Students in Lindsay Grace’s 5/6 split class at G. C. Huston Public School in Southampton are learning life lessons through helping others.
The students have been holding events to raise funds for the Developing Scholars program in Guatemala, to support improved educational opportunities for students and children, and help fund non-profit schools.
They recently raised $700 selling lemonade and, when combined with other activities, were able to present a cheque for $1,500 to John Eby, Director of the program, on Monday, June 24th. Eby has said that he will match the dollar amount raised.
Developing Scholars is a Canadian registered charity created in 2007 to provide opportunities for Guatemalan children living in disadvantaged areas of the country. The charity has been effective in increasing educational opportunities in these areas of Guatemala so that indigenous boys and girls living in poverty can attend school, receive quality instruction, and obtain the skills they need to improve their lives.
The program works with community leaders to identify and support projects that have a high degree of community support and involvement.
The largest program provides scholarships each year to over 30 carefully selected high school and university students in the rural provinces of Altaverapas and Quiche in the Guatemalan highlands.
The scholars receive a small monthly advance to cover basic expenses such as transportation and school supplies. Students, and their parents, agree to a set of challenging expectations including attendance, academic standards, and attendance at workshops that support both the students and their families. Students are carefully monitored and receive counselling when required.
Many of the students are the first in their families to attend high school and some of their parents do not know how to read or write. The scholarship program is run by local Guatemalans and it has enjoyed a success rate of over 90%. Some of the students have gone on to study at the university level as teachers, agronomists and other fields with many of them returning to support their communities.
Eby showed a video to the G. C. Huston Class of the Debate Club in Antiqua, Guatemala. Sixteen people were selected to take part, learning research skills and how to present their argument. “This is not something that comes natural to them,” explained Eby. “They do not speak in front of an audience and, often, the topics can be controversial, such as euthanasia. They learn how not to present their feelings but how to speak to the topic.” The Debate program is led by a local lawyer and her colleagues who volunteer their time.
Eby added that the funds donated by the students will mean that transportation costs and prizes will be met for the next school year. The prizes this year were laptop computers for the two winners and two finalists.
For more information on the Developing Scholars program or to donate to the not-for-profit program that works directly with the Guatemalan students and their families, visit: