 young people to continue their education. Now they’d like to enlarge the tent. “We think there are other individuals and churches in the Southwest Conference who’d love to join us in this exciting venture,” says Randy Mayer, Senior Pastor at The Good Shepherd. “It’s an opportunity too good to ignore!”
If you’d like more information or would like someone to talk about the program with you or your group, please contact David Dethmers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 520-528-0855.