Letter From Our Chairperson
As difficult as the year 2020 was for the families of Nuevo San Jose and Fátima, the problems would, no doubt, have been far worse without the help of the supporters of the the Mountain School through La Montaña Fund.
Early in the year, when Guatemala closed its borders, the school shut down, the traditional food markets closed, the transportation systems stopped, and day labor opportunities closed up.
The very survival of the rural communities was in doubt. The board decided to undertake the Emergency Food Project, the goal of which was to avoid the potential disaster of widespread hunger and the dissolution of the communities around the School. We are so grateful that our donors stepped up to fund that program. Over $50,000 was raised and spent for the Food Project alone during last year.
Many thanks to Carlos Sanchez, Director of PLQ, who organized and directed the purchase and delivery of a month’s worth of food for 450 people ten times over the last year. Once the food was delivered from Xela, members of the community came to the patio in front of the school where they weighed and bagged the food. They made sure that no one was left out. Since then, we have gotten many messages of thanks and appreciation.
On behalf of the members of the board of La Montaña Fund, I would to thank our generous donors who made it possible. We hope we can soon meet back up with our friends in Guatemala as things start to open back up.
President, La Montaña Fund
Emergency Food Project
Last year, when we made the choice to prioritize the health of the communities, you opened your hearts and wallets in an overwhelming show of support. You made possible the delivery of food for 450 people every month from April-December. In all, over $50,000 was raised and spent to deliver food in 2020.
In order to have a school to return to when things open back up, La Montaña Fund and PLQ are funding the maintenance of the grounds and buildings. This support amounts to $1,200 per month and provides employment for staff and funds for materials. We plan to continue this support until things open up.
During the pandemic, the Mountain School teachers moved to Online Classes, which means you can continue to study with the same great teachers at your convenience. Study individually with a teacher and create your own curriculum. Get more info about the Online Classes.
Becas / Scholarships
In 2020, students were hit hard as schools were closed and opportunities for online learning were scarce. As a result, the number of scholarships awarded decreased. Everyone is looking forward to the coming year. Already, we have 45 students who have received scholarships for 2021.
Charlas / Speaker Series
You have asked us for ways to stay connected to the school, even though you can’t get there, physically. We organized two different events that were attended by over 100 people. Look for our next event coming soon.
Social Media Awareness
A former Mountain School student, Jared O’Brien, has stepped up to organize online promotional efforts to raise awareness of online Spanish classes which will continue even after the Mountain School opens back up. Be watching for a higher online profile.
New Community Projects
With no students attending the Mountain School, a group of women have started farming collectively with the aim of replacing the lost income. With the help of seed money from you, they are raising vegetables and chickens for eggs. We will support these and other self-sustaining projects in the coming year.
We accomplish as much as we do because of 3 factors:
- The determined, hard-working and optimistic people in the communities around The Mountain School
- Donors who understand the value and importance of communities managing their own future
- Our Board members who volunteer time and energy in order to keep administrative costs low
La Montaña Fund Board Members
Darryl Robbins, President
Ed Scott, Secretary
Michele Seipp, Treasurer
Amelia Cutten, Board Member
Candace Wilson, Board Member
Erin Papa, Board Member