As students across Canada are starting back to school, we’re very aware that kids in Guatemala don’t always have that same opportunity. In fact, when Vida students graduate from elementary school, many face a lot of pressure to leave their studies and to begin working in some capacity. It’s part of life in “survival mode” where even children are expected to help put food on the table and contribute to the family finances.
That’s why we’re so excited about the Vida Extension Program that operates out of our Chijacorral and Mocohán campuses. It’s a distance learning program especially designed for those of our students who need a more flexible schedule. Students can work during the day, and study evenings and weekends. And they don’t have to make the (sometimes very long) daily trek to school – just on Saturdays.
We partner with the Latin American Evangelical Institute to provide the distance education component – but Impact Ministries provides teachers to support and disciple the Vida Extension students. Each Saturday, the students attend a special devotional time and tutorials with their teachers and access the computer labs to work on their studies. Teachers are also available throughout the week for help with lessons.
In addition to junior high classes, the Vida Extension Program provides more options for our Senior High students who want to study something other than the Vida Teacher Training. The Vida Extension Program provides an accounting track and a secretary and administrative clerk track, as well as a simplified university entrance program. There’s even an accelerated elementary program for those who weren’t able to attend school as a child.
We’ve got 37 students in the Vida Extension Program right now. Students like Aida who couldn’t continue her schooling because of family problems, then couldn’t imagine going back to school after a year away. Or José who had to drop out of school when his Dad died and he had to go to work. Now, many years later, he’s upgrading so that he can attend university. We’re thrilled that these young people – who might otherwise not have been able to continue their education – are continuing to learn, both academics and about how much God loves them!
Please pray for our students and teachers throughout our Vida Schools, including in our Vida Extension Program. Our first extension students are graduating next month!