It all started


when Brent and Laurie Whiting moved their young family of four children to Panama for a year. They wanted to give their kids a unique opportunity to see the world beyond the US and find ways to help the local people in Panama.

The Whitings met many


during their Panamanian adventure. One in particular was a 25 year old Guatemalan missionary named Daniel. With his humble do-anything-in-the-world-for-you personality, he almost became part of the family.


When asked if he would ever move to America, he simply smiled and said, “I think I was born in Guatemala for a reason. I need to help my people.”


Daniel and the Whitings eventually returned to their home countries, and they lost touch.

Now fast forward 10 years,

IT’S NOW 2006

and Brent and Laurie travel to Guatemala for a high school graduation trip with their 18 year old son Phillip. Coincidentally, or providentially, they met up with Daniel!

They spent the day with Daniel. It was a quick visit, but long enough. Long enough to see that Daniel was doing what he said he would do 10 years earlier—helping his people.

In Daniel’s Guatemalan home town,


there are 80,000 people, ONE public Jr. High, and NO public high schools. The average Guatemalan lives on less than $2 a day and has less than 3-years of schooling, and nearly the entire population seems doomed to repeat a pattern that has existed for generations—work in the fields to provide only enough food to survive.

Daniel’s approach to helping was to open the first high school. His problem: funding.

A year later the Whitings are back in


with a group of 18 friends with the goal of convincing them to sponsor students so Daniel could keep his school open. Between the Whitings and their friends they left Guatemala having committed to sponsor 35 students.

Nothing earth shattering, but it was a beginning. The following year they repeated the trip, and doubled the sponsors.

In the fall of 2008 while wandering the


in Antigua, Guatemala, an idea came from a couple of ladies in the group. It was simple. Take back some bracelets, sell them for a profit, and sponsor another student. Before leaving the country, they had come up with a name for the bracelets—Yuda Bands, derived from aYUDA, the Spanish word for help.

Back in the States, the Whiting’s high-school-age daughter Alyssa picked up a bracelet and said, “These would sell really well at my school.”

She was right.

Tied with tags that


Wear a band. Change a life. The Yuda Bands sold like hotcakes. With Daniel’s help, they shipped bracelets up from Guatemala three more times, and each time the result was the same. It was like magic. These kids wanted to help, and they were passionate about it.

Yuda Bands is officially launched in

MARCH 2009

and today has sponsored thousands of years of schooling and supports many local Yuda Band bracelet artisans.

Daniel is now the head Yuda Bands carver and has come up most of the bracelets designs himself.

The LEAD program is introduced

IN 2012

which is developed by Brent and Laurie while again living a broad in Guatemala with their family. It focuses on leadership, service, and life-skills training giving the Yuda Bands students a 300% higher chance of getting good jobs after graduation compared to those in the community that don’t go through LEAD>

In 2016 Yuda Bands expands


and starts sponsoring students in Zimbabwe just one year after Business Insider rates it as the second poorest country in the world. Today Yuda Bands has two sponsorship program locations in Zimbabwe and sponsors over 250 students on a monthly basis.

Yuda Bands


which supports hundreds of students each month in developing nations. But this movement will not continue if people don’t take action after learning about the injustice of limited education in our world. The Yuda Bands story is not over… will you be a part of it?