Help Us Bring All 150 Students Back in January 2023!

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You are making a tremendous impact in the lives of Nicolás Christian School students! Students and Graduates are becoming entrepreneurs, and some are independently securing their grants and microloans to pursue different types of farming enterprises. Our July 2022 team saw more than six greenhouses producing the most beautiful Roma tomatoes. Nicolás Christian School graduate Antonio is working in the greenhouses. Their first harvest was 100 lbs. of tomatoes! Some graduates, like Sucely Jenyfer, are successful business owners in Cotzal. Sucely Jenyfer currently has a plan to go to baking school so that she can open a bakery…in addition to her successful clothing shop in Cotzal! Nicolás Christian School students have options Other students who don’t have a desire to attend university in the future have a new option to transfer to an Intecap trade school after 9th grade. Nicolás Christian School currently has ten scholarships to offer that cover tuition at the Huehuetenango campus. Intecap trade schools have an excellent jobplacement rate after graduation. Our graduates have hope for a better future because of the education you are providing for them. Hope for a better future is key in this part of Guatemala, recognized as the #1 area for youth suicide in the country. To fully fund the 2023 academic year for 150 students, Nicolás Fund for Education must raise$174,000 by 12.31.22. This would require 58 donors to donate $3000 before 12.31.22. We also have a new option for donors to make a total pledge towards the 2023 academic school year that can be paid in installments as long as the last installment payment is received by 12.31.22. For more information, call Becci Merritt at 425.243.3709. Make a donation …

Nicolás Christian School Students Celebrate Mayan Culture in Welcoming Ceremony

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The Nicolás Christian School students provided an outstanding B’a’n Etule (Ixil forWelcome/Bienvenidos) ceremony for the Nicolás Fund For Education July 2022 mission trip members. Students shared an unprecedented display of beautiful Mayan traditional clothing from various parts of the Quiché Department and different Mayan people groups in Guatemala. The precious clothing was borrowed from the mothers and relatives of our students for this very special presentation. In the video, students shared traditional clothing from these areas: Elisheva – Cotzal (home to the Ixil Mayan community) Britalin – Nebaj (home to the Ixil Mayan community) Ana – Sacapulus (home to the Sakapultek and K’iche’ Mayan communities) Evelin – Quiché (home to the K’iche’ Mayan community) Madelin – Zacualpa (home to the K’iche’ Mayan community) Yesica – Chichicastenango (home to the K’iche’ Mayan community) Delia – Totonicapón (located in the Totonicapón Department, home to the K’iche’ Mayan community. 37 miles from Nebaj) Teresa -Santa María Chiquimulá (located in the Totonicapón Department, home to the K’iche’ community, 55 miles from Nebaj) Cristel – Xela (Quetzaltenango), home to the K’iche’ community, 46 miles from Nebaj. Brenda – Santiago Atitlán (close to Sololá on Lake Atitlan, 53 miles from Nebaj. Tzutujile Mayan community) Hilda – Cobán (located in the Alta Verapaz Department, 52 miles from Nebaj, home to the Q’eqchi’ Mayan community) We were honored to experience this presentation that accompanied by Mayan dance. It waswonderful to see our students celebrating and sharing their Mayan culture! Take a virtual trip with the July 2022 mission team and browse through our trip photo album. Would you like to experience first-hand the colorful Mayan culture, meet our students, families and faculty, and see the new school being …

Student Spotlight: Meet Yesedi Ines

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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.

Interested in traveling to Guatemala to see student graduations?

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An NFE mission team is heading to Guatemala from November 10-18, 2022. It is a joy to attend all the graduation ceremonies (preschool, junior and senior high)! On day one, we help with the dress rehearsal for the graduation ceremony. The excitement in the air is palpable! The next day the missions team attends the graduation and celebrates with students and their proud families. For another 2-3 days, the team then visits the Ixil or Quiche villages where our students live. Following that, we will relax in Antigua, an old Spanish colonial city, for another 2-3 days. To register for this trip, please visit our missions trip page and click on the November trip. A $100 non-refundable deposit can be paid on the same page if you click on the green box on the top of the mission trip page that says, “Click Here to Donate to Mission Trips”.

We Met Our Mid-Year Goal!

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We are celebrating! We raised a total of $191,000 at our 10th anniversary Fulfilling a Dream event! Because of your generous giving, we are thrilled to announce that we met our mid-year goal for the 2023 Nicolás Christian School (NCS) Operating Budget. We are so grateful to those who acted as Fulfilling a Dream Ambassadors and invited people to watch our event. We were especially pleased to have a number of first-time donors! You are truly our partners in offering high-quality Education to Ixil-region students to help them overcome poverty. Nicolás Fund For Education will gratefully steward the funds that you have entrusted to us. These funds will be contributing to more success stories for students like the four you heard from at our Fulfilling a Dream event. Here’s the video presentation if you missed it or want to share the event with someone new to Nicolás Fund for education. Please consider making a gift to help us raise the remaining funds needed for our 2023 operating budget. We still need to raise $186,000 before November 1st to allow every student to return to Nicolás Christian School next year and to avoid reducing our tutoring programs. Together we’re changing the future of generations to the glory of God!

Nicolás Fund for Education Establishes Village Libraries During Pandemic-Related School Closures

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For the most part, Guatemalan schools have been closed since March 14, 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Finding strategies to help elementary, middle, and high students keep learning despite school closures is crucial. Nicolás Fund for Education partnered with nine Ixil region villages to establish village lending libraries between 2020 to 2021. NFE plans to open five more village libraries in 2022. These libraries have effectively promoted reading in a culture that typically doesn’t read for pleasure. Nicolás Fund for Education’s (NFE) Academic Chair Bill Safström, M.Ed. spearheaded this program with valuable assistance from NFE volunteer Shirley Kinsey. Mr. Safström is a retired high school principal who is currently working at Seattle Pacific University in teacher education. Ms. Kinsey is a retired middle school reading specialist who helped select appropriate books and apply for grants. NFE volunteer Conchita Chinchilla, a Guatemalan, helped find books in Spanish that were available at a Guatemalan book store. NFE’s Education Committee, populated by education specialists from the Puget Sound region and chaired by Mr. Safström, also assisted in book selection and promotion of a book drive to fill the libraries. Mr. Safström assisted in the creation of the Book Donation page on NFE’s website, where donors can select Spanish language books to donate. A village must donate the space for the library and commit to the ongoing maintenance of the building before establishing a library with help from NFE. The village Education Committee must select and support a village librarian to manage the library. NFE provides a minimum of 200 books to open a library, and we hope to keep adding new books to each library regularly. NFE is seeking book donations at …

Nicolás Christian School Receives License for Vocational Training Courses

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Nicolás Fund for Education has a strategic plan to offer vocational technical training as an extracurricular activity! Nicolás Christian School just received approval to begin offering those courses through a Guatemalan Ministry of Education program called CEMUCAF. The program provides and certifies technical occupational training to create a “semi-skilled workforce.” This program benefits local small and medium-sized employers by training graduates in alignment with local labor market needs. CEMUCAF works closely with municipal mayors and coordinates strategic alliances and partnerships with national and international organizations offering employment programs and projects. After finishing the program, the student receives a certificate documenting they acquired knowledge, abilities, and skills in that field.  Nicolás Christian School will add programs slowly. NCS will likely offer carpentry as a course. Potential additional course offerings could include agriculture, dressmaking, crafts, pastry making, cooking, computing, beautician, embroidery, crafts, art and painting, electrician, bakery, blacksmith, piñata-making, and community health. We plan to have dedicated space for onsite vocational training on our new school campus. The Nicolás Fund for Education Capital Campaign is ongoing. A generous donor has agreed to match your donation up to $112,000 toward the full campus buildout.   The reality is that some Nicolás Christian School graduates need to work immediately after high school graduation to help their families. Their families have already financially sacrificed the help of their son or daughter to allow them to study at Nicolás Christian School. Surveys of the few students who had to drop out of Nicolás Christian School state the number one reason for dropping out was financial.  Even though Nicolás Christian School is free, these students need to earn money to help their families. Some students are not interested …

Thank You for your Faithful Support!

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Nicolás Fund for Education not only met but exceeded our fundraising goal for our April Fulfilling a Dream event! Thanks to our donors, we raised over $230,000, which positions us to meet about 65% of what we need to operate Nicolás Christian School and Nicolás Fund for Education programs in 2022. We will still need to raise $100,000 more by November 1 to fund all our programs in 2022. Thank you for your incredible generosity and faithfulness! You have proven your dedication to these Ixil students by providing education as a means to escape poverty. Building Up, Reaching Out Capital Campaign We are also publicly announcing our Capital Campaign to build a larger, permanent home for Nicolás Christian School!  Please be on the lookout for our brochure arriving in your mailbox soon. We are eager to start construction on this energy-efficient structure that can accommodate twice as many students as our current leased location. Our property, located near Cotzal, will be much more convenient for families to attend school events and reduce our transportation costs.  Our goal is to raise another $280,000 by October 1 so that we can break ground during the dry season next January to complete Phase 1. This building will also serve the entire community of Cotzal through adult literacy classes, online university classes on the weekend, and “weekend school” for students who must work during the week (allowing them to achieve a junior or senior high completion certificate).  This building could also host large meetings such as the Global Leadership Summit, Teacher Professional Development meetings, lectures, concerts,  and alcoholism recovery meetings. We are partnering with a US-based nonprofit, Building Goodness Foundation, that will provide onsite construction management …

Hurricanes Eta and Iota Flood the Ixil with Severe Impact

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Heavy rainfall from two back-to-back hurricanes in less than two weeks has devastated the Ixil region of Guatemala. Hurricane Eta, a Category 4 storm, hit the Ixil region around November 5-8th with torrential rain. A brief respite from the rain in mid-November allowed our Nicolás Christian School graduation to take place on a beautiful, sunny day with roads that allowed Professor Braulio (principal) and Ivan España (Country Director) to visit every graduate’s home in every village to bestow diplomas and offer congratulations. Circumstances changed drastically when Hurricane Iota hit Guatemala a few days later. Massive rainfall led to severe flooding that destroyed 65% of the cornfields, killed livestock, ruptured and collapsed roadways, and washed-out bridges. Mudslides killed several people, and entire villages were rendered uninhabitable. Sumal Grande and Sumalito villages suffered significant damage in Hurricane Eta. Even before Hurricane Iota hit, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) described the situation in the Ixil region as a “major humanitarian crisis.” IFRC planned a large-scale disaster response, but at least initially, most of the communities have were left to fend for themselves. Groups of Ixil volunteers helped to evacuate those stranded by high water. Hurricane Iota delivered the knock-out punch only a few days after NCS graduation with tremendous rainfall (more than five inches in 48 hours), flooding, and mudslides destroying essential roads and bridges. The villagers from Villa Hortensia 2 and Villa Hortensia Antigua evacuated to Cunen (where Professor Braulio lives). Villagers from Santa Avelina 1 and 2 walked for hours to reach refuge in Villa Hortensia 1. Several mudslides and flooding led several families to evacuate Cajixay. Some Cajixay families fled to VH1 and others …