Teachers have the most important jobs in the world. They educate the next generation. If not for them, we wouldn’t know how to count or read. But teaching can go beyond the four corners of a classroom.

Good teachers teach us the academics – Math, English, Science, History, etc. The great teachers teach us how to live. They teach us how to be kind, giving, and become productive members of society. One of those teachers is Mandy Gillin.

Mandy is a Spanish teacher and World Language Department Chair at Conrad Schools of Science. Aside from imparting knowledge, she also teaches her students to give without expecting.

Ms. Gillin and her class are not new to serving. The Yuda Bands Project was not Ms. Gillin’s first time helping students from Guatemala. She and her class had already hosted four students from Guatemala via Faces and Our Cultures.

Mandy Gillin and her class knew about The Yuda Bands Project through blogs of fellow teachers.

They saw the Yuda Bands Project as another way to help more students in need.

“The Yuda Bands project felt like a great way for students to make an impact on the poverty we had learned about in the country we were learning about.”
– Many Gillin



When you can inspire an entire class to help, you know you’ve taught them well. Every student was more than willing to participate.

It even impressed Phillip Whiting, the Yuda Bands Project Manager. This is what he said about Ms. Mandy Gillin:

“Wow! Ms. Gillin is great! She sold all of her bands. I’ve very impressed with the way she was able to involve her Spanish Club, I hope the whole school is proud!” – Phillip Whiting

Ms. Gillin and her class started selling in the beginning of December. Before they started their service project, Mandy printed out student profiles from the Yuda Bands directory.

She wanted the class to decided who to sponsor. After a few days, they chose Juan Par Car. He is a 17-year old student in the 9th grade. He wants to graduate so he can help his single mother, two brothers, and two sisters.


What separates the Yuda Bands Project from any other service project is this: the story behind them.

Each Yuda Band sold means help to Juan Par Car and his entire family.

“Once the students got a better idea of what the bands were like and why we were selling them, they were very popular and sold themselves,” Ms. Gillin told us.

The popularity also caused an inconvenience. Students from Conrad Schools of Science, who wanted to buy, looked for bracelets they liked best. So they sorted through the delivered bracelets. And because of that, it sometimes led to lost inventory and stress.

In the end, everything was resolved and Conrad Schools of Science sold 393 Yuda Bands (which amounts to $2751) for Juan Par Car and his education.

If Ms. Gillin had one regret, it was this — she didn’t promote early enough on social media.

“Start advertising via social media early and get the word out about the cause and the quality/coolness of the bands themselves. Our district and the local news were also thrilled to be a part of spreading the news about something positive happening in our schools.”

She knew that it would spread the word and raise awareness about the project and what it stands for.



Ms. Gillin felt the Yuda Bands Project exposed her students to the value of education.

“I am hopeful it opened their eyes to the gifts we are given in this country and how we can make a difference for others from different circumstances,” Ms. Gillin said.

And her advice to everyone who wants to start a Yuda Bands Project?

“Definitely do the project – it was so great to see my students working hard for something that helped someone they had never met,” she said.

“When we got to finally meet our sponsored student, the kids were SO excited to finally meet him and felt so good and proud when he thanked us over and over again,” she continued.

The best feeling in the world is knowing you positively impacted someone’s life. The thanks and praise the students got from Juan will forever stay with them. And we’re sure, Juan will always remember and eternally grateful for what they did.

How about you?

When was the last time you helped a person in need? You don’t have to do much. You can share a meal, donate to a cause, or maybe, join the Yuda Bands Project.

Our student leaders and volunteers helped over 700 Guatemalan and Zimbabwean students finish high school.

But there’s more work to be done. There are more students out there who can’t finish school because of extreme poverty.

The good news is YOU can help! Click here to join the Yuda Bands Project today and be part of USA’s #1 Service Project.