Fulfilling a Dream 2024: A Celebration of Education and Empowerment

Leanne SierraBlog, Fulfilling A Dream, Impact Trips, Special Event, Student Spotlight Leave a Comment

Nicolás Fund For Education’s Fulfilling a Dream 2024 fundraisers were a resounding success, bringing together educational supporters, donors, and community members to celebrate the transformative power of education. The events, held at Peninsula Lutheran Church in Gig Harbor on May 2, 2024 and Encounter Church in Mercer Island, WA, on May 3, 2024, showcased the inspiring mission behind Nicolás Fund For Education and the remarkable strides made together. Unveiling the Mission and Impact Ivan España, our passionate and dedicated National Director, shared the inspiring mission of Nicolás Fund For Education and the remarkable achievements made possible through the support of our generous donors. Guests were moved by the powerful stories of students whose lives have been dramatically changed. They heard their firsthand testimonials that vividly showcased how contributions fuel dreams and unlock endless potential. Firsthand Experiences from Mission Trip Members Mission Trip Members Susan Shamblin, Andrew Metz, and Gabi Beckman shared inspiring stories of their NFE mission trips, during which they had the life-changing opportunity to impact the lives of marginalized youth in the Ixil region of Guatemala. They witnessed firsthand how NFE is breaking the cycle of poverty and injustice through faith and education. The Birth of Nicolás Fund for Education Becci Merritt, NFE Board President, shared how Nicolás Fund for Education came to be – a journey of enduring love, transformation, and shared belief in the power of prayer and education to overcome poverty. Twelve years ago, Becci Merritt, Al Lopus, Joan Selvig, Kathy Riper, and Lolo Levy began their mission with hearts that saw a place where chronic grinding poverty and discrimination have a firm stronghold. Becci outlined their 12-year journey from junior and senior high school …

Empower a Dream: Lesly’s Quest to Escape the Cycle of Poverty

Becci MerrittBlog, Student Spotlight Leave a Comment

María Lesly Dayana: An Aspiring Attorney Living in the farming village of Los Angeles in Guatemala’s Ixil region, eighth grader María Lesly Dayana juggles adversity and ambition daily. Despite hailing from a low-income family, Lesly is fiercely determined and dreams of getting an education to escape the cycle of poverty. With dreams of becoming an attorney, she aspires to combat injustice, inspired by the unfairness she has witnessed in her community. She said she has seen people be accused of things they have not done. Every day, Lesly grapples with hardships that most of us can’t even imagine. Her father works in a metal roofing factory in a town three hours from home, Santa Cruz del Quiché, and can only afford the time and cost of the journey home once or twice a month. Lesly helps her mother care for her three younger siblings—5-year-old Isabel, 11-year-old Juana, and 2-year-old Pedro Abisai. Even while helping her mother at home, Lesly works hard on her studies at Nicolás Christian School (NCS). Nicolás Christian School strives to deliver a high-quality, full-day educational program – a rarity in a region like the Ixil.  Faith, Hope, and Nicolás Christian School Lesly’s faith plays a crucial role in her life. She said that God spoke to her to tell her that she would have the opportunity to attend NCS. Lesly said that a particular class she is taking at NCS on Christian leadership has really deepened her spiritual connection to God. Specifically, she learned more about God and how to pray. As a result, God has become more real to Lesly because of this class. The school’s full-day regime, while initially challenging, is no longer a …

How Nicolás Fund For Education is Helping Ronaldo Overcome His Challenges

Becci MerrittBlog, Student Spotlight 1 Comment

Ronaldo is a determined and ambitious young man from Guatemala’s Ixil region. He is working hard in his final year at Nicolás Christian School with the dream of one day becoming a civil engineer and owning his construction company with his father. But, this journey isn’t without obstacles; financial and health challenges stand in the way of him accomplishing his goals. However, through help from Nicolás Fund for Education, he remains hopeful that he can make it happen! Family life is an important value in Ronaldo’s world. His father, Domingo, works as a mason while his mother, Rosa, devotes all of her time to the home and weaving. This strong bond between child and parent has created even closer ties for Ronaldo with his four older brothers – Diego Eduardo, Sergio Nicolás, Juan Ariel, and Domingo Alexander who are adults living in San Juan Cotzal, like himself. He enjoys the beautiful scenery around his neighborhood, Canton Tu Poj, where he lives alongside rivers and waterfalls. The rivers provide a fun swimming spot when he finds some free time. More often than not, Ronaldo chooses to help his father with masonry projects because it involves assisting his father. Ronaldo works without pay. He gives his time out of pure love for his father! Ronaldo was a stellar student throughout primary and junior high school. Even at a young age, he was looking for ways to take his education even further. He found what he was searching for at Nicolás Christian School – an advanced institution full of tools and resources like tablets, microscopes, and TV screens in each classroom! When it came time to hone in on the most challenging subject …

Keren Shares How She Will Fulfill Her Dreams with Nicolás Fund For Education (As written by Keren, herself)

Becci MerrittBlog, Student Spotlight Leave a Comment

My father is fifty-three years old and my mom is fifty-two years old. My mom works at home and my dad is a teacher. I have five siblings. I am currently studying at the Nicolás Christian School, and I am in the 11th grade. I live in San Juan Cotzal, which is a place full of culture and tradition where each season is celebrated with joy, especially when the corn is harvested. Cotzal is also a place full of tourist attractions.  All the Cotzalenses (people living in Cotzal) live as a family. I would like to attend university next year. I want to explore and express myself, just like I do at school. I would like to be able to help and serve people who need my help, in the spiritual field. My goal is to be able to worship in a better way and to serve God. Time management is a challenge for me. I feel that there is never enough time. I see how important time management can be. My frustration is that sometimes I don’t do my best at certain points and I feel that I can’t do more. The achievement that makes me proudest is that I can sing and I can also play the piano. I feel proud of myself, as do my parents. At the moment I’m taking more music lessons.  Note: Keren sings in the Praise band at her church, Full Gospel Church of San Juan Cotzal. Keren is a good student but struggles a bit with math. 

Meet Outstanding Nicolás Christian School Scholar Yesica!

Becci MerrittBlog, Student Spotlight Leave a Comment

Meet Nicolás Christian School 11th-grader, Yesica. She lives in the village of Los Angeles in a mountainous region in northwestern Guatemala. Los Angeles is a farming village of 150 families. Yesica described Los Angeles as “very poor,” with only a few families having money. Home Life Her father and mother are Francisco and Catarina. Francisco owns and operates a small tienda (convenience store) in Los Angeles. Catarina is a full-time homemaker. Yesica has two little sisters and a brother. Her sister, Jazmín Amanda, attends Nicolás Christian School as a 7th grader. She has a younger sister, Sandy Carina, and a younger brother, Abner Andry. School Life Yesica was an honor student when she attended elementary school in Los Angeles and has continued to be an honor student at Nicolás Christian School. Ivan España, Nicolás Fund for Education National Director, describes Yesica as “disciplined” and aware of her academic responsibilities. She is a terrific role model for her younger brother and sister. Her Burden But something is worrying Yesica, and she dissolves into tears as she tries to describe her concern. Her father, Francisco, has had severe back pain for a year and isn’t improving. Yesica told us, “It makes me feel very bad to see him like this.”  Her number one prayer request is that her father’s back pain would resolve, and she has requested prayer in the past from our monthly virtual prayer group. Please pray that God will restore Yesica’s father to complete health and mobility. Yesica told us that without the support of donors like you, she would not be able to attend Nicolás Christian high school. Yesica said that if she couldn’t be a student at …

Ronaldo & the Carpentry Program

Kathy Riper & Estuardo SánchezBlog, Student Spotlight Leave a Comment

Ronaldo lives in San Juan Cotzal and is a 10th-grade student at Nicolas Christian School. Ronaldo has become one of the top Nicolas Christian School carpentry students and shared with us how his carpentry classes have helped him develop skills that he will use in the future to pursue his dreams. Ronaldo appreciates how the teachers explain the importance of using caution with the tools and machinery. He says, “I thank the teachers who support us when they see that we have difficulty doing something.  I want to be improving day by day. What I have learned most is that it is necessary to cut exact measurements so that we do not have mistakes”.  What he likes about the carpentry program is that they must devise everything before they start to manufacture a piece of furniture. They make their design for different types of furniture, but with the supervision and help of the teachers who explain how each project should be started. “The skills I learn in carpentry I will use in my future life because my mission is to study and know more about carpentry, and my vision is to become a great construction engineer so that I can fulfill my dream, and thus become a great professional in life. Thanks to Nicolas Christian School for providing me with the study I need,” says Ronaldo. Ronaldo realizes how important his math and art classes are. In fact, one of his favorite subjects is mathematics which is useful for his carpentry projects. Other favorite classes are English, project management, and Christian leadership.  “I like math because it helps us solve problems. I like English because I think it is necessary to …

Student Spotlight: Meet Yesedi Ines

Becci MerrittStudent Spotlight Leave a Comment

Meet Yesdi Ines a student at Nicolás Christian School in Guatemala. Hear how Nicolás Fund For Education is helping her to reach her dreams of becoming a nurse. You can transform a child’s life by supporting Nicolás Fund For Education and empowering Mayan youth to break the generational cycle of poverty in the Ixil region of Guatemala through Christ-centered education.

A Sparkle in Her Eyes

Kathy Riper and Lavelle FreudenbergBlog, Student Spotlight Leave a Comment

Juana (Juanita) Córdova is 24 years old and lives in the village of La Bendición. She is one of three daughters and was born with spina bifida. She is very bright and attended the village primary school through the sixth grade. Juanita’s parents are poor farmers. In Guatemala only primary school is free to attend. Even if her parents could have afforded to send her to junior high and high school, it would have required traveling to the larger town of Cotzal. Mobility is challenging for Juanita and she gets motion sickness when riding in a vehicle. Juanita runs the tienda (small store) on her family’s property. She made a space in the tienda for a library with the books that she has received from teams that have visited her over the years. She started checking out books to the village children and encouraged them to read. Knowing how much Juanita loves to learn, Nicolás Christian School began its first distance learning effort in 2014. A tutor, Ricardo, came to Juanita’s home and she eagerly began her studies for 7th grade courses. “I did not talk with anyone before and I was always afraid. But Ricardo looked for the way to remove my fear and I was able to conquer it,” says Juanita, looking back. She made a little study space in her tienda. This allowed her the opportunity to study and look after the tienda during the day. She completed 7th-9th grades in just two years. In Guatemala, senior high school is 10th and 11th grade. Juanita completed both grades in one year. She was able to participate in the Nicolás Christian School graduation in 2016 and receive her …