Common Hope – Guatemala

News from Guatemala

Girl with Curious GeorgeChildren travel near and far at the library
by Mariah Quinn Duffy, library volunteer

The newly renovated library has opened its doors to new activities that promote reading and literacy. Mariah Quinn Duffy, library volunteer, shares about a new initiative called Passport to Reading..


On a recent trip to Guatemala, executive director Shari Blindt donated several packs of brightly colored pencils and asked that they be distributed to children in the library. The library staff created a crossword puzzle about animals and announced that all library visitors who completed the crossword could earn a pencil. To our surprise, 50 children participated in the activity! And the library’s regular visitors were soon clamoring for more activities.

To capitalize on this enthusiasm, the library launched the Passport to Reading Initiative. The activities aim to encourage kids to explore new books, to read carefully and critically, and to discover new ways of having fun while learning.


Homework that’s fun

Each week, visitors to the library are invited to participate in a new activity, ranging from crossword puzzles to reading comprehension quizzes to math puzzles. This week, we’re working on writing our own Corduroy story. Each completed activity earns the children a stamp in their passport. The children’s enthusiasm for these activities is really quite incredible, especially considering that the worksheets are rather like homework!


What children like best about the library

Each traveler is given a “souvenir folder” to store their passport and worksheets. We ask the children to decorate their folder by sharing what they like best about the library. Some say they come for “the many beautiful books,” others because they “learn a lot and have fun.” Favorite games in the library include Bingo, puzzles, Bananagrams, and crossword puzzles. Claudia explained that she likes to read because it helps her to have a big imagination.


We also asked the children what they wished they knew more about: Reyna is interested in flowers, Carlos enjoys ghost stories, and Luis, an aspiring doctor, looks forward to learning more about the human body.


Sharing interests, impressions, aspirations

Passport to Reading began as a means of encouraging children to engage in enriching play and to think critically when reading. However, through these activities, the children have also been able to share about their own lives, interests, and impressions.


Read on for more quotes and photos of the children…

Supporters in action

Laura in school

Board member Laura Ness participating with students in an education promoter activity at one of our partner schools.

Executive and honorary board visits Guatemala

For their annual meeting, the executive and honorary board visited Guatemala this September, to connect with the work first-hand. View photos from their trip here.

so close to graduation
Sandra graduated in 2010 thanks to Common Hope. Help the 17 juniors and seniors who are working toward the finish line without the support of a sponsor.


17 students so close to graduation need your support

This summer, we put out a call via eNews and Facebook. An entire class of first graders needed sponsors to start their educational journey. Your response was overwhelming-all 25 children were sponsored in 25 days.


This fall, we have a new request. An older group of students are striving toward high school graduation without the support of a sponsor. These juniors and seniors are so close, but they need your help to get the last stretch of the way. Your support will be a powerful motivator , renewing these students’ sense of possibility with the knowledge that someone half a world away is rooting for them.


To meet the students and take action, visit

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