Amigos Welcomes New Board Member

Amigos de Chocola welcomed its newest board member at a year-end meeting December 5, 2016. 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. She began her career working for behavioral health agencies in Cleveland, Ohio serving vulnerable children and their families. Marcella now resides in Boulder, CO with her partner Michael Reichert.  Both Marcella and Michael joined the Amigos service learning trip in June 2016 and added a youthful spark to the connections with our students.   Marcella’s energy, thoughtfulness and passion for education are assets that will enhance the work of our board over the coming years.  Welcome, Marcella!

Scholarship Students Win Academic Awards

End of the year academic award ceremonies highlighted several of our scholarship students.  While the schools recognized our students for their achievements in the classroom, Amigos recognizes these same students for their community service work in the village.  All of our scholarship students participated in the renewal of the Central “Triangle” Park in Chocola that included a full cleanup, construction of flood walls, construction of park benches and reshaping of the trees and shrubs that adorn the area.  Residents can now enjoy a public space free of litter and other debris, thanks to the hard work of their students.  It is win-win for Chocola!

Students who received academic honors include:

Blanca Carolina Menchu

Maycko Ixquiatap Salvador

Tomas Ranferi Tzuban

Jhony Mijangos de Leon

Wilmer Vladimir Ayala

Sadary Ajcac

Bryan Enriquez Carlos

Tomas Ranferi Tzuban

Jenrry Estuardo Tambriz

Our second volunteer trip to Chocola was a rousing success

June 18-25, 2016

Our volunteer trip to Chocola in June opened new doors to this small rural village. Meeting with students, visiting historic Maya ruins, working alongside villagers to improve their public parks and touring the surrounding area helped enrich our understanding of the life and culture of Guatemala. Our students responded to our partnership with displays of their strong work ethic, both inside and outside the classroom. Our joy of getting to know them better was exceeded only by our amazement at their eagerness to learn new things. As our lives touched theirs, we all came away with a renewed sense of caring and support for the educational and self-development goals that we share.

The five days and nights we spent in the village revealed a strong sense of community despite what we all agree is a difficult place to live. Each morning the sun rose over the volcanoes in the east, casting a bright gleam of hope for a new day. It rained every day but cleared at night to reveal the bright stars that lit the night. Volunteers enjoyed the fresh air and the lush landscape. Our scholarship students, although on holiday from school, took advantage of their time outside the classroom. They spent two days cleaning and enhancing two local parks. New park benches, designed by a student, were installed and a new concrete wall was constructed to divert rain water around the park. Students joined volunteers in a brief tour of the village to learn more about their Maya heritage and the ancient ruins that lie below the ground. They also took an extensive tour of a nearby archaeological site to learn even more of their Maya history. Volunteers came away with an immense satisfaction stimulated by that education as well.

Amigos Scholarship Students at Takalik Abaj

For more information about this and future trips, please contact John Hill: