Because of your interest and giving, this past year, Edith, our first scholar to graduate from high school, went on to complete a semester of nursing school and William, our second scholar to graduate from high school, completed his first year of culinary school. This expansion of BECAS into technical schools and college has ignited the imaginations of the younger scholars, most of whom come from families in which parents have not gone to school beyond the 6th grade. This coming year, Alex will join William in our university program. He will be studying optometry.
As mentioned above, William’s first year of culinary school was highly successful. As part of his scholarship from BECAS, we require that he do a project that will be helpful to his local community. This is one aspect of how we are building sustainability into the overall program. Since our founding nine years ago, our goal has been to develop leaders who can help the entire community break the bonds of poverty. William decided to research teen pregnancy and prevention and he presented his findings to the high school kids. From the researching to the public presentation, this built up a great deal of maturity in William and we are exceedingly proud of his growth.
We are examining how we can better support family planning and pregnancy prevention programs as these issues are highly impactful of our scholars. Edith completed a semester of nursing school before leaving after the birth of her son. Another high school scholar, Luis Eduardo became a father this past year, and it has been a struggle to keep him in school rather than quitting to begin earning a small wage.
To strengthen the possibilities of post-high school studies, we hired a new high school program coordinator. Rocio has incorporated her background in art into her work and has made many inroads into gaining the trust of the scholars and their families. Not only does she make sure that their homework is done (parents are not able to help with homework or provide the necessary space or materials) but she works to expand their sense of what is possible. Some of the themes she has addressed are topics such as “Constructing my life”, “Am I happy with who I am?”, “My gifts and talents”. She has helped the older scholars with goal planning, which has been a priority from the beginning of BECAS. We are still working on building up this essential life skill.
Another area of growth and expansion that happened this past year was the establishment of a full partnership with the Ecuadorian non-profit Para Dar Esperanza. We are now under their Ecuadorian NGO status, which means that we are able to provide health care, social security and retirement benefits to our Ecuadorian staff. This is a huge development for BECAS and means that we are well on the road to a sustainable program for poverty reduction over the long haul.
We are all about the mutuality and accountability of relationship. We do not aim to grow big, but we do aim to expand in ways that will continue to build a brighter future for this one community. And who knows what these children will do for others as they graduate and go out into the world? You are the building blocks for this work, and we are deeply grateful. Thank you for your partnership with these children and their families of the Santa Maria Barrio outside Quito.
Financial Statement Last fiscal year, BECAS received $16,500 in donations. We spent $13,460 in running the program, 96% went straight to supporting our scholars. As we transitioned to working with PADE this past year, we limited our program spending until the relationship was solidified and we could ensure the best support our scholars and community.
The cash balance at the end of the fiscal year was $30,770. We take our commitment to each scholar and his or her family seriously. Towards that end we maintain sufficient cash reserves to ensure that we can continue to provide for the scholars’ educational expenses for up to two years in the event of an unforeseen interruption in our revenue stream.
To support each scholar for one year, with holistic, in-depth interventions that BECAS provides, costs $998. This includes “scholarship” which is the cost of schooling, “health care” including physicals, dental care, glasses, and “Beyond the Barrio” which consists of family support, tutoring, community service, and cultural outings. Our new university program costs $1,680 per student, this program includes tuition and social services programing.