About

Amigos de Chocolá

Amigos de Chocolá provides a broad range of educational and social support to the residents of the small rural village of Chocolá, Suchitepequez, Guatemala. We are a nonprofit, 501(c)3 corporation whose mission is to provide a broad base of educational support to the greater Chocolá community.

Our Students’ Hopes and Dreams

What would you do if your dreams of becoming a teacher or manager or computer technician or a town mayor were made highly improbable to achieve due to lack of money to attend school or other training?

Such is the dilemma facing so many of our young friends in Guatemala.  Poor rural Maya families, many with 4-6 children, living on one dollar per day are hardly able to save money, send kids to school or even afford nutritious foods.

In Chocolá, Guatemala children face the prospect of ending their school career after 6th grade because  no government assistance is available beyond that point. For the past 11 years Amigos de Chocolá has dedicated its resources to assisting many families who desperately want their children to attend middle and high school so that they can realize their dreams.  By granting scholarships to deserving students, Amigos brings greater opportunities for learning and supporting the economic and social development of Chocolá.

Douglas writes:  “My greatest dream is to become an architect and to be a successful person who contributes to greater opportunities for others.  …..I would like to recognize the effort of Amigos and my parents who have helped me become a better person.”

Jakelyn lost her father when she was very young.  Without assistance, she could not afford to attend school and faced a life of domestic work and raising a family with little education.  Jakelyn writes:  ”………you reached your hands out to me so that I am able to realize my dreams.  As you have helped me with my dreams, I hope to be able to help others accomplish the same.  I want a career in management so that I can be helping my Mom and family.”

Jenri writes:  ”(my dream) is to graduate in business administration and find employment that will help support my family. To encourage entrepreneurs in business will help others find jobs and prosper in Chocolá.  I want to give my younger brothers a chance to study and succeed.  Thanks to (Amigos) I can keep studying, prosper in business and reach my dreams.”

Amigos de Chocolá finds these and many other stories very compelling.  We annually fund 30 or more scholarships for Chocolá students attending middle school or high school.  There are dozens more who just can’t afford the tuition and so we hope that you will help them do so.

If you would like to (help) send a student to middle school ($200/£160 per year) or high school ($350/£275  per year), please visit our DONATE page and contribute to education in Chocolá.

We are headquatered in Claremont, California and have locations in two US cities:

455 Champlain Dr
Claremont, CA 91711

17229 Rimrock Drive
Golden, CO 80401

Board of Directors

Officers

John D. Hill - Chairman Claremont, CA
John Hill is the founding CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Amigos de Chocolá. He holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from the University of LaVerne. John served the Los Angeles County (CA) Sheriff’s Department as a sworn Deputy Sheriff for 22 years. After serving the United Nations as a Police Monitor in Bosnia & Herzegovina for one year, he became Executive Director of Reach Out West End, a substance abuse prevention education agency serving students and adults in San Bernardino County (CA). John first visited Chocolá in 2005, after which he incorporated Amigos de Chocoá in California as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. John currently lives in Claremont, CA.
Thomas T. Reiley - Treasurer Golden, CO
Lauren M. Hill - Secretary Los Angeles, CA
Lauren Hill is Senior Manager for Leadership Development at Healthforce Center at UCSF, overseeing several leadership programs for non-profit healthcare clinics throughout California. Lauren graduated cum laude in Religious Studies from Occidental College, and holds a Masters degree in Global Health from Emory University. She completed her graduate research in adolescent sexual behavior in Paraguay, and has served social service NGOs in Guatemala and Ecuador. Lauren is fluent in the Spanish language. She currently resides dually in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA and has been a member of the Amigos de Chocolá board since 2010.

Members

Patricia Coen - Mt Pleasant, MI
Victor Diaz Can - Chocolá,Guatemala
Anne E. Kraemer Diaz - Chocolá,Guatemala

Anne Kraemer Diaz is Executive Director of the Maya Health Alliance (Wuqu’ Kawoq). Anne formerly served as a medical anthropologist at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina. She has been examining NGO-Community relations for ten years in Guatemala and works extensively to help communities in resource poor areas access education and health care. She holds a Masters degree in Anthropology. Anne is a former Fulbright scholar and is currently completing her doctoral degree in Anthropology at the University of Kansas, where her research explores the impact of nongovernmental organizations on Maya communities.

Karen Webb-Green - London,England

Karen Webb-Green holds an undergraduate degree in Archaeology and a Masters Degree in Archaeological Materials from Nottingham University. Karen has worked in the leisure and heritage sectors, managing leisure facilities and museums for over 20 years. She volunteered with the Earthwatch Institute on the Chocola project in 2005, and spent 3 months in Guatemala in 2006, including work in Chocola donating books and resources to the schools and library. Karen currently lives in Basingstoke, England with her husband David.

Lorne Olfman, PhD - Claremont, CA
Lorne Olfman is a Professor in the Center for Information Systems and Technology at Claremont Graduate University (CGU), former Dean of the School of Information Systems and Technology, and from 2003-2012, Fletcher Jones Chair in Technology Management. He came to Claremont in 1987 after graduating with a PhD in Business (Management Information Systems) from Indiana University. He also holds an MBA from IU, an MA in Economics and a BSc in Computing Science, both from University of Calgary. Lorne worked in the public and private sectors in Canada for 10 years before entering the PhD program. He lives in Claremont with his wife, Darlene.
Marcella Fasano - Boulder, CO

Marcella Fasano graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College with a degree in Sociology and continued her education at Cleveland State University where she received her Masters in Sociology. Marcella began her career working for behavioral health agencies in Cleveland, Ohio serving vulnerable children and their families. Marcella found her true passion when she accepted a position at Preterm, a feminist clinic in Cleveland. It was there that Marcella witnessed the highly beneficial impact of quality, holistic healthcare on patient’s lives. Her work in reproductive healthcare has continued since at a Planned Parenthood affiliate in California, and most currently at a private clinic in Colorado. Marcella also serves on the Patient and Family Advisory Council for Boulder Community Health. She plans to further support her passion for increasing access to quality healthcare by seeking a Masters in Public Health with a Maternal and Child Health concentration from University of Colorado beginning Fall 2107. Marcella lives in Nederland, Colorado with her partner, Michael, and their three adorable cats.

Emeritus Board Member

Leland H. Chambers Emeritus (deceased) - Denver, CO