Having the opportunity to graduate from high school is something that many of us take for granted in the U.S. However, it is not something that goes unappreciated in this community. I have been amazed to learn how many families here do not have the resources necessary for their children to attend high school. I have been even more surprised to learn how many families are not able to send their children even to grade school due to lack of resources. As a parent, I honestly cannot imagine having to choose between meeting my family’s basic needs and sending my kids to school. Learning how many families here are faced with that decision is what motivated me to start a program to help more young people here have the chance to go to school and succeed academically.

Over the past three years, as we have grown from supporting 72 students to almost 600 students, I have received many incredibly emotional messages of gratitude from our students and their parents. Quite honestly, when I find myself exhausted wondering if I can keep working harder than I have ever worked at anything in my life, these words keep me going. I have often found myself wishing that others could also hear directly from these families what this program means to them. Since it is November and Thanksgiving is upon us thought I would share a couple of the messages of thanks we have received from families we support.

From a mother of four boys who, along with her husband, works full time. Unfortunately together they earn only about $80 USD a week which is not enough to keep all four boys in school:

“I always tell my boys, the only thing that will bring you a better life is education. Now that we are in this program we feel as if we matter. We no longer have to choose between sending our kids to work or to school. Thanks to you and thanks to God this is no longer our case. We cannot thank you enough for this opportunity.”

A single mother of two boys who works full time cleaning houses. Three years ago her oldest son was a straight ‘A’ high school student faced with dropping out his senior year due to lack of funds. Thanks to our support, he has now graduated from high school and is in his second year of college studying engineering:

“I am so grateful to you honestly. In other places there is no support like this. That is why so many here grow up without finishing their education. Many times they don’t even have the money to buy a single pencil and that is the sad truth. I feel great now knowing that my son can continue his education and is preparing for the future. He doesn’t have to be like so many of us here working for little money and with no hope for a better life.”

From an eight year old who attends one of our homework clubs:

“Tia Katy, thank you so much for all of the help and support you give us and the time you dedicate to each child in this club. We love you very much.”

And now my message of thanks:

“This Thanksgiving I am incredibly thankful for the many donors and volunteers who have joined me in this effort to give kids from this community hope for a better future through education.”

If you would like to make a one-time donation or sponsor a student in our program go to www.stepsoflove.org

A sweet note I received from an 8 year old student

A beautiful poem I received from one of our older students

A handmade gift I received from one of our grade school students

Hugs from our students are one of the best gifts I receive