The Rise Youth Development Program
“They gave me the opportunity to develop my potential. Limits only exist in your mind.”
Only 10% of poor kids in Guatemala graduate from high school. With a Rise scholarship, 80% do.
53% of graduates are helping to pay for their younger siblings' education.
It Takes 12 Years
In Guatemala it takes 12 years of education to support a two-person family above the poverty line, but 90% of poor kids never reach that milestone. Many come from regions where individuals typically complete fewer than two years of schooling. Families often live on less than $4 a day and can neither afford the direct cost of attending school (tuition and fees) nor the opportunity cost of keeping children in school when they could be working and contributing to the family’s income.
In addition to economic challenges, students face many other pressures to drop out including alcoholism, gangs, teen pregnancy, abuse, and a lack of support from their families.
Each year, with the help of sponsors, the GLP provides full academic scholarships to hundreds of indigenous Maya students in impoverished communities throughout Guatemala. In addition to removing economic barriers to education, the Rise Program also wraps students in a support system to help them overcome the pressure to drop out of school:
- Sponsors’ investment in students’ education inspires them to persevere.
- Program staff provide social work, academic support, and guidance to see students through to graduation.
- Teacher guides serve as mentors and keep a watchful eye on struggling students.
- Peer mentoring builds a support system among students.
- Home visits involve parents in their children’s success.
The youth development component of the Rise Youth Development Program involves students in leadership, professional, and life skills training.
- Broadening Worldviews: Workshops on topics like entrepreneurship, women’s rights, and teamwork help students expand their worldviews and overcome obstacles to achieving their dreams.
- Career Readiness: By visiting local businesses and meeting role models in different careers, students explore the possibilities for their own future.
- Giving Back: By planning and executing their own community service projects, students learn leadership skills and develop a spirit of service.
The Rise Program achieves sustainability by transforming the lives of indigenous young people who then contribute to the development of their entire country. Currently, 53% of program graduates are helping to pay for their younger siblings’ education—breaking the cycle of poverty for more young people in their own generation.
Samuel Buc, former Coordinator of the Rise Program, put it this way: “I believe that these students will be the ones who change Guatemala as they assume roles as professionals, business owners, and fathers and mothers, and that they will be the first of many more generations with better opportunities and a solid foundation of values.“