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School Community Partners translate sponsorship mail for students in Guatemala

Sponsorship mail – a special relationship between sponsors and students made possible by translators! 

Throughout the year, sponsors and students write letters back and forth to get to know each other and their families better, to learn more about each other’s cultures, to update each other on life events, and to exchange photos, drawings, and cards. Thousands of letters are exchanged each year, which requires a lot of volunteer help translating the letters from Spanish to English and vice versa.

This is especially true during the holidays. Common Hope works hard to deliver letters in time for the holidays. This year we had help from our incredible School Community Partners, who helped translate more than 100 letters from sponsors to their students in Guatemala!

Students at St. Croix Prep

MIL GRACIAS to the following School Community Partners who hosted translation parties in their classes over the last few months! 

  1. St. Croix Preparatory Academy

  2. Clear Springs Elementary

  3. Eagle Heights Spanish Immersion

  4. Minnewashta Elementary

  5. Deephaven Elementary

  6. Minnetonka High School

A translation party is a great learning experience for students and a huge help to Common Hope

Students at our School Community Partners vary in age and grade level, but most agree that translation parties are a great way to practice their Spanish language skills. Not to mention the parties are a lot of fun! Students from Clear Springs Elementary School said, “We like Translation Parties! It’s fun that we are helping people and making a difference––and at the same time we’re learning new Spanish words!” Their teacher Sam Howard, loves doing Translation Parties with his class because it gives the students an opportunity to learn about volunteerism. 

Karen Vidlock from St. Croix Preparatory Academy in Stillwater, MN has traveled to Guatemala multiple times on a Junior Vision Team with her students and is already planning a 2021 trip. Karen connected her colleague, Spanish teacher Meredith Smith, with Common Hope. Now, Ms. Smith hosts translation parties in her classroom as well.

“Translation parties provide an authentic way for them to use their Spanish,” said Ms. Smith. “Often students only have the opportunity to use their Spanish in my classroom, but with this, they know their translations are going out [to Guatemala] and their Spanish skills helped to make a difference,” she continued.

Mara Hansen and classmates from Minnetonka High School

Students from Minnetonka High School really liked this learning experience and asked to do it again, saying that it allowed them to use their Spanish in a productive way that helped people. A special thank you to student, Mara Hansen, (pictured second from left) for organizing a translation party with her teacher Fred Moreno-Parra.

“It’s fun to spend time with friends while translating and helping people.”

Approximately 30 4th and 5th grade students at Minnewashta Elementary School came together for their fall translation party this year! Minnewashta students continue to be very engaged in Common Hope’s work and willing to help translate. Students said they loved to challenge their brain. “Some parts are hard but some parts are easy, but we can do it,” one student shared.

Thank you again to all of the students and teachers who helped make it possible for Common Hope students and sponsors to receive their special letters in time for the holidays!

If you would like to get your classroom involved, email Teresa at for more information.


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