Send Joan to College

 

Those of you who know me know I am not the type to ask for donations. So I would like you to think of this as my Girl Scout cookie sign-up, my shower-wedding-baby-retirement gift or my few-bucks-for-a-good-cause plea. In short, I need your help to help a very special person.

Let me introduce you to Joan Binos Batalla. She lives in Tabaco City in the Philippines. When I first started corresponding with her, she was 7. This year she turns 16.

We've written back and forth for years, but last year I had the chance to meet her in person. I traveled to the Philippines with my friends Shannon and Jenn, and we tweaked our schedule so we could spend a whole day with Joan and her family at their home. It was a life-changing experience.

Over the nine years we have corresponded, Joan continuously writes about how much she loves school. When her family welcomed us into their home, we saw the walls of the room were covered with Joan's scholastic awards. There were ribbons and certificates for excellence in math and physics and an array of Best in Class pins. The pride on her parents' faces "“ and even some of the neighbors "“ was touching.

It made me realize the vital importance her parents put on education as a way for their children to escape poverty. In a home where the monthly income is $23, this is rare. Joan's mother is a housekeeper, and her father is a laborer. Joan could have started working years ago to help support her family. But, her parents chose to keep her and her two brothers in school.

This year, Joan graduated from high school with honors.

Before I met Joan in person, I was so proud of myself for helping this little girl in a far away country. I thought my little monthly donation was helping to pull at least one family out of poverty. I could see directly how much impact the money was having. I felt pretty good.

But, after visiting Joan and getting her subsequent letters, I saw how much our visit meant to her, to her family and to me. She writes often about how she looks up to me, how I inspire her every day to study harder and be all she can be. I realized that, without knowing it, I was helping empower a little girl to grow into a strong woman.

Now I want to send Joan to college.

She wants to study secondary education. A year's college tuition in the Philippines is less than $1,000. The cost for four years will be roughly $3,100. The organization I sponsor Joan through has agreed to set up a college account and administer it until she is 19. I have agreed to get her started with $420 so she can get enrolled in the first semester right away.

But I am going to need your help in reaching the final goal. Joan and I will be forever grateful for any help you can provide and any amount helps.

Thank you in advance,

Beth and Joan

P.S. I am also willing to donate my web design services to any corporation that would like to help out. A mere $70 gets you an hour of work!

 

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Organizer

Beth Kaiser 
Organizer
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