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My Personal Story – After Ten Years Away From Guatemala.

JazKidsIn November 2012, I returned back to the small village where I was born, San Antonio el Angel in Guatemala. It was an unforgettable experience for me. I was able to see and embrace family members, neighbors and friends who I had always held close to my heart, but who I hadn’t been able to visit with in so long.

I stopped by the small school I had attended as a child and met with two of my teachers. I wanted to relive the fond memories I had of the school, but when I toured the building, I was dismayed to find that it had fallen into disrepair. The school was never perfect when I had attended, but I couldn’t remember the classrooms being so crowded or the facilities so rundown and neglected. To accommodate the rapidly growing student population, small makeshift class rooms had been hastily added, turning what had once been ample classrooms into many small, often windowless rooms.

In spite of the dismal conditions of the school, and in spite of the fact that they lacked even basic school supplies, I saw that the faces of the students had not changed, they were just as hopeful, determined and passionate as my classmates and I had been many years ago. I suddenly became very humbled and grateful for the opportunities and privileges I have enjoyed since I left Guatemala. And then I was struck with a plan.

With the guidance of my family I started a small scholarship program for ten outstanding students at my old school. I used a bit of money I had saved over the years to make sure that students who may have otherwise been unable to attend school had the necessary supplies to succeed. Yet still, I couldn’t help but dream bigger – I imagined a day when all 150 students of the village could enjoy the same opportunities.

I was soon receiving beautiful thank you notes from the ten young scholars. I felt overwhelmed with love and decided it was time to turn my small scholarship into something bigger. WIth the help of a few of my close friends that I have made after four wonderful years working at Love Lane Kitchen, I started Programa Sueños, a modest but quickly growing non-profit, with the goal of funding a proper education for all 150 students in my hometown, San Antonio El Angel, Guatemala. Thanks to generous donations, we will be able to supply backpacks and school supplies for all 150 of our students this year. With your support, we may be able to fund their entire primary educations and eventually repair the entire school!

Jazmin Carrillo
Founder, Programa Sueños

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