A Forever Home for la Puerta Abierta

$70,507 of $300,000 goal

Raised by 122 people in 3 months
Created March 18, 2019

Ten years ago, La Puerta Abierta was created.  What began in 2007 as a one room library with a part-time local librarian has grown into a thriving, multilingual school that provides an early childhood education program, a primary school with 110 students, a traveling library, teen reading circles, parent education, professional development and a hub for a mothers’ artisan group!

For the last five years, we have been searching for a “forever” home for La Puerta Abierta.  As you may know, we are committed to meeting the needs of our community’s families as their children advance in our elementary school.  We have found creative solutions to hosting our classes, including a makeshift school, known to many at the “jungle school,” on borrowed land and with temporary materials.  While we are fond of our outdoor-school and we are proud of our problem solving skills in finding temporary housing for a school, we are very much aware that a school on borrowed land is unsustainable for the long-term vision of La Puerta Abierta.

Recently, we were offered the opportunity to purchase our forever home for La Puerta Abierta, a plot of land just around the bend from our current site.  In addition, this land already has a brick and mortar, two-story structure on it, with seven rooms, one for each grade, plus an administrative office.  This would truly ensure the future of La Puerta Abierta. 

We are over the moon and out of our minds, delighted to finally discover a physical space to  secure the future of our school, though challenged by raising the funds to buy the land and building.

We need your help to make this dream come true.  For the purchase and development of our site, we must raise $300,000.  As a small school serving a community with limited resources, we are counting on YOU!

We hope that you are inspired to contribute to a legacy of dignified, creative and purposeful education for the children of Santiago Atitlan, the future leaders and dreamers of our community.  We would welcome all donors to visit our village and school, to see for yourself the difference your contribution makes!

Any donation will help make impact. Thanks in advance for your contribution to this cause that means so much to our community.

At the end of the day it's not about what you have or even about what you have accomplished...it's about who you have lifted up, who you've made better.  It's about what you have given back.
--Denzel Washington
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Week by week, day by day, we are working together globally and locally to raise funds for our "Forever School" Campaign at Puerta Abierta Atitlán. Last Tuesday, Chonita and teachers hosted a "venta de garaje" aka garage sale in our community park to generate funds for our project. Together, over the last three months, we have generated over $70,000! Mil gracias!
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Hello World! This year, Puerta Abierta Atitlán will be celebrating it's 12th anniversary! In honor of our twelve year journey, we will be posting stories as part of a series, "Humans of La Puerta Abierta," in which we highlight students, teachers, parents, volunteers and friends who create community at our center. This week I would like to introduce you to Cruz and share his story!
Last Monday morning I walked into the Puerta Abierta office and I found 150Q (roughly $20) on my desk. Below the small stack of bills was a note:
"A donation to the future Puerta Abierta School, a portion of my earnings from a weekend birding tour."
In addition to being father to Eric Cruz, a delightful 1st grade student at our center, Cruz Senior is also a local guide and leads birding and walking tours through the cloud forests behind our village. He works hard to provide for his family and continues to study botany and birds to steadily improve his knowledge in his profession.
And yet what struck me most about his gesture, was his sense of generosity and giving back to our school and his act of reciprocity for the education his son is receiving.
Thank you Cruz for being a model parent at La Puerta Abierta!
If ever you find yourself in Santiago Atitlan and need a guide, please contact Ixbalán Birding!
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Hello World! This year, Puerta Abierta Atitlán will be celebrating it's 12th anniversary! In honor of our twelve year journey, we will be posting stories as part of a series, "Humans of La Puerta Abierta," in which we highlight students, teachers, parents, volunteers and friends who create community at our center. This week I would like to introduce you to Magdalena, our hardworking "chef" and mother of 5th grade student, Jeremias and share her story.
Magdalena has been a part of La Puerta Abierta community for 8 years. When her son was just 3 years old, she recognized the importance of early childhood education and chose to enroll Jeremias in our first formal preschool class. Another day I will write about Jeremias and his accomplishments (including that he is now taller than me:) However, today's post is dedicated to Magdalena.
Magdalena wakes at 5:00 AM every morning to prepare snack for our 110 students at La Puerta Abierta. She ensures that her food is prepared with love and nutrients and she supplies our school community with healthy snacks such as tamalitos, tostadas and rice and beans.
She arrives at La Puerta Abierta with her mobile restaurant and serves our children with smiles, kindness and gentleness.
Jeremias is a scholarship recipient at La Puerta Abierta sponsored by BEAMS in Guatemala. We believe that every child should have the opportunity to study at our school, and we are true to the idea of creating an exchange of support between our families and our school. Some families contribute with a small financial contribution, while others exchange services such as Magdalena.
We are grateful for Magdalena's dedication, patience and good cooking:)
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Pure Magic is the best word to describe the Puerta Abierta Atitlán Anniversary Celebration and Local Fundraiser that was on Thursday, April 25th . The afternoon was misty, clouds were low, lights twinkled. Friends and community gathered in support, love, appreciation. Creativity was in abundance. Local musicians celebrated with songs, poetry was shared, art was plentiful. And, while the sheer happiness of feeling the love and support for our school from community members was enough to make the event a success, we were overjoyed to raise $4,536 for our "Forever School Campaign."
The party was a true community effort and so many thanks are in queue to be expressed. From the children artists to the community artists to the bakers, to the musicians, to the Posada de Santiago for creating space, to Municipalidad de Santiago Atitlán for providing sound, to JunchiKpe for serving coffee, to the staff at Puerta Abierta Atitlán to those who purchased art, Mil gracias!
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$70,507 of $300,000 goal

Raised by 122 people in 3 months
Created March 18, 2019
Funds raised will benefit:
The Sparks Foundation
Certified Charity
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Houston, TX
EIN: 263473292
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