2012

Benjamin Tecú Osorio

Project: Community Clean-Up in Pacux

Although he is only a teenager, Benjamin has established himself as a true community leader.  His parents have inculcated within him a profound pride in his culture and heritage.  Benjamin’s father is survivor of the Rio Negro Massacres who was determined to build a brighter future in the wake of human tragedy.  Benjamin reflects his father’s hope, not only with his cultural awareness, but also his commitment to community service.  His community clean-up project is a testament to Benjamin’s dedication to effecting positive change.

“My project is called ‘New Image for my Community’, and its objective is to minimize contamination, and support families who are unable to manage the trash that builds up in their homes.  Our project benefitted 50 families directly, and another 100 or 150 indirectly . . . One of our largest inconveniences was that the Mayor had agreed to support our project, but since he lost the recent election, his support stopped.  Analyzing the situation, we determined to continue with the activity, but in a new form, which consisted of contracting the Truck from Fundacion Nueva Esperanza to pick up where the Mayor left off. ” –Benjamin

Dinora Cahuí Ramirez

Project: Community Garden in Chiticoy

Dedicated, thoughtful and intelligent, Dinora committed her full efforts to Voces y Manos from the very first day she joined the program. Dinora’s dedication has been a driving force in her community work as well, where she mobilized 15 families to get involved in a community garden project.  Dinora is also a diligent student, and looks forward to using her education to help effect positive change in her community for many years to come.

“Leadership is something that is very important for each and every member of our group. That’s why we gave up our time, and put in great efforts to improve the nutrition of the people in need in our community.  Our community garden helped people have a more balanced nutrition, and gave them energy to do their daily activities like studying, working in the field, and doing domestic chores.” –Dinora

Estefani Alvarado Ortiz

Project: Community Garden in Chiticoy 

Estefani left a big impression on the Voces y Manos volunteers from day 1. When we first arrived, Estefani welcomed us to Rabinal by giving us a tour of her school.  As we got to know her better, we became increasingly inspired and appreciative of the great compassion she shows in all facets of her life.  Estefani’s compassion has been a driving force in her community work, where she mobilized 15 families to get involved in a community garden project.  With a firm conviction that acts of service truly can change the lives of others, Estefani looks forward to many years of leadership in community service.

“Leadership is something that is very important for each and every member of our group. That’s why we gave up our time, and put in great efforts to achieve a great result with our community garden project.  Our project made a difference for people in need.  We did this by getting the community involved, getting people excited, and letting them know that in the end, this project would be beneficial for them.”–Estefani

Glenda Lajuj Osorio

Project: Community Clean-Up in Pacux

At only 16 years of age, Glenda has the intellect, organizational skills, and poise of a bona-fide community leader.  Her competence, compassion and hard work allowed her group to achieve a remarkably successful trash collection initiative in their town of Pacux.  The volunteers often found themselves in awe of how Glenda does all that she does: in addition to being a full-time student, Glenda is also a full-time mom.  For Glenda, getting an education has a particularly profound urgency: she knows that an education will allow her to provide more opportunities for her son, and allow him to grow up in a more just world.

“My project is called ‘New Image for my Community’, and its objective is to minimize contamination, and support families who are unable to manage the trash that builds up in their homes.  Our project benefitted 50 families directly, and another 100 or 150 indirectly . . . One of our largest inconveniences was that the Mayor had agreed to support our project, but since he lost the recent election, his support stopped.  Analyzing the situation, we determined to continue with the activity, but in a new form, which consisted of contracting the Truck from Fundacion Nueva Esperanza to pick up where the Mayor left off. ” –Glenda

Griselda Hernandez Xitimul

Project: Community Garden in Chiticoy

Proud of her family and her heritage, Griselda devotes herself to her studies with a fervor that is rarely seen among teenagers. She is also exceptionally poised.  From her powerpoint presentation in front of the town mayor to her community garden project, Griselda has shown a passion for community service, and remarkable proclivity for leadership.  She looks forward to studying education, so that she can reach her dream of becoming a teacher.

“Being a community leader is of great importance to me, and through this project I learned and obtained new experiences that will enable me to demonstrate leadership in a future that is not so far away.  Being a leader is not about bossing people around.  It is about participating with people by listening to their opinions, helping them, learning from them, and valuing the contributions of each and every participant” –Griselda

Marlon Horacio Manuel Mendoza

Project: Community Garden in San Rafael

Horacio was one of the most enthusiastic students in the summer program, and his positive energy translated into a very successful community project in San Rafael.  There, Horacio helped identify families at risk for malnutrition, then built a community garden to ensure these families would have access to free, fresh fruits and vegetables.  Horacio plans on continuing to work as a community leader for years to come. . . even as he chases his dream of playing professional soccer!

“Being a leader means assuming great responsibility. If you understand the daily reality of the people you serve, you will be able to help them, without expecting anything in return.  Everything that I have learned can be applied to real life.  The best experience of the project was working with a group of parents, doing home visits, and getting to share ideas with the people.”-Horacio

Juan de Jesus Sanchez Mendoza

Project: Community Clean-Up in Pacux

In the past few months, we have seen Juan de Jesus grow up tremendously.  Initially quiet and shy, Juan de Jesus struggled early in the program.  But when we began discussing Mayan culture, Juan de Jesus shone brightly.  Having spent his childhood in the remote community of Rio Negro, Juan de Jesus has a profound understanding of his history and culture.  This understanding gives rise to a passionate commitment to make his community better, as he demonstrated through his garbage collection project with Benjamin, and Glenda.

“To be a leader means to understand the the living situation of my community members.  It is about accomplishing goals by inspiring families to stay united in order to move forward.  I have also learned, through this experience, to always develop programs in partnership with the community” –Juan de Jesus

Mardoqueo Josue Osorio Chen

Project: Reforestation in NImacabaj

Mardoqueo has established himself as an amazing young leader.  Mardoqueo is the only student who took on the additional challenge of doing a community project outside his home community by teaming up with Maynor (below) to do reforestation in Nimacabaj. His father, Don Juan, is survivor of the Rio Negro Massacres who has struggled to build a brighter future for his children.  Mardoqueo’s community work fulfills his father’s hope.  Thanks to his outstanding efforts, Mardoqueo’s project led to the planting of over 1,000 trees! Now, Mardoqueo is looking forward to studying at the high school level, and one day going on to the University so that he can effect change on an even larger scale.

“ When I graduate from high school with a major in accounting, I will be very grateful with Voces y Manos, and also with Fundación Nueva Esperanza for giving me this opportunity to study.  I will also feel very proud of myself, for my first triumph.  I will look for a job so that I can provide for myself, and continue my studies at the University level, so that I can have yet another triumph, and from there, I will go on to help my family and my community.” –Mardoqueo

Maynor Rocael Pangán Cuxúm

Project: Reforestation in Nimacabaj

Maynor’s reforestation project in his home community of Nimacabaj has been truly extraordinary.  Maynor was one of the most enthusiastic students in the summer program, and he was eager to begin working on a community project from day 1.  His enthusiasm paid off.  Thanks to his outstanding efforts, Maynor’s reforestation project was an enormous success, leading to to the planting of over 1,000 trees.  Now, Maynor looks forward to studying to become a teacher, where he can inspire other youth to become community leaders.

“I am planning on studying to become a bilingual elementary school teacher. I believe that teaching children is a sacred responsibility, because I will teach these children to become good people, good citizens with values like respect, friendship, humility, and responsibility.  In this way, children will be able to become leaders who enable their communities to move forward.” -Maynor

Selvin Engelberth Depaz Cornelio

Project: Community Garden in San Rafael

Selvin is the type of student that reminds teachers why they teach: he always asks great questions, and shows a love of learning.  Selvin’s intellectual curiosity sets him apart from most 16 year olds, and this curiosity translated into a very successful community project in San Rafael.  There, Selvin helped identify families at risk for malnutrition, then built a community garden to ensure these families would have access to free, fresh fruits and vegetables.  Selvin plans on continuing to work as a community leader for years to come!

“My project is designed for families with children at risk of malnutrition, and its primary objective is to help these families improve their children’s health. . .Being a leader means to give the best of oneself, to believe fully in what you are doing, and to believe in yourself.” –Selvin