For the past eight years the AEA community has raised awareness and funds to benefit an organization that is near and dear to my heart: Safe Passage/Camino Seguro.  This non-profit was founded in 1999 to provide life-changing support to children and families struggling for survival in Guatemala City, Guatemala.  Safe Passage offers hope to the children whose parents work salvaging discarded items in the Guatemala City municipal dump.  Children in the program have access to health and dental care and a wide range of academic and artistic opportunities that keep them in school and alter the trajectory of their lives.  From the Camino Seguro website: “Each day, Safe Passage provides more than 550 children and 100 parents with education, social services, and the chance to move beyond the poverty their families have faced for generations. Safe Passage is a refuge for children facing difficult situations marked by extreme poverty, neglect, and abuse. Safe Passage is a gateway out of poverty.”

AEA has sponsored two children in Safe Passage–Cyndi and Pablo–since they attended elementary school.  Pablo is now in the final year of high school, and Cyndi is in middle school.  Both students communicate regularly with AEA through postcards, emails and photographs.  By raising money each year we have been able to play a key role in their growth and development, and most importantly to provide options far beyond those offered by their family circumstances.

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Cyndi

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Pablo

This year the fundraising focus has been in our elementary grades.  I visited nearly all classrooms in September and October to remind students of the AEA commitment to changing the world.  We have never missed our modest fundraising target and I am hopeful this year is no different.

To watch an inspiring video that depicts daily life in the environs of the dump as well as within the walls of Safe Passage, click herehttps://vimeo.com/151905794

Donate to Safe Passage here.