Classes of 2012 and 2013 fully sponsored

so close graduateSuccess! All 17 students who are SO close to the finish line now have sponsors, thanks to you. These juniors and seniors are working toward graduation in 2012 and 2013, but they face incredible odds. Now, they each have a sponsor to provide the moral and financial support to get that last inch of the way. Many thanks to all of you who donated, sponsored, spread the word, or otherwise lent your support.

Below, several sponsors share why they signed on to this cause.

My daughter and I share a strong belief in the importance of education and a vision for a future world devoid of poverty. Sponsoring a young man who is working hard to complete his high school education provides us with a wonderful opportunity to take action on these values. Common Hope also gives us the chance to share the satisfaction of contributing to its mission. ––Kathy Paden and Kendra Thornbury

We were going through a grieving process the past few months after our sponsored child left the program due to needing to work to support his family. We knew we wanted to sponsor another child but just didn’t feel ready to make a decision as to which specific child until we saw your So Close campaign. Instantly we felt compelled to sponsor one of these high school students and knew God was telling us this was what we had been waiting for and the decision was made. –Mary and Pete Budner

One of the reasons I considered sponsoring one of the “almost there” kids is that these young adults have already proven themselves. They really are already winners. All they are asking for is a little support in their sprint to the finish line. When I sponsor a student, I am making an investment. The investment is first and foremost in the student, secondarily in their family and finally it is an investment in the future of Guatemala. Kedwin, or Alex as he is known, has his sights set on University. Way to go Alex!! To sponsor one of these “almost there” kids is really a small investment with big returns. I couldn’t say no. —Sandy Field

We chose Oseas because what he had written moved us. He is studying accounting, which is Bill’s field. In addition, he is the only son of a tailor—Suzanne’s grandfather was a tailor and her father learned the trade. Her father chose not to pursue that career, but he did make a coat for his first granddaughter. There seemed to be a connection and someone that we could truly help. —Bill and Suzanne Knopf

I love Common Hope and love what you do.  I have a six-year-old son that I would like to take to Guatemala someday and this seemed like a great way to get us down there when she graduates in a couple years.  I am an educator and really believe in the work that you do.  I feel useless in the world and Common Hope gives me a real tangible way to help others in need. —Marcia Kochel

After sponsoring other children over the past 20+ years and visiting the center in Antigua, we totally support the work that Common Hope is doing.  We have been meaning to “adopt” another child at Common Hope and this request via e-mail was compelling.  It’s sad to think that a child in high school would have to drop out due to lack of finances.  Ronald looks like he is a serious student and we would like to support that. —Lynn and Fred Engman

I saw the So Close campaign on Facebook and dismissed it thinking “Eh,we have four children already (including my third grade class’s boy). The next day, we  received a letter from Common Hope saying that Johana is graduating in November. BAM, it made sense to us to turn our sponsorship over to another high schooler, especially because they urgently need our prayers, support, and good wishes. Maybe Mario has never been sponsored before or his sponsor had to end the support. It would be nice to graduate  knowing a stranger cared. —Betty Kowalski

I sponsored Rene because he is so close to success so I wanted to ensure he makes it to the finish line. I an sponsoring six kids because I can do it and why not. —Patrick Walters

I was inspired to sponsor Oliver for a couple of reasons. First of all, I have a 16-year-old son, so I suppose I feel that I relate to boys of that age. It also struck me that he had never had a sponsor. I think that the teenage years are tough for any child, but for children with such extreme poverty, it has to be so much more difficult. I would hate to see someone so close to finishing his education have to drop out of school solely because his family couldn’t afford it. That would be a huge travesty, and anything we, who have so much, could do to help prevent that situation would be worth it.  My wish is that he is encouraged to stay in school and continue his education so he will have the hope of a better life.  —Evelyn Bailey

When the plea came out for the fall campaign, I asked a group of fellow teachers at Union Mill if they would consider sponsoring a kid. We decided to choose Adasila because we are all educators, and we want to give encouragement to a young person wanting to enter the teaching profession.  —Sara Kennedy and the Union Mill Elementary School Teachers

I chose to sponsor Edgar so I could help give him the same advantages I have been given. I’m a student at Oberlin College, and I have struggled to justify staying in school when there are so many injustices to go fight instead. But I love it here so much, and I’ve come to the conclusion that school is worth my time and my parents’ money—I am broadening my horizons and engaging with issues I’m passionate about so that I can effect change here and abroad. I saw that Edgar was at risk of leaving school, too, and I wanted to give him the same encouragement that I have had to stay. I want the doors that education opens to be thrown wide for both of us.  —Griff Radulski

We decided to sponsor Joseline for the following reasons:  Her smile in the photograph, being first-time sponsors who wanted to help someone finish high school, and the fact that it is a limited initial sponsorship that will 1-2 years versus many. —Mark and Kathleen Foresman

We wanted to sponsor a couple kids that could use that extra support as they neared graduation. Becky had visited Common Hope in Antigua and was inspired to extend our level of sponsorship to two more kids. When we are there, it is all the more evident how important even a high school education is in determining a person’s future. We are committed to sponsoring the students through university if they pursue this track. ––Rand and Becky Stolee 

We decided to sponsor an older child for a few reasons. Most important, we felt that it is crucial, given the current economic situation around the world, that young men and women finish their high school studies and go on to become not only self-reliant but also contributors to the future economic success of Guatemala. These young high school students must have the opportunity to provide a better future for themselves and their families, and in turn they will be part of the greater solution of worldwide ecomonic stability and growth so urgently needed today. ––Liz and Robert Backie

Special thanks to all 17 sponsors who committed to the cause, including Carol Wood and another anonymous sponsor. Thanks as well to the sponsors above who shared their stories.


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