MAYAN FAMILIES

Candace, her daughter, Mark & Chris Lee and Debbie Bushnell will travel to Guatemala on February 29th and return March 5th. 
Tierra Linda (appropriately translated as ‘Beautiful Land’) is a small village in the mountains of Guatemala.  The indigenous students’ native language is Katchiquel, but their schools are taught in Spanish.  This presents a significant challenge in an impoverished area.
I have had the blessing to work with a wonderful  group called Mayan Families, a fantastic 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in rural Guatemala.   This is unlike any other organization.  In 2009 I had the privilege to visit and witness firsthand how 100% of my donations went directly to the family we sponsored.  I witness the joy on their faces, the excitement in the children’s eyes and the hope of a better future.  It was an experience that left me humbled, thankful and desperate to share their stories. 
In the past years, through generous fund raising efforts of supporters of Mayan Families, in addition to their elementary school, Tierra Linda now has a preschool, a middle school and a small library open for community use.  Unfortunately education is not free in Guatemala.  Often time’s parents are forced to choose between sending their children to school and feeding their families.  They simply cannot do both and survive.  Guatemala has one of the highest illiteracy and lowest school enrollment rates in Latin America. This is primarily due to the high cost of attending school which prevents many indigenous families from receiving an education.
This is where we can help.  Education is key in breaking the cycle of poverty and can create a better future for the children and their families.  Fronteras, students from both  Colony and Wasilla High School, Wasilla Sunrise Rotary and other community members are collecting items to take down to distribute in Guatemala in February 2016.  We are requesting the following donations:
-Books in Spanish
-School supplies
- And of course, monetary donations toward sponsorship of students* at Tierra Linda
* To sponsor a student the cost of one full year is $360.    Tierra Linda has 12 students that need sponsorship.  Student sponsorship covers the cost of enrollment fees, requisite school materials, supplies and uniforms, regular monitoring of school work and progress by a Mayan Families Social Worker, and provides students with access to the Charlie Gomez Medical Clinic as well as general educational support as needed.
To learn more, please go to Mayanfamilies.org or contact Candace Cieslo at Candace.cieslo@yahoo.com.  If you are interested in traveling to Guatemala with our group, we would be happy to give you more information. This is a great opportunity to meet the students you sponsor!
Thank you so much for your help and consideration.
Sincerely,    
 
Candace Cieslo
Wasilla Sunrise Rotary  Member
907-795-3449