THE SPIRIT PLEDGE TO SPONSORS:
All of the scholarship money goes to the girls.
There are no USA overheads, other than the annual service cost of this website. In Guatemala, we pay our housemother/cook/guard and the on site English teacher.
PURPOSE & FUNDING
Each girl must have a sponsor to be accepted into the program. Sponsors pay for the basic costs of school fees, housemother’s wages, English teacher’s wages, utilities and maintenance, internet, books, school supplies, uniforms (3), necessary medical costs, transportation and an increasing percentage of the girl’s food (for many 100%).
Fundraising at the two Fountain Hills fairs and online sales provide dental supplies for our dental volunteer, computer replacements, English program books, equipment and supplies and a myriad of other expenses.
Interested supporters and donors provide discretionary funds.
One donor is paying a hefty monthly donation to the building fund.
People who shop at Amazon have designated Spirit as their charity of choice.
So, this is an effort from many people to make a difference in girl’s lives. ALL MONEY from these various resources goes 100% to benefit the girls. We do not have a corporate office or corporate salaries. The downside is that donors must accept we do not have a staff or funding for promotion and frequent mailings. Our focus is on providing excellent opportunities for as little as possible.
We are dealing with 15 year old girls from tiny rural villages or impoverished neighborhoods in a more urban environment. These girls come from families with few dreams, little experience in the wider world and fewer economic resources. Their role models are family or neighbors with too many children living in abject poverty. What we hope for, is that they somehow have experienced some resource that opens the door to the dream of a professional future. Those that do have a dream of being a professional, usually don’t know what that really means. It just means better…
Some of our girls come from obscure highland villages where they live in houses where their Mayan dialect is spoken in the home, often mothers not speaking even Spanish. They attend school where classes are taught in their dialect and Spanish is introduced. They may speak some Spanish with their fathers who have learned by necessity. English is their third language, while still learning Spanish. This is an enormous demand on young girls.
They can not go home due to distance and costs of transportation. Dora provides a loving environment, and the house facilities are a luxury hotel compared to home, but it is not home, mom, dad and siblings. Some can not adjust.
Fifteen year old girls, world around, can easily get caught up in the girlfriend-boyfriend mentality. All my girlfriends have a boyfriend, so I should have one to be validated. This is powerful! To try to combat this, we are very clear from the beginning that this is not tolerated, because being a professional, coming from a village is a hard road to overcome. It needs all their attention and effort, not boyfriends. Also boyfriends often mean babies which will end their dream. For most of our students, they make the commitment, but not all.
We have always had wealthier families try to get their girls into our program. Generally, our process prevents this. However, we were caught in trusting another foundation’s referrals. Sadly, wealthier girls do not have the same desperate hunger to improve their lives and do not make the required effort to advance. This will be an ongoing potential problem, as people do lie to achieve their short term objectives, getting the English instruction and high school education free.
FUTURE SALARY EXPECTATIONS PER MONTH, WITH YOUR HELP
- Basico/middle school: $100
- Diversificado/high school: $120-310
- University with 80% English: $550 plus
- High School with English knowledge $650-1275 at a call center.
2018 PROGRAM ACCOUNTABILITY CHANGES
Starting in 2018, we are setting up a three outcome system. Each June, the students will be evaluated in English by oral and written tests. They have always been evaluated by their school grade averages. However, with English being easier to put off for the future, some have fallen behind. That will no longer be tolerated.
Each October they will have a professionally created English achievement exam, as we have done in past years. In the past, the results have shown English has often been secondary to daily classes in school. A fifteen year old has trouble allocating time based on future rewards, instead of satisfying the typing teacher tomorrow.
Based on these evaluations the following system and outcomes will occur:
In June of each year, each student will know if their progress is sufficient for their stage in the program. This is not an exact science like in October, but will give each girl notice on their success or failure potential.
If they have shown sufficient progress in their homework and oral language skills, they will be told keep doing well.
If they have not done the required homework and are not able to demonstrate progress, they will be told to look for the high school closest to their homes. They may be able to recover lost ground, but should prepare for the alternative school location.
In October, based on the international English exam, they will have a specific number which relates to their current English level. At this time, they will be put into one of three possible outcomes.
- Girls earning a minimum of 1/3 each year of the total possible points and maintaining a school average of 80% are in good program standing and will be invited back to the house in the following year. The girl is doing her part in this predominantly English program, using their sponsors investment appropriately. Her performance merits a further year’s full program investment, as her future earning potential will be huge.
- A girl does not meet minimum English scores, but does exceptionally well in school – 88% or higher. With an 88% GPA, she can reasonably expect to get a job in the future, thus meriting a further investment. However, there is no reason she has to live in the house, which subsidizes food, utilities, internet, equipment and so on. The primary purpose in the house is to be able to practice English. Studies in math, economics, etc can be done elsewhere at less than half the cost. In short, the investment better matches the job market potential. High high school grades alone will translate to job offering $200 to $300 per month. Bilingual jobs start at $650.
- The last possible program outcome is the girl earns less than 88% and is not learning English. Her future job potential is very low and her salary will be very low, so further investment is not advised. Expectations are finding jobs will be difficult and salaries at $200 at most. Often, the families will make further sacrifice to finish school without realizing the value and necessity of good grades in this competitive country.
Each scholarship is an investment in someone’s future. If a girl is not mature enough, not capable enough or not interested enough in doing her part, sponsor money is better spent on a girl who will maximize the opportunity.
IT IS CALLED REALITY and CONSEQUENCES or THE CARROT AND THE STICK.
Hopefully this will more clearly bring the message home to girls who are making poor choices and / or drifting or sorting out the girls who really don’t have the ability to become a professional. I have doubts as to this possibility, as they are able to learn basic school subjects very well. At the least, it will hopefully give a scholarship to someone who is ready for the opportunity.
INVESTIGATING THE HOMES & FAMILIES; FUTURE PLANNING
The mothers have been in favor of education for their daughters. This has not always been true for the fathers who want the income from their under-educated and undervalued daughters. Discussing economics has helped to change this attitude: do they want to retire on their daughter’s 700 quetzales ($88) per month or Q5000 plus/ $625? Their daughter gains value as education has value to the family. This will probably always be a problem for many of the extreme poor, especially with the alcohol problem.
Determine the family’s economic situation. Most families are experiencing dropping incomes. Spirit needs to know what we need to do to support the scholarship girl to keep her in school. As a result, we have basic scholarship amounts for functioning families and additional amounts for the extreme poor which will cover some or all of the food, personal monthly expenses, and in the case of distant applicants, the additional transportation.
OUR FAMILIES’ INCOMES
Range from $20 to $250 with 3-12 family members living together.
80% of Guatemalans suffer from malnutrition. Ours families are in this group
- They lose infant teeth by 4 years and adult teeth by 15 years
- It is a huge family sacrifice to attend middle school
- They have not had school books
- Bus fare to school costs up to $2.25 per day local, up to $48 for distant students (they live in the house 24/7).
- Parents and older siblings earn $2.50-4.00 per day, when they can work.
- There is no job security, rarely medical work benefits and very little social security to a few.
- I find most things cost more than in the USA. For example January 2018 gas at $3.65 per gallon, Chicken $1.45 per pound. A pizza costs $17
Our objective is to eliminate families who can afford education, but prefer that their girls be a part of Spirit’s English program or want us to pay for their daughter’s education. We need to determine the level of support needed.
Three years ago, the director of FundAP Foundation contacted us regarding their graduates. They promoted their part of a working relationship, as knowing the girls and their families very well. They would be able to choose appropriate applicants whose families wanted the education, as did the students. Over the last three years, we had issues that I hoped could be worked out. However, after a disastrous 2017 and success rate analysis, and applicant investigations, we realized they knew very little about the families or applicants. There referrals were largely wealthy, pampered or had major health problems, making educational failure rates we could not support or tolerate.
As we expand to further geographical areas, vetting families and their economics becomes more difficult. As I get older, this becomes more of a concern.
Due to being listed on a Guatemalan site promoting availability of scholarships, we had two women contact us in the fall of 2017 on behalf of struggling young women they wanted to help. An objective is to see how this may develop. We accepted seven of their referrals and the girls have greatly astonished and impressed all who have come in contact with them, including current students in the house.
WE NEED TO GROW RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE WITH A PASSION TO HELP DISADVANTAGED WOMEN, BUT CAN DO SO REALISTICALLY.
A single room to several tiny rooms. Dirt floors to cement floors. Cement block to a few scraps of lumber and sheet metal. No interior plumbing, sporadic running village water or a well.
GODPARENT / GODFAMILY or GODGROUP ANGELS
The daughters of the poor are often regretted because they are girls. The Spirit girls need love, hope, opportunity and respect. One of the ways we do that is through scholarships. When they are chosen by an American Angel, they see themselves differently. The girls write it is wonderful to know that someone, without knowing them or having the obligation, cares and believes in them. Your gift has tremendous impact in validating young women who often grow up hearing how worthless they are. If you believe in them, they can start believing in themselves.
We hope you will have a desire to make a difference in the life of a girl and provide a scholarship for one today.
HOW MUCH DOES THE SCHOLARSHIP COST?
100% of your scholarship money goes to the girls, not corporate structure. This is our pledge to you!
We always closely calculate the upcoming year’s cost to provide the scholarship basics. With the falling dollar and Guatemalan inflation, this is often difficult to predict.
Include all school fees, a daily school, weekly computer class and work practice uniform, ESL classes, equipment and materials, and some transportation. in 2018, we set the scholarship at $1150, as the girls all lived far away, so were at the house 24/7 for the entire 10 months. For the most part, these families also could not pay for any food.
On registration day 2018, a school official went to great lengths to assure parents that the only cost of education was $1.40 for the entire year. For January alone, we have spent over $200 each girl. Going forward, we will have an additional 2 uniforms, monthly computer and typing class fees, frequent additional books and all special day and project costs during the year. In addition to rolling my eyeballs, I have to ask why make such misleading claims?
We would like to have a 3 year commitment for high school from our Godparent Angels to allow our girls to complete their education.
AM I THE ONLY SPONSOR FOR “MY” GIRL?
Yes, Spirit assigns only one sponsor per girl. Godparents can be individuals, families or groups that you organize. You will receive monthly emails from your girl. This will allow you to share in your girl’s dreams and successes, as well as reinforce their need to learn English.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Giving a gift where most needed is a great way to provide help to some of the world’s most vulnerable girls. Your gift to Spirit Education Foundation’s general fund allows us to respond to additional needs of our girls- English reading books, computers and computer programs, medical care, shipping for donations of clothes, shoes, dental supplies, etc.
Send an amount that is right for you and help us change the future of our girls.