Yessica Calan is a hopeful, ambitious, and extremely poor Guatemalan youth looking for an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty through education. Holmes Junior High School students hope to give her that opportunity through a service project called YUDA Bands, which student leadership class members are bringing to the school and community through the end of the week.
YUDA Bands are handmade leather and coconut bracelets imported from Guatemala. The name YUDA is derived from ayuda, the Spanish word for help. Profits from the sale of the bracelets will be used to build scholarship funds for Calan.
“The amazing thing about the YUDA Band project,” said eighth-grader Max Williams, one of the project leaders, “is that something as simple as buying a $7 bracelet has the power to affect lives in a positive and life-changing way.”
In some cases, graduating from high school can mean as much as a 600 percent increase in earning potential for a Guatemalan youth. In a country where the average person receives only three years of education, a high school diploma is a ticket to opportunity.
“The only difference between the kids we’re helping and us, is that we happened to be born in a place where education is free,” said Sydney Maguire another project leader. “I think it’s awesome that we as students are helping them become students.”
Leadership class members will be selling the bracelets at Holmes through Friday.
“This project has helped me to think about my own education and how lucky I am to have it,” said Ashley Dufresne, another project leader. “I’m excited to see how the project is uniting our school and community for a good cause.”
For more about the YUDA Band project and the youth helped through the scholarship program, visit https://www.yudabands.org or e-mail Bill Williams of Holmes Junior High School at firstname.lastname@example.org.