Two small communities in Mexico, Anapra and Lomas de Poleo, are the home to volunteers from the Kansas City area each summer. These volunteers, known as the Guadalupe Association, travel to Anapra to provide the children of these communities with Vacation Bible School for four to five weeks. The children are provided a meal, morning activities, songs, and prayer each day. One room holds the teacher and 80 to 100 children sitting shoulder to shoulder. This Vacation Bible School provides a safe environment for the children while their parents are at work. Local volunteers in Mexico give back by serving as the teacher or as helpers in the program. Volunteers from Kansas City provide the curriculum, craft supplies, prizes, and food.
Besides providing Vacation Bible School, the Guadalupe Association helps with public school. In Mexico, public school is not free. Families must provide tuition, school uniforms, and school supplies for their children. Tuition prices increase with the level in school. For the families in Anapra and Lomas de Poleo, school is something most families cannot afford. Therefor, the Guadalupe Association matches sponsors in the United States with students in the communities to assist with their schooling. The fee for sponsorship ranges from $90.00 to $1,000.00 per school year. Sponsors can pledge for a full or partial scholarship for a student.
Through these sponsorships, letters and photos are exchanged between the students and their sponsors. Students and their parents meet with Guadalupe Association volunteers monthly and are accountable for attendance and grades. Parents of the students express their gratitude to sponsors, as they believe that education is the key for their children to break the cycle of poverty. The students and parents have named the program, "Manos Amigas para un mejor manana" -- "Friendly Hands for a better tomorrow."
An article was recently published in The Catholic Key, and may be found at http://catholickey.org/2011/09/08/border-fence-separates-u-s-mexican-%E2.... To become a volunteer, donate school supplies, become a sponsor, or help in any other way, please contact a Guadalupe Association member. Deacon Ross may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org; Deacon Dwayne at email@example.com; or Sandy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ecclesiastes 7: 12 says, "For the protection of wisdom is as the protection of money; and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of its owner," (The New American Bible, 2008, Wichita, KS: Devore & Sons, Inc.).
Education provides knowledge. Knowledge is empowering. By helping provide both public school education and religious education to the people of the underprivileged communities in Mexico, it can help to provide a better future for the families there, and the communities as a whole.