Addressing the Needs of Our Community - Annual Report 2012-13
September 15, 2013
One of the highlights of the year was welcoming our newest staff member, Hipatia. She came on board to create a youth program for our three high school scholars, Edith, William and Alex. This was in response to a survey of students and parents from the previous year, as well as Board observation of student needs. To help these older students make the transition from poverty to a profession, Hipatia had working professionals from a variety of fields who had come from similar disadvantaged backgrounds meet with the BECAS scholars for inspiration and guidance. Hipatia worked with the scholars to learn how to set goals and accomplish them by breaking them down into manageable steps. She took them on field trips and led them in community service projects, all designed to increase their capacity for seeing that they make a difference for others as well as for themselves and their families.
Another highlight was working with Señora Patty to create affordable iron rich nutritional support for the children. This was done in response to reports from Ecuadorian doctors that many of the scholars had iron deficiency anemia. Because this directly affects school performance and slows cognitive and social development during childhood as well as decreasing immune function that increases susceptibility to infection, we felt it was imperative to address this issue in a way that would be sustainable for the program.
A third highlight was introducing American teens to BECAS and the profound difference that a small non-profit based in the accountability of personal relationships can make. Seven high school students from two Episcopal churches in Sonoma county accompanied BECAS Founder and Board President Ella Harris and Board member Heather Cruciano to work with the BECAS community in Ecuador. Their impressions and learnings are contained in the blog they kept. Read Mira’s impressions below.
Impressions from BECAS trip
“I have been changed by these beautiful souls, by their intelligence, by their talent, by their creativity, by their wills, by their shy self-consciousness, by their kindness, by their wit, and by their resilience. Every part of this trip has been a learning experience and at the same time one of the best weeks of my life. I hope to return someday and once again gawk at this miracle in the Barrio and let these kids keep teaching me.” -Mira Craig-Morse
Other highlights of this past year have been to continue providing education, uniforms, books, medical and dental attention, family social services, parent education and nutritional support for our twelve scholars. We have also benefitted from the video of the BECAS scholars, teachers, and families produced this year by a young adult film professional. When this video was shown to the Ecuadorian “stars” it was an immediate hit.
Sustaining our program
We continue our policy of providing security for the scholars by maintaining a two year reserve for each scholar. This means that as we add new scholars, we are also committed to growing our reserves.
Each scholar costs BECAS $876. As we expand our services to include speciality programming for elementary school scholars and high school scholars, our cost per scholar has increased. We project that we can expand to 18 scholars at this cost per scholar.