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!

Join us for Ice Cream on August 13th!

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Nicolás Fund For Education will be hosting an ice cream social on August 13th from 2-4:00 pm at Mercerdale Park. We are eager to greet you all in person and catch up with each other after being apart for so long during the pandemic. This event will be outdoors, and masks are encouraged but optional. This is intended to be a fun social event to express our gratitude for you all and is not a fundraiser. Let’s pray for good weather! The address for Mercerdale Park is 3009 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA. You can park in the Evergreen Covenant Church parking lot, street parking, or in adjacent parking lots where businesses are closed. We want to ensure that we can have enough ice cream on hand! Please indicate how many there will be in your party. We hope to see you there!

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 …

Exciting Key Performance Indicators at Nicolás Christian School!

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Each year, the Guatemalan Ministry of Education administers standardized testing to 11th-grade students and 9th-grade students. Nicolás Fund for Education has only been able to access those results concerning Nicolás Christian School (NCS) since the 2018 results became available. Frankly, those first results were disappointing. None of our students passed the national standardized test. What was more disturbing was that very few students from any school in the Ixil area passed this test. Results in more urban areas were also surprisingly low. Academic Director Bill Safstrom cautioned, “It is important to remember that these tests are aspirational. It is expected that no one will achieve 100% on this type of test.” Bill Safstrom commented that these initial results were helpful because it provided much-needed information on where our strengths and weaknesses were at Nicolás Christian School and “…the data was a place to start”. The evaluation measures the learning of students throughout their educational history. It is not a curricular evaluation but rather an evaluation of basic life skills. NCS Math Scores Exceeded the Guatemalan Ministry of Education Expectations The difference in the students’ average score in relation to what was expected may be because of the work they do at NCS, which is related to the teaching strategies our teachers use in the classroom, Professor Braulio’s educational leadership as Principal, our Christian school climate, and use and creation of learning opportunities. The Ministry of Education takes into account the Socioeconomic and Cultural Index (ISEC) of our students’ families and, based on that information, our average math scores actually exceeded what was anticipated by the Guatemalan Ministry of Education. Challenge Accepted Being a Mayan female student is unfortunately associated with lower …

NICOLAS CHRISTIAN SCHOOL ADDS NEW TOOL TO HELP KEEP KIDS IN SCHOOL

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It takes a village to raise a child! This popular proverb, born out of an old African tradition, may sound like an overused phrase, but nevertheless, it is very relevant when it comes to teaching and engaging the Ixil children in their learning. Many recent studies in nearby areas outline the challenges students face in learning and what stands in the way of retention. Results indicate three groups where improvement can be focused: Motivating the students themselves Training teachers to identify and address individual learning styles and needs Showing parents and families the value of education and engaging them in the learning process Approximately half of the students in nearby areas report that they have considered dropping out of school. The reasons vary. One of the biggest challenges is poverty. Families wrestle with a lack of finances. Many eke out a living making between $2 and $4 per day and struggle to make ends meet. But that’s not all. Students report emotional and psychological barriers, such as apathy, boredom, family issues, and fatigue. But one of their biggest challenges, they say, is discouragement. While Nicolas Christian School cannot address all these problems, we can address some. Beginning in 2020, Nicolas Christian School will begin using the Progrentis software learning program with students in grades 7 – 11 to improve teaching and learning. Generously funded by an anonymous donor, Progrentis focuses on digital information and literacy skills, rather than course content. Utilizing project learning and group work, Progrentis is aligned with the learning targets for each grade level in Guatemala’s Curriculo Nacional Base. Progrentis software does a diagnostic analysis of each student and determines the preferred mode of learning for each …

What kinds of educational services does NFE provide in Guatemala?

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Filling a Much-Needed Gap Nicolás Fund for Education focuses on providing education for the indigenous Mayan youth of the Ixil region of the Guatemalan Highlands. We are filling a much-needed gap in educational services in the region, where the government-funded education in Guatemala averages only four years and ends after 6th grade. Only three out of ten children graduate from 6th grade. Our brand new preschool is showing amazing results; our secondary school is growing; our students are attending school through higher grade levels than in the past and our graduates are going back to their villages with the skills and knowledge they need to build thriving communities. Through scholarships and learning opportunities, we are helping lift vulnerable students out of poverty. They, in turn, are returning to their homes and villages to become leaders and help break the cycle of poverty in their communities. The big news for our secondary school Nicolás Christian School is a new home. In 2019 we moved to new temporary quarters in Nebaj until we can move into our permanent location near Cotzal where NFE has purchased land. Our permanent building should be ready in two years, depending on our fundraising. We are currently serving 124 students aged 7th through 11th grades in leased space at Centro Technologico Ixil (CTI), a building owned by the nonprofit Agros International. What is the relationship between Nicolás Fund for Education and Agros? Nicolás Fund for Education is a 501 (c) 3 organization with a mission to equip the young people of the Ixil region with the skills and knowledge they need to become the future leaders of their communities. Agros is a separate 501 (c) 3 organization …

Praise Report! We’ve Hired a New Preschool Teacher: Rosa Maria Ixcoy from Cajul

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Principal Braulio hired our first preschool teacher, Rosa Maria, this week after a unanimous decision from the hiring committee. She’s spending this month being acclimated to Nicolás Christian School and training to support the specific needs of our villages.  She speaks the native Mayan languages of Ixil (the native language of most of our villages) and Quiche (the native language of San Nicolás village).  Praise God that we found such a wonderful and qualified teacher!