Esperanza Juvenil (Boys Hope Girls Hope Guatemala) helps academically motivated children and youth rise above disadvantaged backgrounds and become successful in college and beyond. The West Foundation is pleased to share this update on their behalf:
At the end of 2020, our Board of Directors made the bold decision to transform our school campuses into temporary residences until the government lifted the in-person schooling restriction, as in their villages students not only lacked technology, but also proper studying areas, adult supervision, and support. This allowed us to take in around 40 more students (who are normally day students only) into our residential program, reaching the highest number of residential students the program has ever had.
Given that the government restrictions extended through the beginning of our school academic year in January 2022, our Board of Directors decided to prolong our temporary residential program and virtual education at least through the first semester of 2022. This ensured we continued providing adequate support to all our students. In January 2022, we welcomed 25 new students from different parts of the country. 70% are 9 and 10-year-old students who joined our 3rd and 4th grade elementary school program; the other 30% are students in other elementary grades for which we had openings. We are committed to providing all of them with education and comprehensive care for optimal development. This group is lagging behind much more than the rest of our scholars, as they come from public schools where for almost two years they received little or no education. This was because schools were closed and resources, logistics, and necessary staff were unavailable for virtual or remote education. We are focusing on academic levelling, psychological support, health and nutrition, and ensuring that the adaptation process is positive for our new students. In total, this year we are serving 153 scholars and 42 collegians who study at different universities in the country. We also celebrated the graduation of 13 college students who are now out in the professional world. Our program keeps growing every year and, by 2026, we will have 86 college students and 23 graduates!
After careful planning and putting into place all security measures and protocols to keep everyone safe, we welcomed all our school students and teachers to their classrooms on July 5, 2022 and resumed face-to-face education. Most of the scholars who live with their families moved back home and are now coming to class every day again. A few realized the residential program better fit their needs and have continued to live on campus.
The energy of the scholars and entire team could not be more electric as we gather in person again after two-and-a-half years of virtual schooling. We are very excited about the renovations we have done on the two campuses, as we are sure it will positively impact our students in their academic and personal development.
Plans and goals
As we return to in-person programming, Esperanza Juvenil now faces new and exciting challenges. In the second semester of 2022, our school staff will focus on leveling students academically to fill important learning gaps from the past two years. Crucial skills in subjects like mathematics, language (reading and writing) and English are priorities. As with previous years, we want to make sure that all scholars finish the year successfully and move on to the next grade. We are also working hard through our school and transition to college staff to make sure that the ten scholars in the senior high school class pass their college admissions exams and are prepared to start college in 2023. Since the beginning of the year, our academic team has been implementing some important adaptations made to our school curriculum that focus specifically on preparation for college admissions exams and job entry tests (technology and English).
As we begin our second semester of school, our school leaders will be monitoring students’ performance, tweaking the curriculum, and providing additional personalized tutoring for scholars who require it. As students move forward from two very difficult years of change and personal and family distress, personalized social-emotional support will continue to be a priority. Our program has two dedicated staff following up on students’ general wellbeing and individual critical cases.
Learn more at our website: Esperanza Juvenil