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A partnership between Rotary clubs and CoEd
to promote literacy in Guatemala

 
 
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GLP News

2016-2017 Global Grant Submission Complete!

Rotarian and student

Global Grant #1642745, hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Guatemala Vista Hermosa (D-4250) & Downey, CA (D-5280), has been submitted to The Rotary Foundation. Thanks to YOU and your Rotary clubs and districts, we are pleased to announce that, pending approval by TRF, the total for this year's Global Grant will be $435,583!

How did we reach that amount? With the help of 124 clubs and 25 districts in 7 countries:

  • $147,066 Club/district cash contributions
  • $107,492 District Designated Funds (DDF)
  • $181,025 TRF match

$435,583 = Total Global Grant funds

Rotarians doing good

Who will we serve?

If our grant is awarded, it will bring education, literacy, and technological skills to nearly 8,000 indigenous children and young people in the Western Highlands of Guatemala!

  • Over 50 Culture of Reading Program (CORP) schools with nearly 230 teachers and 5,900 students
  • 9 Textbook Program schools with 45 teachers and nearly 1,400 students
  • 2 Computer Centers with 2 teachers and nearly 600 students
  • 1 Scholarship Program school with 95 students

GLP board member and student

How will we spend it?

Global Grant Budget

Check out the complete Global Grant application, including budget. Thank you for your support of children in Guatemala!

 

The GLP Turns 20!

smiling students

Join the Global Grant by January 1st

This is your club's very last chance to join the Guatemala Literacy Project's Global Grant and help bring literacy programs to approximately 7,700 students and teachers in Guatemala! So far we've reached $300,000 of our $450,000 goal. Will your club fill the gap and ensure every one of the 7,700 students and teachers receives this incredible opportunity?

Joining is simple:

  1. Check the pledges page of our site. If you do not see your club, we haven't yet received have your pledge.
  2. Confirm your club's participation with your international committee or board of directors.
  3. Email info@guatemalaliteracy.org by January 1. The GLP will assist with all grant paperwork, enabling your club's contribution to multiply up to 3.5 times!

Pledge Now

We want to especially recognize John Stanton of the Rotary Club of Kenilworth, UK (D-1060). To date, John has gathered GLP support from 23 clubs in 6 districts in the UK! With TRF matches to these funds on Global Grant #1642745 (pending grant approval) the total amount of UK support for the GLP this year will likely surpass $40,000. Bravo, John! Also, many thanks to the Rotary Clubs of Aspen, CO (D-5470) and Grande Prairie, AB (D-5370) for their contributions of $10,000!

Travel to Guatemala

Come to Guatemala for the GLP's 20th Anniversary!

Have you heard about the GLP's special 20th anniversary tour to Guatemala? Join us in the Land of Eternal Spring from February 3rd-12th to

  • meet the students you are helping
  • see the results of the programs firsthand
  • deliver books and computers
  • participate in special anniversary celebrations
  • fellowship with Rotarians from around the world

Deadline to register is January 1st. We can't wait to see you!

Sign Me Up

Meet the Students You're Helping

Florencio, reading program student

Florencio Teleguario considers himself the man of the house, shouldering responsibility for his mother and five sisters on his thin, 12-year-old frame. His father left for the United States years ago, but he no longer sends money back to Florencio and his family. Every day after school, Florencio works alongside his mother in the fields. Until recently, he didn’t know how to dream of a future apart from swinging a hoe and scraping by.

But then the GLP’s Culture of Reading Program (CORP) arrived at Florencio’s school, and that has made all the difference. Now Florencio’s favorite part of the week is listening to his teacher introduce a new storybook to the class. She shows them the cover, asks them critical thinking questions, and then reads the story with animation and enthusiasm. Thanks to CORP, Florencio’s attendance has improved dramatically AND he’s starting to develop a habit of listening attentively, raising his hand, and flashing a few grins around for good measure.

These are the unmistakable signs of a seed germinating in Florencio’s mind----the seed of his very own dream. Thanks to your support, Florencio is learning to read and discovering vast new horizons of opportunities for his future.

He’s not the only one. Thanks to your support students who study in the CORP Program score 58% better on reading and writing tests than students at comparison schools, and failure rates at CORP schools typically drop by 1/3.

Read more about our measurable results.

Rotary serving humanity
 

The Gears Are Turning on the new Global Grant

 

We're a month into the new Rotary year and the gears are turning for the Guatemala Literacy Project! So far 20 clubs and districts have joined Global Grant #1642745 and pledged almost $55,000 to educate children in Guatemala. It's an excellent start but we still need your help to reach our goal of $450,000 for these deserving young students.

Join the Global Grant

Would you consider talking to your club about including the GLP in your 2016-2017 budget? Here's how:

  1. Download the GLP Request for Funding, which includes details and a summary of the Global Grant.
  2. Share the Request for Funding with your club's international committee or board of directors.
  3. When you're ready to make a pledge, email info@guatemalaliteracy.org. The GLP will assist with all grant paperwork, ensuring up to a 3.5-to-1 match for your club's contribution!

The ROI of Textbooks

We also wanted to share some exciting news related to the GLP's Textbook Program. In January, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released a report on the state of education worldwide. This 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report focused on--you guessed it--textbooks. Take a look at what the educational experts at UNESCO had to say:

Global Education Monitoring Report 1

Global Education Monitoring Report 2

This is just more evidence that the money you invest in the GLP's sustainable programs is truly changing lives. Thank you again for supporting students in Guatemala.

 

A GLP Global Grant Is Getting Special Recognition from TRF!

 
fist pump

As part of its centennial celebrations in Atlanta next June, The Rotary Foundation will be recognizing outstanding global grants closed in the 2015-16 Rotary year, and guess what? One of them is a GLP global grant!

The grant, hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Guatemala Vista Hermosa and Summit County, Colorado, brought literacy and training to over 6,000 children and teachers in Guatemala and is being recognized for its

  • community impact,
  • sustainability,
  • Rotarian involvement, and
  • replicability.

This is huge news!

And Guatemala Students Are Celebrating!

Textbook Program Students

textbook program students

Computer Program Students

computer program students

Culture of Reading Program (CORP) Students

CORP students

Scholarship & Youth Development Program Students

scholarship students

Congratulations and thank you for making this possible.

Join the Current Global Grant

If you haven't already, join this year's iteration of the award-winning global grant and help bring literacy programs to approximately 7,700 more students and teachers! Here's how:

  1. Download the GLP Request for Funding, which includes details and a summary of the Global Grant.
  2. Share the Request for Funding with your club's international committee or board of directors.
  3. When you're ready to make a pledge, email info@guatemalaliteracy.org. The GLP will assist with all grant paperwork, enabling your club's contribution to multiply up to 3.5 times!

Meet Us in Atlanta

Are you planning to attend the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta next June? We'd love to see you at our booth in the House of Friendship!

Email us at info@guatemalaliteracy.org to let us know you're coming.

 

The Gears Are Turning on the new Global Grant

 

We're a month into the new Rotary year and the gears are turning for the Guatemala Literacy Project! So far 20 clubs and districts have joined Global Grant #1642745 and pledged almost $55,000 to educate children in Guatemala. It's an excellent start but we still need your help to reach our goal of $450,000 for these deserving young students.

Join the Global Grant

Would you consider talking to your club about including the GLP in your 2016-2017 budget? Here's how:

  1. Download the GLP Request for Funding, which includes details and a summary of the Global Grant.
  2. Share the Request for Funding with your club's international committee or board of directors.
  3. When you're ready to make a pledge, email info@guatemalaliteracy.org. The GLP will assist with all grant paperwork, ensuring up to a 3.5-to-1 match for your club's contribution!

The ROI of Textbooks

We also wanted to share some exciting news related to the GLP's Textbook Program. In January, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released a report on the state of education worldwide. This 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report focused on--you guessed it--textbooks. Take a look at what the educational experts at UNESCO had to say:

Global Education Monitoring Report 1

Global Education Monitoring Report 2

This is just more evidence that the money you invest in the GLP's sustainable programs is truly changing lives. Thank you again for supporting students in Guatemala.

 

New Global Grant Opportunity!
 

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

Last year the Guatemala Literacy Project's largest Global Grant ever was made possible by 131 Rotary clubs and districts like yours! Thank you for your involvement in the GLP! Your generosity is bringing the gift of literacy to thousands of Guatemalan schoolchildren.

The new Rotary year is upon us, and so it’s time to look ahead as we continue breaking the cycle of poverty in Guatemala. The GLP is already preparing a new Global Grant and lining up deserving candidates to receive its signature, sustainable literacy programs in 2016-2017.

GLP volunteer with CORP student
  • 5,900 children and 223 teachers will receive storybooks and training through the Culture of Reading Program.
  • 1,000 students will receive textbooks and 160 educators will receive training through the Textbook Project.
  • 90 young people to benefit from the Scholarship & Youth Development Program
  • 700 Mayan youth will gain technological literacy through the Computer Centers Program.

But these programs will not happen without the help of you and your club. Will you ask your club to contribute for the 2016-2017 Rotary year? Your club’s donation will be included on Global Grant #1642745, hosted by the Rotary clubs of Guatemala Vista Hermosa (D-4250) and Downey, California (D-5280), and can be matched up to 3.5-to-1 by your district and The Rotary Foundation (pending approval).

Email info@guatemalaliteracy.org to pledge now or for help making the request to your club. You can also explore this site for more information or for a list of available resources. We would like to have all pledges in place by September 1 if possible.

Thank you again for your interest in the GLP. Together, we can provide Guatemalan children the education they need to dream of a future beyond poverty.

Sincerely,

Rich Strayer, GLP Campaign Chair 2016-2017
Rotary Club of Downey, CA
richard11601@hotmail.com

Julio Grazioso
Rotary Club of Vista Hermosa

 

How does the GLP measurably improve reading scores in Guatemala?
 

GLP tourWe couldn't be more excited to update you on the amazing things that are happening in Guatemala thanks to your generosity and that of over 470 Rotary clubs who have supported the Guatemala Literacy Project since 1997.

In February, we submitted the largest Global Grant to date, at $464,292. 107 clubs and 24 districts contributed to the grant, which is sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Valle de Guatemala (D-4250) and Glenview Sunrise, Illinois (D-6440).

The grant is currently under review by The Rotary Foundation, so in the meantime we wanted to give you a glimpse into what your Rotary funds are accomplishing in 2016!

  • Kids in CORP score nearly 40% better: Once kids enter the GLP's Culture of Reading Program (CORP), they start to score nearly 40% better in early reading skills, and failure rates drop by a third. Check out the graph below to see how first graders in CORP schools compare to their peers in schools without CORP and to the national average in Guatemala.
  • Teachers regain 20% of their class time with GLP textbooks: Teachers without textbooks have to spend hours each week writing notes on the board for their students to copy. Just by handing a teacher a GLP textbook, you give them a quarter of their class time back to use for discussion, interactive activities, group projects, and questions.
  • 95% of GLP Computer Program graduates find employment or further their education: That's a huge deal in Guatemala, where about 60% of entry level jobs now require computer skills, but in some rural communities, none of the kids have ever even touched a computer keyboard before the GLP Computer Program arrives.
CORP results

In addition, 48 Rotarians and their spouses have joined a GLP Project Tour so far this year to deliver badly needed textbooks, inaugurate brand new computer centers at impoverished schools, and interact with the children and families served by the GLP!

Want to be a part of the project this year? We're gearing up for another Global Grant to benefit the GLP and we want YOU to be a part of it. Make a club or district pledge by emailing info@guatemalaliteracy.org. The GLP will assist with all grant paperwork, ensuring a match of up to 3.5-to-1 on the Global Grant!

 

GLP ANNUAL REPORT 2015-2016: GLP Celebrates Another Record-Breaking Year...Thanks to YOU!

Harvey BaxterWe are so thankful for the 106 Rotary clubs and 25 districts who, combined with matching funds from The Rotary Foundation (pending Global Grant approval), contributed a total of $464,292!

Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty that has plagued rural, indigenous Guatemalans for generations. Because of YOUR help, over 5,400 Guatemalan children and their teachers are receiving the gift of sustainable textbooks, computer centers and literacy programs.

Please click here for the 2016 GLP Annual Report
, including:

  • A list of contributing clubs and districts.
  • Details about the 2015-2016 Global Grant that will benefit the GLP.
  • A financial report showing how project funds were spent.
  • Photos of Rotarians who traveled to rural Guatemala to deliver books & computers on behalf of your club.
  • Thank you letters from children who benefit from your help.

Will you join us as the GLP kicks off the upcoming Rotary year? In 2016-2017, we invite you and your club to:

  • Have your contribution matched up to 3.5-to-1 on the next Global Grant.
  • Bring first-ever literacy programs, textbooks and computers to schools in the regions of Sololá, Chimaltenango and Quetzaltenango.
  • Join the GLP Project Tour to Guatemala from February 3-12, 2017.
Help these schools and students dream of a life beyond poverty. Please send us an email at info@guatemalaliteracy.org to pledge your support for the 2016-2017 Guatemala Literacy Project.
 

BIGGEST GLP GLOBAL GRANT EVER - SUBMITTED TO TRF!
 
GLP Update

Thanks to YOU, and your Rotary clubs and districts, we are pleased to announce that the GLP has EXCEEDED our goal of $380,000 to reach $464,292!

How did we reach $464,292?

Global Grant #1531565, hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Valle de Guatemala (D-4250) & Glenview Sunrise, Ill. (D-6440), is submitted and pending approval by The Rotary Foundation.

This grant is funded by 106 clubs and 25 districts in 6 countries:

$166,381 Club/district cash contributions
$107,360 District Designated Funds (DDF)
$190,551 TRF match
$464,292 = TOTAL GLOBAL GRANT FUNDS

 Who will we serve?

  • 40 Culture of Reading Program (CORP) schools with 157 teachers and 4,100 students
  • 11 textbook schools with 55 teachers and 917 students
  • 2 computer centers with 2 teachers and 378 students
  • What does this mean? The gift of literacy, education, and technological training for a total of 5,400 indigenous children and young people in the Western Highlands of Guatemala.

How will we spend it?  Rotary Pie Chart2.jpg

A million thanks to every single club and district who worked hard to contribute to this Global Grant! We can't wait to report on the project's success in the near future.

 

100 Clubs. 1 Global Grant. $380,000. We can't do it without YOU.
 

AgustinAgustín (pictured left) is not a typical eighth grader. At 21 years old, he is nearly a decade older than most students in his class at Hacienda María Cooperative School. But, as he chats animatedly about the new skills he is learning from the GLP Computer Center at his school, the age difference seems to vanish. Agustín is simply another eighth grader, captivated by technology and eager to share his newfound knowledge.

Why has Agustín summoned the courage to return to junior high at an age when he "should" be at the university? Because his father, an alcoholic, died when Agustín was just five years old, leaving his mother—who has never attended a day of school in her life—the sole breadwinner for a family of nine. He took a five-year hiatus from school to help earn enough money to pay for his younger brother’s education. Now that his brother graduated high school last year, Agustín finally has his chance to return to the classroom—and especially to get the technological skills he needs to be competitive in the job market.

Thanks to Rotary clubs and districts like yours,the Guatemala Literacy Project has made this chance possible for Agustín. There are thousands more courageous, determined young Guatemalans like Agustín—will YOU provide this same opportunity for them? If you do not see your club in the list to the right, then we need you to request a pledge now for the GLP. (For help go to our Resources page for presentations, brochures, and more.)

Please e-mail info@guatemalaliteracy.org to pledge your support for the Guatemala Literacy Project 2015-2016.

We also want to recognize the Rotary Clubs of Aspen, Glenview Sunrise (Ill.) and Summit County (Colo.) for contributing $8,000$7,500,and $7,000 to the GLP, respectively. Many thanks to Barb Young of Calgary, Mary Pribyl of Glenview Sunrise, and Mary Anne Johnston of Summit County for your hard work on these and other pledges that get us even closer to our goal. See the complete list of club and district support.

 

GLP GLOBAL GRANT APPROVED BY THE ROTARY FOUNDATION!

GG1422606 approvedWe are thrilled to announce that Global Grant 1422606 benefiting the Guatemala Literacy Project has been approved by The Rotary Foundation, for the amount of $372,425! This would not have been possible without your generosity and that of the other 119 clubs and 18 districts that contributed to the grant, hosted by RC Quetzaltenango (D-4250) and RC Coeur d'Alene, Idaho (D-5080). 

We are especially proud of the praise and feedback we have received from The Rotary Foundation, following the recent site visit by a member of the Cadre of Technical Advisers:

"I gave a presentation a few weeks ago on sustainability at our District Grants seminar [that] showcased your project as an example of how a sustainable project should be! You have a model program!"

- Maureen Duncan, TRF Cadre Member in Basic Education & Literacy

THANK YOU again for making this possible! And stay tuned--we hope you will continue your commitment to providing the gift of education to the children of Guatemala in 2015-2016. 

 

GLP ANNUAL REPORT, 2014-2015

Annual Report 14-15 Thanks to the help of 118 Rotary clubs and 18 districts, the GLP raised a total of $452,425 this year! Because of you, we were able to bring the gift of textbooks, computer centers and literacy programs to over 3,796 Guatemalan children and their teachers. Click here for the complete 2015 GLP Annual Report, including:

  • A list of contributing clubs and districts.
  • Details about the 2014-2015 Global Grants benefiting the GLP.
  • A financial report showing how project funds were spent.
  • Photos of Rotarians delivering books & computers on behalf of your club.
  • Thank-you letters from children who benefit from your help.
 

Will you join us as the GLP kicks off the upcoming Rotary year? In 2015-2016, we invite you and your club to:

  • Have your contribution matched up to 3.5-to-1 on the next Global Grant.
  • Bring first-ever literacy programs, textbooks and computers to schools in the regions of Sololá, Chimaltenango and Quetzaltenango.
  • Join the GLP Project Tour to Guatemala from February 5-14, 2016.
 
Help these schools and students dream of a life beyond poverty. Please send us an e-mail at info@guatemalaliteracy.org to pledge your support for the Guatemala Literacy Project 2015-2016.
 

NEWS UPDATE, December 2014
Christmas comes early to the GLP -- our grand total is $452,425!
GLP UpdateThe GLP has "wrapped up" our 2014-2015 campaign and we are excited to announce that we EXCEEDED our goal of $430,000 to reach $452,425!

One Global Grant (#1422606) for $372,425, hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Quetzaltenango & Coeur d'Alene, Idaho*

$124,367 Club contributions
$  92,937 District Designated Funds
$155,121 TRF match

 
One Global Grant (#1420737) for $80,000, hosted by the Rotary Club of Vista Hermosa & District 5280 (California)*
 
These grants will serve:
  • 40 Culture of Reading Program (CORP) schools with 4,000 students--10 more schools than expected!
  • 11 textbook schools with 2,800 students--3 more schools than expected!
  • 2 computer centers with 550 students
 
See the complete Global Grant application, including budget. Thank you for making it possible to EXCEED our goal!
 

NEWS UPDATE, November 2014
LAST CHANCE to get dollars matched on the 2014-2015 GLP Global Grant

UpdateThe GLP's 2014-2015 campaign is in the home stretch--and we are just short of our goal by $50,000. With your club's help we can still make literacy a reality for another 1,000 students.

Check the complete list of club and district pledges--if you don't see your club, we do not have your pledge. Your club MUST pledge by December 1 or it will not be included in the GLP's 2014-2015 Global Grant. Iif your district is not on this list but you know a DDF match is under consideration, please notify us immediately.

We also want to recognize the amazing support of the following Rotarians:
  • Glenn Chamberlain and Pete Erickson of District 5060 for a combined club/district contribution worth almost $40,000.
  • Colin Thacker and the Rotary Club of North Bay for an overall District 7010contribution worth $26,000.
  • Greg and Karen Podmore of the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie, for seeking out new support from several District 5370 clubs, for a total of $12,375.
Thank you for your hard work on these and other pledges that get us even closer to our goal. See the complete list of club and district support.
 

NEWS UPDATE, September 2014
100 Clubs. 1 Global Grant. $350,000. YOU can make it happen.

EmilySeven-year-old Emily (pictured left) dreams of running the tienda, the store at La Colina Primary School. Emily has spina bifida; her school is unusual for Guatemala because children with special needs are welcome to attend and receive the education they deserve. However, the quality of Emily's education will improve dramatically if La Colina receives the GLP's Culture of Reading Program (CORP). CORP provides teacher training and storybooks that have proven to increase reading skills like vocabulary, speed and comprehension by 50%.

But La Colina and Emily won't get this opportunity without YOU! If you do not see your club on this list, then we need you to request a pledge for the GLP. Check out our Global Grants page for details.

We also want to recognize the Rotary Clubs of Coeur d'Alene, ID and Summit County, CO for contributing $10,000 and $8,000 to the GLP, respectively. Many thanks to Bev Lingle and Dick Barclay of Coeur d'Alene and Joni Ellis and Mary Anne Johnston of Summit County for your hard work on these and other pledges that get us even closer to our goal.

 

Global Grant opportunityNEWS UPDATE, June 2014
Join the GLP's Global Grant opportunity!

It’s time to start looking ahead—and get one step closer to breaking the cycle of poverty in Guatemala! The GLP is already lining up deserving candidates to receive its signature literacy programs in 2014-2015:

  • 2,900 children and teachers to receive storybooks and training through the Culture of Reading Program
  • 9 secondary schools to receive the Textbook Project, providing books to 1,970 young people
  • Computer Centers in two impoverished secondary schools, bringing technological literacy to 550 Mayan youth

But these programs will not happen without you and your club’s support. Will you ask your club contribute for the 2014-2015 Rotary year? Your club’s donation will be included on Global Grant #1422606 and has the potential to be matched 3.5-to-1!

To make the request to your club, check out our Resources page, including the GLP Video and PowerPoint presentation!

 

NEWS UPDATE, May 2014
Global Grant Approved!

We are thrilled to announce that Global Grant 1412387 benefiting the Guatemala Literacy Project has been approved by The Rotary Foundation, for the amount of $339,191! This year's GLP would not have been possible without your generosity and that of the other 100 clubs and 17 districts that contributed to the grant, hosted by RC Guatemala Vista Hermosa (D-4250) and RC Summit County (D-5450).

We are especially proud of the praise and feedback we have received from The Rotary Foundation following TRF's cadre member's audit of the GLP and its partner organization, CoEd:

"It is our cadre's opinion is that this is an excellent project. It is well focused and well organized. There are many conscientious partners and COED as the lead implementer is doing an excellent job and reflects on its work to improve it." 
 - Maria Emig, TRF Regional Grants Officer 

"The GLP is the only project I've visited where the international sponsors travel in such a large group to visit the sites where the project is being implemented. It creates a lot of excitement, both for the Rotarians and for the local communities, and I think that it really embodies the vision of Rotary founder Paul Harris to create fellowship among people by doing good works. The excitement of the Rotarians involved with the GLP is contagious and it is not surprising that each year more clubs sign on to sponsor these literacy grants." 

 - Mary Jo Jean-Francois, RI Area of Focus Manager in Basic Education & Literacy 

THANK YOU again for making this possible! And stay tuned-we hope you will continue your commitment to providing the gift of education to the children of Guatemala in 2014-2015.

 

students at OlintepequeNEWS UPDATE, April 2014
GLP raises over $339,000 for the 2013-2014 year

Thanks to the help of 100 clubs and 17 districts, the GLP raised $339,191 in 2013-2014! This allowed us to bring the gift of textbooks, computer labs and literacy programs to over 3,690 Guatemalan children and their teachers. Click here for the complete GLP Annual Report, including:

  • A list of contributing clubs and districts.
  • Details about the 2013-2014 Global Grant benefiting the GLP.
  • A financial report showing how project funds were spent.
  • Photos & thank-you letters from children who benefit from your help.

Will you join us as the GLP kicks off the upcoming Rotary year? In 2014-2015, we invite you and your club to:

  • Participate in the next Global Grant
  • Bring literacy programs, textbooks and computers to schools in the regions of Quetzaltenango, Sololá and Chimaltenango
  • Join the GLP Project Tour to Guatemala from February 6-15, 2015

Our goal is to have all pledges by July 1. For any questions, or to make your club or district pledge, email literacyproject@fuse.net.

 

We zoomed past our goal, raising $339,191!!

We are thrilled to announce that this year's campaign raised a record-breaking $339,191! This is almost $90,000 more than our original goal! We are grateful to the 115 clubs and districts that have stepped up to contribute so generously.

And we have even more great news: Global Grant #1412387, co-hosted by the Summit County, Colo., and Guatemala Vista Hermosa clubs, has been submitted to The Rotary Foundation! Pending approval, this Global Grant will fund the Textbook Project, the Computer Project and the Culture of Reading primary school literacy program—benefiting 6,000 teachers and students in 38 schools.

Again, thank you and congratulations to YOU—each and every club and district who joined the GLP this year to make the project such a success!

 

newsnov132013-2014 Global Grant: We need $10,000 more for two new schools!

The GLP Campaign is in the home stretch—and we are on track for a record-breaking year! Just $10,000 more will bring first-ever textbooks to two additional schools: Colegio Bethel and Intercultural Cooperative School, Chimaltenango. Two-hundred young people in these communities are waiting for their chance to learn with GLP textbooks—if your club hasn't pledged, please do it now! To be part of this exciting Global Grant opportunity, you must notify the GLP of your pledge by December 1. 

We also want to recognize the Rotary Club of Kenilworth-Warwicks, UK, for the pledge of $3,000 and a DDF match from District 1060, for a total of $10,500 for the GLP! Many thanks to John Stanton of the Kenilworth-Warwicks club for his tireless efforts to bring in the first club and district support from across the Atlantic! Click here for the complete list of club and district pledges—THANK YOU for your generous support!

 

GLP News Sept 13Only $20,000 needed to reach our goal!
September 2013

We asked for your help, and you have responded! The GLP Campaign has already raised $255,000 in club, district and matching funds. When we meet our goal, we can promise the hope of training and traditional & technological literacy to over 5,500 Guatemalan schoolchildren and teachers!

Over 70 clubs and districts have pledged to make this dream a reality--has yours? If you do not see your club in this list of club and district pledges, then we need you to request a pledge for the GLP. (Check out our Resources page for presentations, brochures and more.)

We also want to recognize the Rotary Club of Aspen, for its pledge of $5,000 and a potential DDF match from District 5470! Many thanks to John Keleher and Heidi Hoffman of the Aspen club for their hard work on these contributions that get us even closer to our goal.

 

Rotary girlsThe GLP featured in Rotary Leader
July 2013

The GLP was recently highlighted in Rotary Leader, as an example of successful implementation of the Global Grant hosted by the clubs of Valle de Guatemala and Grosse Ile, Mich. The article demonstrates the GLP's experience with Global Grants over the last three years of the Future Vision pilot phase; we hope your club will join the 2013-2014 Global Grant to bring literacy to over 4,200 kids in Guatemala. Please contact literacyproject@fuse.net for details.

 

Skyline ImagesGLP Project Tours in The Rotarian!
July 2013

GLP Project Tour veteran, Rotarian, and professional photographer Rebecca Wilks (RC of Peoria North, Ariz.) has a gorgeous photo featured in the July 2013 issue of The Rotarian, along with a reflection on her experience with the GLP Tour. Please join us on the next tour, January 31-February 9, 2013, and check out Rebecca's other stunning images at Skyline Images.

 

NEWS UPDATE, May 2013
Join the GLP's Global Grant opportunity!

It’s time to start looking ahead—and get one step closer to breaking the cycle of poverty in Guatemala! The GLP is already lining up deserving candidates to receive its signature literacy programs in 2013-2014:

  • 4,200 children and 140 teachers to receive storybooks and training through the Culture of Reading Program
  • 7 secondary schools to receive the Textbook Project, providing books to 1,000 young people
  • A Computer Center at Almolonga School, bringing technological literacy to 150 Mayan youth

But these programs will not happen without you and your club’s support. Will you ask your club contribute for the 2013-2014 Rotary year? Your club’s donation will be included on the first post-Future Vision Global Grant #1412387 and will be matched at 50% by The Rotary Foundation (pending approval).

To make the request to your club, check out our Resources page, including the GLP Video and new PowerPoint presentation!

 
GLP News Archives:
Mar 2013 | Feb 2013 | Nov 2012 | June 2012 | May 2012 | Mar 2012 | Nov 2011 | Sept 2011 | Feb 2011 | Nov 2010 | July 2010 | April 2010 | Nov 2009 | March 2009 | April 2008 | Nov 2007 | July 2007 | May 2007 | Jan 2007 | Oct 2006 | April 2006 | Dec 2005 | Aug 2005 | July 2005
 

zunil girlsNEWS UPDATE, March 2013
GLP surpasses goal, raises $221,000

Thanks to the help of 83 clubs and districts, the GLP raised $221,000 in 2012-2013! This allowed us to bring the gift of textbooks, computer labs and literacy programs to over 3,780 Guatemalan children and their teachers. Click here for the complete GLP Annual Report, including:

  • A list of contributing clubs and districts.
  • Details about the 2012-2013 Global Grant benefiting the GLP.
  • A financial report showing how project funds were spent.
  • Photos & thank-you letters from children who benefit from your help.

Will you join us as the GLP kicks off the upcoming Rotary year? In 2013-2014, we invite you and your club to:

  • Participate in the first post-Future Vision Global Grant
  • Bring literacy programs, textbooks and computers to 6,100 Guatemalan children
  • Join the GLP Project Tour to Guatemala from January 31-February 9, 2014

Our goal is to have all pledges by July 1. For any questions, or to make your club or district pledge, email literacyproject@fuse.net.

 

Guatemalan girls with textbooksNEWS UPDATE, February 2013
Guatemala welcomes GLP Rotarians!

A group of 30 Rotarians from the U.S., Canada and the Cayman Islands have just returned from the GLP Project Tour, having joined local Guatemalan Rotary Clubs to successfully bring vital educational resources to over 5,500 young people in Guatemala. The GLP's message continues to spread; check out some of the great media coverage we have received recently:

Summit, Colo., Daily News: Rotary in Guatemala
Peoria, Ariz., Times: Rotarians travel with GLP
Cayman News Service: Local Rotarians head to Guatemala on key project
The Grand Coulee, Wash., Star: Rotarian to travel withGuatemala Literacy Project

 

NEWS UPDATE, November 2012
Global Grant Proposal Approved--only $20,000 more to reach our goal!

CORP kidsWe are pleased to announce that 2012-2013 Global Grant Proposal to benefit the GLP has been accepted by The Rotary Foundation! Hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Valle de Guatemala & Grosse Ile, Michigan, the Global Grant #26128 application will be submitted by the end of the year. Once approved, it will establish new textbook, computer and primary school reading programs in the Western Highlands of Guatemala.

A big THANK YOU to the 60 clubs and districts that have already pledged $130,000 to the GLP this year! With the pending match from The Rotary Foundation, this will bring us just $20,000 short of our $200,000 goal. 

Will you help us close the gap of $20,000 by making a contribution to this project? Even a small contribution helps! Our goal is to have all pledges by December 1. For any questions, or to make your club or district pledge, email literacyproject@fuse.net.

 

CORP kidsNEWS UPDATE, June 2012
Global Grant for GLP Approved—$185,021 raised this year!

We are pleased to announce that the Global Grant benefiting the GLP has been approved by The Rotary Foundation! This grant, for the Rotary year 2011-2012, is co-hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, and Windsor-Roseland, Ont.

This grant brings the 2011-2012 total amount raised for the GLP to $185,021! We want to thank YOU, our GLP Rotarians, for supporting this project—click here for the complete list.

Of course, the fundraising continues as the new Rotary year kicks off next week. Our goal is to have all pledges by September 1. For any questions, or to make your club or district pledge, email literacyproject@fuse.net.

 

Joni Ellis & Mary Anne JohnstonNEWS UPDATE, May 2012
GLP Featured in Rotary District 5450 Newsletter

The GLP was featured in the recent newsletter of District 5450, thanks to GLP Rotarians Mary Anne Johnston and Joni Ellis! Would your club or district newsletter like to mention the GLP? Email literacyproject@fuse.net and let us know how we can help make that happen!

 

NEWS UPDATE, March 2012
Successful 2011-2012 GLP Campaign Draws to a Close
 

GLP ReportThank you to all contributing clubs and districts in 2011-2012! YOUR generosity made it possible for Rotarians from all over North America and Guatemala to deliver 6,000 textbooks, inaugurate computer centers benefiting 700 young people, and bring over 6,800 reading books to 1,900 schoolchildren.

Click here for the full 2011-2012 GLP Delivery Report, including a list of all contributing clubs and districts, photos and thank you letters from the Guatemalan children benefiting from your generosity!


NEWS UPDATE, November 2011
Computer Teacher Receives International Honor
 

Danilo NoriegaGLP computer teacher Danilo Noriega recently received international recognition when he won Microsoft’s Partners in Learning: Innovative Teachers competitions at the local level in Guatemala City and at the regional level, in Santiago, Chile. Danilo's first place prize at the regional competition earned him an invitation to Microsoft’s prestigious Partners in Learning Global Forum, held from November 7-10 in Washington, D.C. More than 200,000 teachers around the globe participated in the Innovative Teachers competitions, with only around 700 educators receiving an invitation to Microsoft’s annual conference.

Danilo’s prizewinning project was an assignment in which his students at Hacienda Maria’s Computer Center used Microsoft Office to develop, create, and market their own products, such as all-natural soap, face cream, and a hat with an embedded MP3 player and headphones. “It was a great satisfaction to win the contest,” Noriega commented. “But my students deserve the credit for coming up with the idea. I only gave them guidance and helped them develop the methodology. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the GLP’s support.” 

YOU Made it Possible!
We are so proud to see students with no prior computer experience using technology to become young entrepreneurs. Congratulations to Danilo and to all of you who support the GLP as we deliver high quality computer instruction to kids in Guatemala. YOU are giving Guatemala’s youth the tools to embrace the digital age and use technology to help break the cycle of poverty in their country.


NEWS UPDATE, September 2011
GLP Rotarian Awarded "Service Above Self"
 

Fr. Bernie NessThe Guatemala Literacy Project is pleased to announce that another GLP Rotarian, Fr. Bernardine Ness, OSB, has been awarded the prestigious Service Above Self Award! Fr. Bernie, a member of the Rotary Club of Cobán, Guatemala, has been a part of the GLP almost since its inception in 1997.

This award is Rotary's highest honor for individual Rotarians, recognizing those who have displayed exemplary humanitarian service with a focus on active involvement in helping others. Of the 1.2 million Rotarians, the RI Board only selected 134 Rotarians to receive the award in 2010-2011. Fr. Bernie was nominated for the 38 years he has spent in Guatemala improving the education, health and nutrition of impoverished Mayans, including many years of supporting the GLP. Congratulations, Fr. Bernie!

NEWS UPDATE, February 2011
GLP Wraps Up Successful 2010-2011 Fundraising Campaign

GLP Report 2010-11This month, Rotarians from all over North America, Guatemala and the Grand Cayman Islands delivered 6,060 textbooks, inaugurated computer centers benefiting 1,397 young people, and brought literacy programs to 1,245 schoolchildren.

Click here for the full 2010-2011 GLP Delivery Report, including a list of all contributing clubs and districts, photos and thank you letters from the Guatemalan children benefiting from your generosity!


Fernando Fernando Augusto Gonzalez:
Learning to read, reaching for the stars

Fernando Augusto Gonzalez thinks about his parents all of the time. He wonders where they are; he imagines what they might be doing in that particular moment. Maybe, just maybe, they’re thinking about him, too.

Fernando lives with his grandparents in the impoverished, rural community of Santiago Sacatepéquez, Guatemala. His parents migrated to the United States when he was a baby, in search of jobs that could support their growing family. Indigenous and illiterate, Fernando’s parents had few prospects at home, where more than half of the region’s residents live in chronic poverty and compete for limited resources.

Fernando’s grandparents put a roof over his head and give him plenty to eat. They even saved up their meager earnings for several months to buy him a uniform – without which he would not be able to attend school. Fernando knows they love him. But it’s not the same. He prays every night to be reunited with his mother and father. He wants to be a family again.

From time to time, Fernando’s parents send small amounts of money home. But the opportunities they hoped to find in the U.S. have been scarce and unpredictable. Fernando says his parents encourage him to stay in school andl earn to read, so that he can have a better life. Like all parents, they want more for their children.

The Culture of Reading Program (CORP) at Fernando’s school gives him, and his family, hope for a brighter future. Since entering the program last year, Fernando has blossomed. Once a shy and indifferent student, he now shows up early for school so that he can spend quiet time perusing the books CoEd provides his class. He has become an enthusiastic reader and learner, and often volunteers to act out the stories in front of the other second graders. His teacher jokes that Fernando will soon take over her job.

Fernando has bigger fish to fry. He wants to get a job in the capital, earn a lot of money, and help his parents to move back home. Fernando is confident in his abilities to succeed. All he needs are the right tools.

Before the GLP came to his community, Fernando risked becoming another statistic: one more drop-out, one more illiterate child, one more indigenous Guatemalan relegated to the cycle of poverty. All that has changed.

Besides improving his reading skills, CORP has also helped Fernando develop his talents as an author. I like to write about the stars and how I see my family in them,” Fernando states wistfully. “I know that, no matter where we are or how far apart we live, we can look up at the sky and see the same thing.”

For Fernando’s family, teachers and classmates, he is the star—burning bright with potential and promise for a better life, beyond the limited circumstances into which he was born.


Montreal ConventionNEWS UPDATE, July 2010
The GLP a Big Success at the RI Convention in Montreal!

The GLP was selected to have a booth and be featured in a breakout session at the 101st RI Convention in Montreal last month. More than 18,000 Rotarians from around the globe attended the convention, including 14 of our GLP Tour Veterans. Over the course of five days, we had the privilege of talking to hundreds of Rotarians about our self-sustaining projects. GLP Rotarian Carolyn Johnson's (Yarmouth, ME) breakout session on our primary school reading program was very well-attended and generated a lot of new interest. We met many wonderful people who share our passion for service and literacy, and the enthusiasm towards our projects was tremendous.

Please join us in welcoming the many Rotarians we met in Montreal to the GLP. We invite them to become active in our efforts to provide textbooks, computers and reading materials to schools in the 2010-2011 Rotary year!


NEWS UPDATE, April 2010
The GLP Announces its New Video!

Marcelino Axpuac: Once a Skeptic, now a believer in the power of working together to improve the lives of Guatemalan children.

Marcelino AxpuacMarcelino Axpuac is one tough customer. When GLP Rotarian Carolyn Johnson (Yarmouth, ME) showed up at his school in the town of Santiago Sacatepéquez in February 2009 to roll out the elementary school’s new Culture of Reading Program (CORP), he sat in the back row at the welcome ceremony. His arms were crossed defiantly, a grim look tattooed on his weathered face. He’d seen it all before. Development organizations show up in his village, make big promises they can’t or won’t keep, and then move on, leaving the townspeople to pick up the pieces. Marcelino used to let his guard down. He would, in the past, allow himself to get excited about potential opportunities for his students and their families. But not anymore. He’d learned his lesson.

Sensing his disapproval, the GLP took pains to engage Marcelino and explain how CORP is different from other development projects. Carolyn Johnson, CORP Project Manager, thought it would be an easy sell. After all, the GLP does not engage in dump-and-go development. The organization has a 13-year track record of building sustainable programs and long-term relationships with project communities. Marcelino wouldn’t budge.

“Organizations like yours lose interest quickly,” he retorted. “Then you leave. We’re no better off than we were before.”

Carolyn and her team persevered. They conducted their training, showing the teachers how to read books to their students and engage them in active classroom learning. Surprisingly, Marcelino attended every session, and took copious notes.

Training over, it was now time for the teachers to go back to their classrooms and practice what they had learned. But first, the GLP team handed each participant a stack of 12 high-quality children’s books. Marcelino couldn’t hide his surprise, or his enthusiasm.

“Other organizations tell us what to do, and some even show us how,” he explained. “But they don’t give us the tools we need to be successful. Imagine telling a poor carpenter to build a house, but not giving him a hammer.”

Carolyn could sense some major cracks forming in Marcelino’s steely façade.

The GLP training team traveled back to Santiago Sacatepéquez three months later to conduct follow-up training and classroom observations. All teachers—especially Marcelino—showed a remarkable grasp of the CORP concepts they had learned. And the students seemed actively engaged and interested in the learning process.

In September, Carolyn visited the community again to deliver its final round of training. As she set up her presentation materials, Marcelino approached her. Choking back tears, he thanked Carolyn, and the GLP, for bringing CORP to his community. “My kids are reading!” he enthused. “And for the first time, they care about school. And their parents do, too. This program is going to make such a big difference in their lives. The GLP is the best thing that has ever happened to us.”

Marcelino has agreed to help the GLP train other teachers entering the program. He has even filmed some instructional videos demonstrating CORP techniques, such as how to hold a book (face forward, so that the kids can see the illustrations). Who knows? In his new role, Marcelino may even manage to convert a skeptic or two.


Carolyn JohnsonNEWS UPDATE, March 2009
GLP Rotarian wins Service Above Self Award

The Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP) has much to celebrate during Rotary's Literacy Month. Our very own literacy advocate Carolyn Johnson, of Yarmouth, ME, has been awarded the prestigious Service Above Self Award! This award is Rotary's highest honor for individual Rotarians, recognizing those who have displayed exemplary humanitarian service with a focus on active involvement in helping others. Of the 1.2 million Rotarians, the RI Board selects a maximum of 150 Rotarians to receive the award every year. Carolyn was nominated for the work she is doing with the GLP to change the culture of reading and improve literacy in Guatemala. Congratulations, Carolyn!


Delivery TourNEWS UPDATE, April 2008
GLP Delivers textbooks & computers to 5,200 more children!

The Guatemala Literacy Project is excited to share how we are finishing up another great year. This year's projects would not have been possible without the support and commitment of the 87 clubs and 23 districts that contributed to the GLP. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to bring hope through better educational opportunities to over 5,200 additional Guatemalan schoolchildren.

(Click here to see photos!)

In February, 46 Rotarians and spouses traveled as part of our book and computer delivery delegations to Guatemala. This was the largest group ever, including 37 from the United States, 7 from Canada and 3 from the Cayman Islands.

The Rotarians traveled to some of the most remote corners of Guatemala to deliver textbooks to 20 schools (in San Marcos, Quetzaltenango and El Quiche) working shoulder-to-shoulder with members of the Xela, Del Valle and Vista Hermosa Rotary Clubs. The tours also inaugurated 7 computer centers, including La Esperanza, and Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos. These two schools have received (and done well with) the Rotary GLP textbook program within the last two years. These centers will provide at least two weekly computer classes to each of the 696 students that attend these schools.

Here’s what some of our dedicated GLP Volunteers had to share about their experiences on our Delivery Tours:

"I believe that you don't really understand the gift of being a Rotarian and the ‘power of one’ until you have participated in an international service trip. I believe that the GLP Delivery Tour is a great place to begin your international service career."
- Sheila Mosley, Windsor-Roseland, ON

"The whole trip was special to me. It made me feel I was making a difference in the world, but more importantly to children."
- Mitch Phillips, The Jeffersons, NC

“The long-term effect of the project, providing the means for people to plan for their future, is the real life example of giving 'hope'."
- Carolyn Johnson, Yarmouth, ME

"The trip was extremely rewarding because we saw the good that our funds provide."
- Mary Bak, Glenview-Sunrise, IL

"One mother expressed her gratitude to our group, saying, "God will reward you in heaven." After the ceremony, I offered her a pen and pencil, and she started crying. That is the one story that really sticks with me. We all have so much; we can't even imagine what is it like not to have a pen or pencil and what a gift it can be. It still brings tears to my eyes."
- Gretchen Liebenberg, Gig Harbor, WA

Consider joining the next GLP Tour! Space is filling up quickly, so contact us soon for more information and an application.


Rotary Korea coverNEWS UPDATE, November 2007
International GLP Exposure

The GLP is excited to announce that we are receiving even more exposure throughout Rotary International. This publicity is in addition to our highlights at the RI Convention, in the RI Annual Report, and our features in The Rotarian and Rotary World. District Literacy Coordinators throughout North America received a publication called Every School a Star - A Literacy Tool Kit. The GLP was at the top of the Resources and Service Opportunities list. What an accomplishment to be included in such a widely circulated kit! Another publication surprised us all by demonstrating the truly international spirit of the GLP when one of our very own Rotarians, Marie Munday (Aspen, CO), was featured on the cover of The Rotary Korea magazine.

Congratulations! The GLP continues to make its way around the world!


ConventionNEWS UPDATE, July 2007
Rotary International Convention

The GLP was selected as one of just four literacy projects to deliver a panel presentation at the 98th RI Convention in Salt Lake City last month. Approximately 14,000 Rotarians from around the globe attended the convention, including 22 of our GLP Tour Veterans.

Over the course of five amazing days, all of us who worked at the booth had the privilege of talking to hundreds of Rotarians about our self-sustaining projects. We met many wonderful people who share our passion for service and literacy. Brochures and tour information were disappearing faster than we could keep in stock, and the enthusiasm towards our projects was tremendous.

Please join us in welcoming the many Rotarians we met in Salt Lake City to the GLP. We invite them to become active in our efforts to provide textbooks and computers to schools in the 2007-2008 Rotary year!


Chris HendersonNEWS UPDATE, May 2007
GLP brings hope to 5,600 more children!

We are pleased to report another very successful year for the Guatemala Literacy Project. Rotary volunteers helped in delivering new textbooks and inaugurating computer centers throughout 26 communities. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to bring hope through better educational opportunities to over 5,600 additional Guatemalan schoolchildren.

This year's projects would not have been possible without the support and commitment of the 84 clubs and 23 districts that contributed to the GLP. Thank you.

Thirty-five Rotarians from the United States, Canada and the Cayman Islands volunteered their time, labor and dedication to the GLP Delivery Tour in February. Some of their thoughts and impressions are shared below:

"One lasting image is that of a 7th grader sitting with a very old woman, showing her a book. The amazement in both of their faces revealed the potential of this worthwhile program." -Steve and Bonnie Avard, Grayson, TX

"I will not forget the moment when one of the 2nd graders sat next to me, put her little hand on my knee, and kept it there for a long time, just chattering away."
-Pieter Vos, Sun City West, AZ

"If I tell people one thing about the delivery tour, it will be that it was the best trip of my life." -Diane Damico, Glenview Sunrise, IL


 

NEWS UPDATE, January 2007
GLP featured in two Rotary International publications!

Rotary World, RI's quarterly newspaper, featured an article this month about the successes and continued efforts of the GLP. Enjoy reading the article in Rotary World.

The GLP also received the distinction of being highlighted three times in Rotary International's 05-06 Annual Report! Our photos appear on both the front and back cover and on page 6. The authors of the report congratulate our efforts, stating, "Club- sponsored literacy projects are empowering disadvantaged children around the world - Mayan youngsters in rural Guatemala, who previously had no access to computers, are learning new skills."


Matthew KaneNEWS UPDATE, October 2006
GLP leaders recruit new Guatemalan schools

Each August, Rotarians, staff and other volunteers travel throughout the Guatemalan highlands, offering the Textbook Project to principals and teachers at impoverished schools. This year we were fortunate to be joined by Rotarians Glenn Chamberlain (Ephrata, WA), Carolyn Johnson (Yarmouth, ME), Ann & Malcolm Williams (Dawson County, GA), Gary Law (Tempe South, AZ) and Matthew Kane (North Raleigh, NC; pictured right).

The recruitment teams visited over 40 schools in 5 days, driving long hours on bumpy, rural roads in some of the most breathtaking regions of Guatemala. It was all worth it, though, when the teams were welcomed by the schools, grateful for this exciting opportunity for their students.

A selection of professional photos by photographer Greg Rust, available in a 3-minute slide show, tells the Recruitment Tour story. Take a moment to view his incredible images. A word of caution, however: View them at your own risk as you may be tempted to join us next time!


NEWS UPDATE, April 2006
Microsoft partners with GLP to provide technology support

The GLP has much to celebrate after a Guatemalan press conference in which Microsoft formally presented to CoEd/GLP a $55,000 grant for computers and $200,000 in computer software.

CoEd staff members, Microsoft representatives, media, students and a principal from our projects were present for this exciting occasion. Our staff was given the opportunity to explain the project to the media and several newspaper articles resulted from this press conference. The students and Zolia Aleman, principal of Tecpán National School, also gave powerful testimonials about their positive experiences with the GLP.

Microsoft’s generous gift will greatly support both the current students of our 16 Computer Centers as well as countless future beneficiaries.


NEWS UPDATE, December 2005
GLP goes to the United Nations!

The Rotary Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP) recently received the honor of being asked to speak at the United Nations for UN-Rotary Day on Nov. 5. Rotarian Glenn Chamberlain, our National Co-Coordinator, served as our speaker, representing all Rotary clubs that support the GLP. The following is a personal account of his experience:

The United Nations and I have a lot in common. We both recently turned 60. At an age when most are considering retirement, we are just getting started. And perhaps most importantly, Rotary International plays a central role in both of our lives.

My involvement with Rotary goes back thirty years. The UN’s relationship with RI dates back to 1945, when about 80% of the delegation members to the UN Charter Conference were Rotarians. RI continues to play a vital supporting role in the UN’s international humanitarian efforts.

It is against this backdrop that my wife, Carolyn, and I and Joe and Rebecca Berninger from the Cooperative for Education (CoEd) traveled to New York City in early November to participate in the 2005 UN-Rotary day. The event took place at United Nations headquarters. It involved Rotarians from around the world as well as high-level UN representatives. We gathered to discuss how innovative RI projects are working to achieve the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a world-wide effort to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by the year 2015.

I was excited to tell the world (quite literally!) about the Rotary-CoEd GLP. And how, together, 242 Rotary Clubs from 35 districts and CoEd are succeeding in breaking the cycle of poverty in Guatemala through education.

The GLP was very well received. After the presentation, many in the crowd approached me to commend us on the innovative and important work we are doing. They were most impressed by the projects’ sustainability--how student fees pay for future replacement of books and equipment. Many wanted to know how they could replicate our projects in other countries.

Spending the day at the UN was a humbling and eye-opening experience. We hear a lot these days about corruption and politics at the UN. What we don’t hear about are the countless individuals dedicated to working with and within the UN to better the lives of those who suffer from poverty, in all its manifestations. Disease, hunger, and want know no political boundaries.

For me, “Service Above Self” is much more than Rotary’s motto--it is a battle cry for all who refuse to sit by idly while millions (many of whom are children) around the world do not have access to such basic necessities as books, clean water, inoculations and increasingly, technology. There is so much we can do to help. And we are just getting started.


NEWS UPDATE, August 2005
Guatemalan student calls GLP Co-Director to say “Thanks for the books!”

Glenn Chamberlain

Recently, Ephrata, WA Rotarian Glenn Chamberlain answered his phone and heard an operator say, “I have a long distance call from Guatemala, will you accept the charges?”

Fortunately Glenn, the National Co-Director of the Guatemala Literacy Project and 8-time visitor to Guatemala with CoEd, knew it had to be important and answered “yes.” He then found himself thrown into a broken conversation in Spanglish with Sindy Lopez, a young girl from Olintepeque Cooperative School. Sindy reminded Glenn that he had given her his business card during the textbook project inauguration at her school, which he and other Rotarians had visited on the most recent delivery tour.

“She told me all about what the books were doing for her in her school,” Glenn says with surprise. “She thanked me several times for coming all the way to Guatemala and to her school to bring the books. She talked about her homework and the fact that she now has books to read from and paper to write on.”

Glenn goes on to say that this call reinforced his gratitude to Rotary for introducing him to such international fellowship. “Even though my Spanish is no muy bien and her English is even worse, we were able to communicate pretty well.”


NEWS UPDATE, July 2005
The Rotary Centennial Convention

bannerAs you may know, Rotary International is one of our largest contributors and has supported CoEd’s work in Guatemala since 1997. This partnership between North American & Guatemalan Rotary clubs and CoEd is called the Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP). Over 240 Rotary Clubs have made contributions and dozens of individual Rotarians have spearheaded fundraising initiatives to benefit the schoolchildren of Guatemala.

This past June, the GLP was selected as one of two literacy projects, worldwide, to be represented at the Rotary Centennial Convention in Chicago.  CoEd staff and Rotary Delivery Tour veterans were pleasantly surprised and impressed by the sheer volume of Rotarians who stopped by the booth.  The saris, turbans and robes, mixed with western dress, emphasized the greatest aspect of being a Rotarian—international fellowship with others from around the globe.  

“In my country,” remarked a Rotarian from Ghana, “children also go to school without books.”  He now plans to involve his Rotary club in an effort to replicate the GLP model in that country.  “Education,” he said, “is the only way our young people can hope to succeed.” 

Other visitors were more interested in getting their clubs involved in Guatemala Literacy Project 2005-2006: “This is just the project I’ve been looking for,” said a Rotarian from Missouri.  “Every year, my club just puts checks in the mail.  The GLP will give us a chance to connect with the people we are helping.  I’m planning to join the book delivery tour in February.”

Over the course of five days at the convention, Jeff, Joe and current GLP supporters talked to over 800 Rotarians at the booth.  Brochures, copies of the Rotarian magazine featuring the GLP, and tour information were disappearing faster than they could keep them stocked.  

groupRotary supporters of CoEd are thrilled to see this kind of momentum build for the Guatemala Literacy Project. They see this year as the greatest opportunity yet to deliver a blow to Central American illiteracy.  The 2005-2006 goal for the GLP is to place first-ever textbooks in fifteen schools in the impoverished Quiché and Quetzaltenango regions of Guatemala. They also have a goal of establishing six new computer centers, which will focus on giving marketable technical skills to high school kids.  In all, approximately 4,000 students will be given the gift of traditional and technological literacy, skills which are key to breaking the brutal cycle of poverty.