As many of you know, in 2016 I launched a program to help provide young people in this community with a path out of poverty through education. The hundreds of students this program has grown to support are followed by my local team throughout the school year to ensure they have the resources and support they need to thrive inside and outside the classroom. At the start of 2020, the program was thriving, and we were looking forward to having a record number of students graduate from high school.
Then, COVID-19 arrived, forcing the closure of local schools and putting our program on hold. With strong teams on both sides of the border and this community in crisis, we knew we had to act. With generous support from so many donors, over the next five months we were able to work together to provide emergency food assistance to tens of thousands of local children and adults.
I am incredibly proud of how my local team stepped up and worked tirelessly packing and distributing food to so many in urgent need during this crisis. They were unwavering in their commitment to do whatever they could to help the people of this community during a time of unprecedented need.
Now, with the school year starting, we are happy to be returning
our focus to education. Unfortunately, students of all ages throughout this community
are facing significant, new barriers to education and their futures. Some of
the students we support live in homes without electricity, let alone access to
computers or the internet. Additionally, many students whose families had been
able to provide for their basic needs before this crisis are now going hungry
on a regular basis.
Before COVID-19 education was the best chance these kids had to escape poverty – and it still is. However, without the resources and tools they need for remote learning and access to food on a consistent basis, many of them will be forced to drop out of school.
How you can help:
We need additional support to be able to provide students throughout the community with access to the internet, electronic devices, and other resources required for remote learning. We would also like to provide weekday meals for students facing food insecurity. Sadly, for some this will be the only nutritious meal they eat that day.
Some of our wonderful supporters have helped us create a friendly competition between local resorts/communities, their owners, and friends to open their hearts and invest in a better future for kids in Peñasco. Through an ‘Education Challenge’ page on our website we will track and DISPLAY the ongoing totals for each property/community.
You can make a tax-deductible donation online from now through October 31st at www.stepsoflove.org. Just click on the ‘Education Challenge’ tab at the top of the page and select the community or resort you want to receive credit for your donation. If you are not connected with any resort or community, but love Peñasco and want to help keep students in school, you can go to our website and click on the ‘COVID Relief’ tab at the top of the page.
I am often asked why it should matter to us as Americans if kids here are unable to continue their education. My response is this: Educated children become empowered adults who can lift a community out of poverty – and when this happens, we all benefit.
Thank you in advance for your willingness to participate in giving back to a community that appreciates and needs your support now more than ever.