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WSU students underwrite young Guatemalan’s education

By Garrett R. Kalt, student, Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

ZACAPA, Guatemala – Twelve-year-old Joan Stiven of Zacapa, Guatemala, is the newest niño welcomed into the WSU Cougar family.

Twenty-five Washington State University students stood before a room filled with fellow humanitarian volunteers and in unison announced they were sponsoring a year of local schooling for Joan.

“Niñito,

We love you – te amamos

We support you – te apoyamos

We believe in you – creemos en ti

Today and forevermore – hoy y para siempre

You are our family – tu res nuestra famila

You are our son – y nuestro niñito

You are a Coug – tu eres un Coug!

Go Cougs! – Vamos Cougs!”

Stiven is one of many children that the international nonprofit organization Hearts in Motion (HIM) identified in need of educational sponsorship. The 25 WSU students who collectively took on Stiven’s need will provide funding for uniforms, shoes, a backpack, school supplies, access to medical and dental care, and nutritious meals. Throughout the year HIM will also closely monitor Stiven’s scholastic progress by meeting with his teachers and parents.

For 10 years running, WSU students have joined in a medical service trip with HIM, providing free services such as dental work and cleft palate reconstruction.

“For these students to voluntarily pay for a child’s education out of their own pockets shows the tremendous heart that travels with Cougars every time they embrace the Hearts in Motion purpose,” said Ana Maria Rodriguez-Vivaldi, program director and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for WSU.

This was the first year WSU students decided to sponsor a child, and they hope future groups continue to do the same.

“We want to start a legacy and tradition,” said Nickolas Camarata, a double major in sports science and pre-medicine, who initiated the idea about the group pitching in to sponsor a child. “We all came on this trip to serve the Guatemalan people. We knew we’d be doing what we could to change people’s lives in the form of providing medical care but didn’t know we’d leave with another member of the Cougar family.”

After everyone agreed to fund local Guatemalan’s education for a year, Camarata printed the names and pictures of children available for sponsorship through HIM and Joan’s name was drawn from a hat.

Camarata worked with HIM program facilitators to contact the Stiven family to share the news and invite them to the program’s closing ceremony for the announcement.

“You do not know the potential of these children until you give them responsibility and opportunity,” said Camarata. “I am excited to follow Joan throughout all his life. Who knows, he might want to become a doctor like me.”

 

Media Contact:

  • Garrett R. Kalt, student, Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, 775-427-8272, garrett.kalt@wsu.edu

 

 

 

 

 

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