High school teacher Andrea Aronson traveled to Guatemala this summer to volunteer in the Antigua preschool. She worked alongside a bright, talented young woman named Luly, a student teacher who showed a real knack for managing the classroom and relating to the children.
This wasn’t the first time the two teachers had met—Luly was just four years old when Andrea first visited her and became her sponsor. From that moment to today, Andrea says she and Luly have traveled a beautiful journey.
Despite never having traveled to Central America, Andrea was immediately taken with the idea of traveling to Guatemala after learning about Common Hope. Her first trip was in 1995, when Common Hope’s Family Development Center was still being built and our main office was located in a small house in Antigua. Andrea helped build one of the first buildings at the new site.
That first trip was the start of something big. Since then, Andrea has returned five times, and she has visited Luly on each of her trips. In 2010, she volunteered in the library and spent quite
a bit of time with Luly, who would come every day to study.
Over the years, Andrea has witnessed the struggles Luly endured to stay in school, particularly in later elementary, when she failed fourth grade twice. Andrea observed that Luly’s small home had a lot of activity and not much lighting, making it difficult to study. She saw what a great difference the Common Hope library made, to have a quiet space to study and get tutoring support.
Beauty in the process
Andrea acknowledges it takes a long view to see the poverty in Guatemala and commit to supporting the education of a young, hopeful child for more than a decade. Still, she says, “You don’t have to be goal-driven to be a sponsor. The process is very beautiful, and throughout it I was able to be very much a part of it.”
The final result has inspired Andrea, too. She is amazed by the changes Common Hope can make in the lives of young people. “It’s an incredible opportunity to have this role in giving someone a better life,” Andrea says—and she is ready to start the journey all over again. On her recent trip, Andrea sponsored Jacqueline, a young girl from San Rafael.
More photos of Andrea and Luly over the years, and Andrea’s new sponsored student:
Luly in the classroom leading a music activity: