Education for All
Getting an education in Guatemala is not an easy thing. Although there are government schools, students must purchase their own uniforms, books, and other supplies before they can attend. Teachers do their best to support learning, although resources and availability to deal with students who have special needs can be in short supply.
Depending on the stability of the family, (with the added implications of the Covid pandemic which is still affecting student learning outcomes around the world), required increased use of technology, including computers, phones, tablets, and internet access for students to continue learning, which families in poverty rarely have available. Some of these technologies have become part of the post-Covid educational system, which are an ongoing expense.
Sometimes students are promoted from grade to grade while not acquiring appropriate levels of learning, while other times they are held back again and again, without receiving the support needed to advance, which is extremely discouraging. These issues, along with the instability that poverty brings, and challenges of simply keeping a child able to attend school for an entire year due to employment or housing loss, moving, or hunger, have the attention of A Song in the Night. Much of what we do is aimed at getting and keeping children in school, along with equipping their parents to support their children's educations.
One reward we have found is that often, a parent, in trying to help their children complete their homework, will learn WITH their child. We've even seen some parents (or grandparents) learn to read, gain skills, or even pass a grade in school they were never able to complete when they were young. Working together brings many rewards, and it's our joy to support families and watch this happen!
Educational Program Updates:
Back to School: Most of the students we support are now back in real classrooms, although some post-pandemic practices apply, like dividing classes into smaller groups who attend just twice a week, for example. The wheels are turning once again.
Ten Laptops: During Covid, when schools were closed, lessons were conducted virtually. This left out a huge chunk of students because they had no access. You can imagine the rejoicing when ten laptops were donated! A fellow missionary and dear friend, Steve Baker, spent many hours preparing the laptops to work with our schools and teaching the students to use them. They are still in use today, particularly with our high school students, who are very thankful for them!
English as a Second Language: We are developing a program for adults and older kids. Being able to speak English is a high commodity these days and can open doors for work in different fields.
Right: These three students gather out on our deck. Each of them have special issues, yet they are making progress under the loving hand of their teacher, who works with them individually during the day, and at night is online with her own college work!
Advancing Into Careers and Higher Education
Each year, a number of our students graduate from high school. They are very involved in their churches and serving Jesus, which is the best news of all!
Diego has been working at the local fire and rescue department in his town. He’s saving his money to go to college to be an EMT.
Belinda excelled in computer and tourism. In spite of difficulties and challenges, she is hoping to go to college.
Debora who graduated with honors in Accounting and Administration, had a Christian education. At the beginning of last year, she was given an award for academic excellence, Christian character and service. Two-thirds of her tuition was covered. Debora has faced some pretty incredible obstacles in her family, and in her personal life, but this young girl is serious about trusting and serving her Savior, Jesus Christ, and she is definitely an overcomer!
Moises also graduated with honors for high academic achievement. Moi has also finished his second year at a local Bible college where he has received a full scholarship. Moises is a great help to his mom who works odd hours. Along with all of his school work, He takes care of his young nephew, helping him do his school work, and keeps an eye on his older sister who has Down's Syndrome. He is a huge support to his family!
Another very special graduate this year is one of the moms, Sandra! Sandra dropped out of 7th grade at the age of 13 after a severe and dramatic attack that left her pregnant with her first son. After several attempts, she finally graduated from 9th grade this year, as well as a two-year course in auxiliary nursing!
11 kids ranging from Pre-kinder to 10th grade finished another year of school! Before "Song", most of these kids were in dangerous schools, were failing, or were not even in school!
A five-year-old girl finished Pre-kindergarten.
Two boys, one eight-year-old finished 2nd grade, and a nine-year-old finished, and was evaluated for severe learning disabilities. He received special, one on one tutoring by one of the other young mothers we are helping, which was a huge blessing.
A fourteen-year-old girl graduated from 6th grade - praise the Lord!
Junior High and High School
A 15-year-old boy graduated from 8th grade, along with a 17-year-old girl who also graduated from 8th grade and attended a Christian retreat for young women.
A 17-year-old boy finished 11th grade, reaffirmed his trust in Jesus as his Savior, and was baptized this last year! He is also singing on the worship team in their church!
Maria proudly stands with her three growing, educated children.
A Family Success Story
Maria, a single mother of three, finished 12th grade this year! She is receiving medical, psychological, and spiritual help for a number of traumatic events in her life, and now has far greater opportunities for employment as she continues to heal and works to care for her family.
Maria's oldest daughter, who is 18 years old, finished 11th grade and will be starting her final year of high school. Several years ago, she received medical care and six weeks of physical therapy and rehab for Bell's palsy that affected the entire right side of her face and body. Thank God she is fine! She was also able to attend a four-day Christian retreat for young women! This beautiful young lady was baptized in 2017. She is completing Christian leadership classes and working with different ages of children in her church. Since the 2019 school year ended, she has been working in the office for A Song in the Night.
Maria's 15 year-old son, finished 8th grade, and recovered from acute anemia. He was baptized in 2017, and continues to follow strong in the Lord.
Maria's youngest daughter who is nine years old, finished 2nd grade. Her first year of school was made unforgettable when she had to undergo an appendectomy, which we were able to help with. Thank God that second grade was less eventful!
Donie and this young lady who has overcome so much, pause after a successful day of work helping others to move forward.
Home Grown Academic Support Year-Round
During school vacations from October to December, some of our older students, depending on the year, run a Vacation Bible and regular Summer School for some of our kiddos! Learning, fun, and snacks!
Working together is one of the greatest strengths of this ministry.