STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) – Students in the Poconos are changing a 17-year-old boy’s life in Guatemala by paying for his education. Today they met the young man for the first time.
The Stroudsburg High School Environmental Club was anxious and excited. They’ve been working on something big. Thursday afternoon it all came together.
“We’ve done some little community service projects around the school, garbage pick ups and things like that. Which are great, but this I think takes it to the next level”, said James DeRenzis, Environmental Club Advisor at Stroudsburg High School.
The club got involved with the “Yuda Bands Project”. They’ve been selling bracelets, called yuda bands. The money raised sends a child in a developing nation to school. The bracelets come in different designs and colors, each handmade by someone in Guatemala. First the club had to chose a student to sponsor. They found Mario, a 17-year-old boy in Guatemala.
“So he’s around the age of a lot of people at this school. I thought that would make it more personal too”, said Sara Rose Hernandez, Vice President of the Environmental Club.
In Guatemala, public school goes up to sixth grade. After that, to continue their education, students have to pay for private schooling.
“It’s definitely I think hard for a lot of us here to understand. That’s one of the main reasons we wanted to get involved”, Hernandez added.
But they never met Mario. Not until Thursday. Through Skype, Mario told the class he wants to become a teacher in Guatemala, but his family couldn’t afford his education. Now, he thanks the environmental club for helping turn that dream into reality.
“It makes me very pleased and very proud of what they’re doing with these”, DeRenzis.
So far the club has sold over 200 yuda bands at school events, raising nearly $2,000 dollars.