Our initial priority is for El Buen Samaritano Community Center to be fully funded and operational at least 5 days per week. It is a safe place for students to come before and after school to get a hot meal (or two), do homework, get additional education services and to be loved on by the staff and other students. When the students step in the doors they feel valued and take pride in their community center. They are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness and organization of the building. They work together and share the responsibility of keeping the place they love intact and functional for everyone. This is pretty neat to see. Ownership breeds buy-in which is essential for long-term success. Students are also given school uniforms, shoes, and supplies each year. This is not only pragmatic in the sense that they need those items, but having the proper materials has also been shown to help keep them enrolled in school. El Buen Samaritano Community Center is truly a void-filler. It provides meals when money is low, love when fathers are absent, educational opportunity when school is limited, and hope where there is none.
Where we are going
There is so much we want to do for this community. Our hearts are literally bursting at the seams with love for this place. So, what else can we do? We can provide merit-based scholarships for students to go to secondary school and beyond. We can develop sustainable economic opportunities for parents (see the endowment section). We can partner with other nonprofits who are doing amazing things in Guatemala and encourage them to serve this community. Our goal is to build up the community through sustainable employment, education, and health. We are at the beginning of the process and can’t wait to see what God does through Palms & Souls.