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 …

Helping People, Changing Lives: 3 Health Benefits of Volunteering

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Volunteers make an immeasurable difference in people’s lives and often serve to help others. Did you know that volunteering can benefit your health as well? Research has shown that volunteering offers significant health benefits, especially for older adults, including: 1. Improves physical and mental health. 2. Provides a sense of purpose and teaches valuable skills. 3. Nurture new and existing relationships. (Excerpted from Angela Thoreson, M.S.W.’s 8-1-23 article in Mayo Clinic Health System’s newsletter.) Get Involved: Become an NFE Volunteer Nicolás Fund For Education is on a mission to empower Mayan youth in the Ixil region of Guatemala to break free from generational poverty through Christ-centered education. We’re looking for passionate, dedicated volunteers to join our cause and make a real difference in the lives of these students. Whether you’re a skilled grant writer, a social media savant, or an experienced educator, we have a variety of roles where your unique talents can shine. From helping with fundraising events to providing virtual tutoring via WhatsApp, you can contribute to our mission in many ways. If you’re ready to be part of something bigger than yourself and impact the future of Mayan youth in Guatemala, we invite you to explore our volunteer opportunities and apply today. Together, we can empower the next generation to dream big and achieve their full potential. We are currently seeking volunteers for the following roles:

A Journey of Grace, Hope, and Faith: My Experience in Guatemala

Sheri HustedBlog, Impact Trips Leave a Comment

Greetings! My name is Sheri, and I am delighted to share an extraordinary experience I had in Guatemala this past February with the Nicolás Fund For Education’s Mission Team. This journey with Peninsula Lutheran Church members was a testament to the power of grace, hope, and faith. A Royal Welcome Upon our arrival at Nicolás school, we were greeted as if we were royalty. The eldest grade students escorted us to breakfast on our first day, where we were treated to a wonderful meal. Immediately following, the students prepared an assembly based on scripture and infused it with local culture. The grace these students exhibited, even as we were there to learn, help, and observe, was truly overwhelming. Classrooms Filled with Love and Respect We were welcomed into the classrooms, witnessing the daily practice of scripture reading and hymn singing. The teachers and students invited us to pray with them and for them. The teachers’ sense of love and grace for the students was palpable, and in return, I could feel immense respect from the students toward their teachers. The principal and teachers knew each student by name, and every student seemed comfortable asking for prayer or discussing their struggles. Hope and Faith: The Foundation of Education Each student radiated a level of hope – within us, their school, and the teachers before them. It was evident that this school is rooted in faith, as every morning began with hymns, Bible readings led by the teachers, and prayer. Watching these children light up as our team introduced them to new subject matter was an amazing experience. Through faith and determination, they realized they could achieve great things and reach their …

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 …

Invest in a Brighter Future for Underprivileged Children with Recurring Donations | Nicolás Fund For Education

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Nicolás Fund for Education is dedicated to ensuring that the most disadvantaged children in the Ixil region of Guatemala have access to quality education. Through your support of our programs, you provide high-quality education, tutoring, library books, and entrepreneurial training, empowering these kids with hope and opportunities they would never have had otherwise. Recurring monthly giving provides NFE with a reliable revenue stream, which can be especially beneficial in times when we’re not able to gather or throw in-person fundraising events. Having revenue we can count on helps us to ensure the sustainability of the Nicolás Fund for Education. Giving monthly donations allows the Nicolás Fund for Education to plan more effectively for long-term projects and initiatives.  Set up your recurring donation — be sure to select your giving frequency!  We thank our God for your faithful support for transformative education for kids in the Ixil region of Guatemala! Make your recurring donation today and give Ixil region kids the bright futures they deserve! With your monthly support, you can stand with us in making sure every child has the chance to become educated to reach their God-given potential. 

Fulfilling a Dream 2023 Annual Fundraiser: Together we can build a brighter future for our students

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Dear Donors,  On behalf of the Nicolás Fund For Education (NFE), we sincerely thank you for your generous support at our annual fundraiser, Fulfilling a Dream 2023. Your contributions have been vital in helping us secure the operational budget for the Nicolás Christian School (NCS) in 2024. Nicolás Fund for Education raised $325,000 through Fulfilling a Dream 2023 thanks to generous donors like you. Together, we are making a lasting impact on the lives of underprivileged children by providing them with Christ-centered education and resources to ensure they have opportunities for success that they never thought possible. The Power of Education: Strengthening Our Programs Although we met our immediate goals for the NCS’s operational budget, there is still more work to be done. The comprehensive approach of our educational initiatives requires additional funding to maintain and expand essential programs such as: These initiatives ensure that the children in our care receive an education that empowers them to break the cycle of poverty and become leaders in their communities. By supporting these programs, generous donors like yourself further enhance the transformative impact of a Christ-centered education in these young lives. Help Us Reach Our Full Budget Goals We kindly request your continued support as we strive to raise the necessary funds for the comprehensive development and maintenance of our educational initiatives. Your heartfelt contributions, big or small, play a crucial role in providing hope and a brighter future to these children. Here’s how your donations can make a difference: A Call to Action: Share the Love of Education and Christ At NFE, we believe that education is the key to transforming lives and unlocking potential. We warmly invite you to join …

Thank You For Standing with NFE to Provide a Brighter Future for Mayan Children

Becci MerrittBlog, Financial Transparency and Accountability, Fulfilling A Dream Leave a Comment

Dear Fulfilling a Dream 2023 Attendees, The Nicolás Fund for Education board wishes to extend our heartfelt gratitude for your incredible support at our Fulfilling a Dream fundraising event at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church on April 22, 2023. Seeing so many new faces in the audience filled us with hope and excitement for the future of our organization. Your unwavering generosity has truly made a difference for our cause. We are incredibly grateful to announce that we have raised over $135,000 at the event, with donations still coming in! With each gift, we come one step closer to empowering Mayan youth in the Ixil region of Guatemala to break the generational cycle of poverty through Christ-centered education. The impact of your contribution is undeniable—you are helping us create tangible, lasting change for these young students and their communities. Your support provides access to essential educational opportunities and resources to transform lives for the better. Thanks to your kindness, generations of empowered, educated Mayan youth will transform their communities. We are also thrilled to welcome 28 new supporters to the Nicolás Fund for Education family. Your commitment to our cause strengthens our efforts and inspires us to work harder to make a difference in the lives of these children. We are eager to keep you involved and informed about the progress we make together, thanks to your generosity. Once again, thank you for standing with us in our mission to provide a brighter future for Mayan youth in the Ixil region of Guatemala. We couldn’t do this critical work without partners like you, and we look forward to sharing updates and stories of success in the coming months. With gratitude, The …

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 …

Breaking the Generational Cycle of Poverty: NFE Transforms Lives of Mayan Indigenous Ixil in Guatemala

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For over 400 years, the Mayan indigenous people of the Ixil in Guatemala have experienced systematic discrimination, culminating in a civil war that resulted in genocide. This has left these Ixil families locked in poverty for generations. However, one organization is working to break this cycle: Nicolás Fund For Education (NFE). NFE is a 501(c) 3 non-profit dedicated to helping the Ixil youth break the cycle of poverty, injustice, and prejudice. Before NFE came into existence, parents were unable to afford school after 6th grade – leaving children without an education and no hope for their future. Free education stops after sixth grade in Guatemala. The most powerful way to permanently break this cycle of poverty is through education. NFE operates Nicolás Christian School which currently has about 150 students enrolled. They also offer PreK, Kinder, and tutoring for 5th and 6th graders as well as university scholarships. It all began with 13 students. Now there are 85 high school graduates and 17 have earned a university degree. This is particularly significant because only 20% of high school students in the area graduate, and less than 1% graduate from university. To double its impact, NFE is building a larger school that is scheduled to open for the 2024 school year! “We are so proud of the incredible strides and challenges our students are overcoming,” said Becci Merritt, President of NFE. “Our goal is to provide a high-quality Christian education that encourages faith-based values that will help them lead successful lives.” With NFE’s help, these children can look forward to brighter futures than ever before – free from poverty and injustice.

Meet Outstanding Nicolás Christian School Scholar Yesica!

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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 …