Student Spotlight: Meet Yesedi Ines

Becci Merritt Student 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.

Interested in traveling to Guatemala to see student graduations?

Becci Merritt Blog, Impact Trips Leave a Comment

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 …

Building Up & Reaching Out – NFE New School Construction

Lavelle Freudenberg Blog 4 Comments

On a plot of land just under 5 acres between a ‘bad milk tree’ and a ‘pito palo tree’[1], the new Nicolás Christian School will open its doors to potentially 300 students from grades 7 to 11 within 3 years.   “That’s double the number we serve today in the leased building near Nebaj, Guatemala,” exclaims Becci Merritt, NFE President.  The land purchase was made possible in 2018 by a grant from a generous donor. The site is in the town of Cotzal which is much closer to our students in the neighboring villages. The Capital Campaign to raise funds for New School Construction is well underway.  Thank you to all the donors who have contributed so far. Thanks to your generous donations, we have met the required minimum budget to begin construction in 2022. We are still working to fully fund construction of the full campus designed by Building Goodness Foundation. The preliminary design for the new school was completed in early 2020, thanks to the expertise and pro bono support of the nonprofit Building Goodness Foundation. This includes the design of the site and utilities, the classroom building including kitchen, office, and multi-use classroom space.     “The first building to be constructed will be approximately 14,500 square feet and we expect it to be sufficient space to allow the school to be fully functional (using some multi-purpose spaces) when it opens, even though other phases will eventually follow,” says Heidi Reynolds, NFE Board director leading the project. “Heidi has spearheaded our partnership with Building Goodness Foundation (BGF),” says Becci. “We are so grateful for her leadership.” Building Goodness Foundation has a stellar reputation in the construction industry for designing, …

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

Leanne Sierra Uncategorized 1 Comment

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 …

Are you willing to be a Social Media Ambassador for NFE?

Leanne Sierra Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Hi, I am so grateful for our donors and volunteers for Nicolás Fund for Education! I am writing in hopes that you will agree to be a social media ambassador for NFE on Giving Tuesday, December 1st!   You choose when you post as long as you post on December 1st!  Post about WHY you support NFE in ALL forms of social media you use: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Encourage people to donate directly to NFE on our website, or you may choose to create a personal Facebook fundraiser that benefits Nicolás Fund for Education.  If you do run a personal fundraiser on Facebook, please reach out to thank these donors yourself. We are not given their names and addresses by Facebook. You can use your own trip photos and stories to explain why you support NFE, or you may use one of these three images (click the link to see and download the images). If you are at a loss for what to say, here is a suggestion: “Nicolás Fund for Education provides secondary education for indigenous Mayans in the mountains of Guatemala. In this region, less than 20% of children attend school beyond 6th grade. Free education stops after 6th grade and most families in this region cannot afford to pay tuition for students to continue their education. Nicolás Fund for Education donors give the gift of education to these students, providing excellence in education for these young men and women that will help them become the future leaders in Guatemala. Education is the #1 way to combat poverty.” Please include the two hashtags #GivingTuesday and #NFE in your posts so we can find them. You can also @mention us, so …