Apr 18 2012

CFCA scholarship students serve their communities

Julio, CFCA scholar in Guatemala

CFCA scholar Julio, 15, cultivates beets to fulfill his community service commitment. He works about eight hours a week on his garden in Guatemala. He clears land, plants seeds, tends the plants, and harvests his crops to sell and help pay some of his educational expenses.

Last week we blogged about the CFCA Scholarship Program, focusing on our project in Guatemala.

Today’s blog post explores the community service component, which is one of the program’s most important aspects.

Scholarship students provide valuable service hours to CFCA projects and serve as positive role models and mentors for younger children.

Maintaining the scholarship
Students reapply for a scholarship each year. CFCA in Guatemala requires students to maintain a 70-percent grade average in each subject, participate in program activities and perform community service projects.

  • The average CFCA scholarship in Guatemala is $250, or $25 a month for 10 months (one school year).
  • Funds are deposited into the student’s savings account at the beginning of each month of the school year. The students are encouraged to save for future expenses.
  • Scholars must sign for the disbursements they receive and turn in their expense receipts.
  • Scholars may submit receipts for tuition, books, supplies, transportation and meals.
  • The main reason a student loses a scholarship is if he/she leaves school. Sometimes they must work to help support the family, they are needed at home to care for younger siblings or they experience other challenges.
  • Scholars write a letter of appreciation at each year’s end. They share their difficulties, their achievements, how the program has impacted their lives and their dreams for the coming years.

CFCA scholars in Guatemala must perform 30 to 40 hours of community service per month. The project offers areas where students can volunteer their help.

Education: Students provide this service at the CFCA office in their community by tutoring sponsored children in math or language.

Health: Students help at their community health center during vaccination campaigns, performing health surveys or providing educational talks on hygiene.

Environment: Students work with the local municipality or community development committee on reforestation projects, cleaning streets or collecting trash.

Office work: Students may work with children in their local parish or they can organize documents and records of sponsored children at the local CFCA office.

Agriculture: Students in Guatemala can also work on livelihood projects involving farm animals or crops to meet their service requirements. While not traditional community service, the project staff encourages scholars to engage in personal livelihood projects so they can learn new skills, work near their home, consume their products and earn extra income to help offset their expenses.

The CFCA scholarship does not meet all of the student’s economic needs. Families and students also help cover education costs.

“Besides the financial support, we work heavily on motivating these kids to enable them to focus on their educational goals,” said Jose Manuel Bajan Buch, who oversees CFCA education efforts in Guatemala’s Hermano Pedro project.

Click on any of the photos below to see some of the amazing projects CFCA scholars are doing in their communities!

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