3M Latino Resource Network (LRN) members across the U.S. and Latin America continue to volunteer their time to foster important cross-cultural relationships. Most recently, 50 volunteers partnered with Common Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty in Guatemala through education. 3Mers translated 320 letters between Common Hope students and their sponsors in the U.S. These relationships, built via a pen-pal system, encourage cultural exchange, help students gain written communication skills, and also provide a great deal of motivation for students.

In 2021, LRN members translated more than 2,800 letters. This correspondence played a role in encouraging students to stay in school despite many challenges navigating distance learning and daily life during the pandemic. By staying in school, students receive an education that will ultimately lead to positive change for their families and communities.

Fighting poverty with diplomas

Common Hope believes that education is the key to ending the cycle of generational poverty. By providing families with health care, housing, food, tuition, tutoring and other needs, these factors no longer stand as a barrier to their children’s education and the family can make education a priority.

The organization has supported the education of tens-of-thousands of students since 1986. In Guatemala where the graduation rate is less than 20%, Common Hope students are graduating at a rate of 60-70%. Today, more than 2,750 students have received their high school diploma, and 2021 Common Hope celebrated one of the largest graduating classes in history––despite a pandemic.

3M’s partnership and volunteerism with Common Hope not only weaves a fabric of cultural inclusion but also ensures that education is accessible for Guatemalan children experiencing poverty.