My son Lucas turned 16 last week. In our culture, mainly due to the correlation with drivers’ licenses and increased independence, that is quite a milestone birthday. As a parent, it makes me reflect on his journey from childhood to adulthood with conflicting emotions of nostalgia, pride, anxiety and anticipation.
It also provides an opportunity to reflect on our privilege as Americans, and as Seattle-ites, to take certain things for granted: access to education, access to basic infrastructure (roads, telephones, internet), and stable government and services. As a board member of TINFA, I appreciate that things we often see as “basic” are not considered basic in many parts of the world. In Guatemala, for instance, assuming children will complete middle school, let alone high school, is not a given. It is actually not the norm!
Many children miss significant portions of the school year because they need to provide for their family. Many work in the fields, harvesting coffee for example. Teachers try their best to catch them up once they’re back in school, but this is one of the many ongoing challenges they face. Empowering teachers by providing them with equipment and applicable training and access to real-time content resources helps them better engage students and inspire them to continue their educations.
I’m very proud of the impact TINFA continues to make by training and supporting teachers, and providing access to technology that enhances their toolkit and their skill-set. TINFA recently expanded to three new schools, thanks to support from our generous donors. I hope you’ll participate in Give Big this year to allow TINFA to continue and expand its work in Guatemala. After all, shouldn't all 16-year-olds be able to look forward to completing high school and planning for a bright future?