Robert Fafinski, Jr.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Together, we celebrate children succeeding in school—progressing from one grade to the next, and ultimately graduating from high school. But it’s our partnership with their families and the breadth of opportunities you create that combine to make their education a reality.
This year 147 young men and women realized their dream of graduation. We salute their dedication and perseverance—often against tremendous odds. We honor their families for following through on their commitment to their children’s education. Your generosity binds our common hope for a future without poverty.
As always, we try to stretch every dollar and quetzal as far as we can. This year 84% of our spending, or $3.35 million, went directly to programs. For more details, you can find our audited financial statements and 990 on our website. In the meantime, you can trust that we remain hard at work fulfilling our mission every day.
As you read this letter, more than 3,100 students continue their own paths toward graduation, dreaming of becoming teachers, bilingual secretaries, engineers, and doctors. They know
you believe in them, even from far away, and that has a powerful impact. We hear it from our graduates, and we read it in the thousands of letters we translate every year. You see it, too, and share it with others.
We are profoundly grateful not only for your financial support, but also for the inspiration and encouragement you provide to our students, families, staff, and volunteers.
Thank you for sharing so generously,
You make education, wellness, and better housing possible for thousands of impoverished children and adults in Guatemala. Even more students benefit from your generosity through our innovative school partnerships, working with public primary schools to reach new standards of excellence in education. But numbers only say so much. Sometimes stories of the individuals served best illustrate the difference made. You make it possible...
When Common Hope started partnering with her school, Vicky was struggling to calm her boisterous class. Now, her class is more engaged and in control. More
Two years ago, Nelson was struggling mightily to stay in school. He found an advocate in our educational support staff and made it through, graduating and landing a great job in 2013. More
In Yesenia’s old house, her family couldn’t keep the rain out. Sometimes she had to get up in the middle of the night to move her bed out of the leaking rain. Her family earned a new house that keeps their home dry, day and night. More
When Common Hope started work in Vicky’s school, she struggled to calm and discipline her boisterous class. When our education promoter Alejandra started coming to her classroom to teach reading, Vicky saw that she used techniques that really quieted the students down and let her give her lesson without too many interruptions. So Vicky started implementing the rules and management tools that Alejandra used, and she quickly saw a difference. After a year working with Alejandra, Vicky says her class is much more engaged and in control. “I finally have order in my classroom and can teach the curriculum,” she says.
Ruby smiles broadly when talking about her plans for a career as a chef, but it wasn’t always so. She was born with a cleft lip and palate that hindered her speech, eating, and self-esteem. Common Hope funded a reconstructive surgery to repair her bite and jaw function and provided speech therapy and braces to help her eat, speak, and live a normal life. Ruby says she feels more confident these days. What’s more, she is on track to graduate in 2013 with a vocational degree as a chef. She has always liked to cook, for years helping her mother prepare chile rellenos to sell. Now, she will have a formal degree to work in a restaurant and earn a better wage, and the confidence to do so.
In tenth grade, Nelson was struggling mightily to stay in school. It wasn’t that he didn’t have the aptitude—just a year before, he finished at the top of his class. But with growing commitments at work and other family challenges, he had missed too much homework and class. Nelson approached Flor, a member of our educational support staff, who advocated for him at school, explaining the difficulties causing him to get behind. Nelson was allowed to stay in school, and Flor continued to meet with him as he worked through his challenges. He graduated in 2012 and got a great job this year, as a graphic designer with a printing company in Guatemala City. Nelson feels so grateful for his job, knowing how hard it is to find a good one. Looking back, he says he was overwhelmed by the support Common Hope’s support staff showed him—they really believed in him, he says.
In Yesenia’s old house, her family couldn’t keep the rain out. Sometimes, she would have to get up in the middle of the night to move her bed from the leaking rain. “The rain would run onto the foot of her bed and wake her up,” says her mother Rosa. The floor was also covered in mud, which was especially hard with Yesenia’s youngest sibling, who was always playing on the floor and then climbing on the bed. Now, the family has a home with a solid roof and a cement floor that keeps the rain and mud out. Yesenia and her siblings invite their friends over and have a clean, dry space to work on their homework together.
As the only girl studying to be a mechanic, Maria Jose has endured extra challenges. During her first year of high school, her classmates gave her a really hard time. They teased her a lot. But her teacher supported her completely, and she also found support in Common Hope’s youth groups, which she has attended for many years. She used to hang out with just her sister and one other friend at youth groups, but program leader Rigo challenged her to open up and get to know everyone. He told Maria that “one day, you’ll need other people.” Maria Jose took his advice, making new friends, and she is now very involved in the program. She even helps give motivational talks and trainings on Saturday mornings. “It’s so beautiful when your peers seek you out for advice,” she says. “You can’t be prideful in those moments. I’ve learned to be humble and friendly.” Maria Jose is on track to graduate this fall and will do a month-long internship with Common Hope’s mechanic after that.
|Gifts from Individuals||$938,097||$954,324|
|Gifts from Organizations||$907,533||$1,426,674|
|Total Operating Revenue||$3,607,589||$4,170,383|
| Family &
|Total Program Services||$3,101,802||$3,349,174|
|Management & General||$384,759||$384,523|
|Total Operating Expenses||$3,754,858||$4,000,579|
|Operating Revenue Less
|Incr./Decr. in Net Assets||($170,929)||$186,947|
|Net Assets, Beginning of Year||$5,812,024||$5,641,095|
|Net Assets, End of Year||$5,641,095||$5,828,042|
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