Leaders & Readers

  • Changing the Norm

    In the communities where we work, fewer than 10% of students finish high school. Our teens are the exception, but with your help we can change the norm. These young leaders stand in the center of a circle of change. They are setting new standards, challenging old ways of thinking, and bringing prosperity to their communities. When you invest in one of our scholars, like Francesca pictured here, you invest in the future of the world around them.
  • 56 Teens. 3,000 Children.

    Promoting literacy is a diverse and interdisciplinary effort. Our teen reading promoters, are students, teachers, and leaders all at the same time. In six years, Reading Village has provided scholarships and leadership training to more than 50 Guatemalan teenagers. Collectively, they’ve reached 2,000 children.
  • It Takes One to Know One

    Our Leaders and Readers program is directed by Daniel Guzmán. Father figure, teacher, and friend, Daniel’s expertise has been integral to the growth and development of our teen reading promoters. With more than 30 years of experience in the Guatemalan education system, Daniel has been the corner stone of our growth and continues to be our local leader.
  • Inspiration In Spite of Limited Resources

    By providing scholarships, securing educations, and facilitating opportunities for leadership development, we position communities to chase their own dreams. Time and time again we are inspired by our teens' ingenuity. Thinking creatively and critically, one generation of leaders is creating another generation of readers.
  • Empowering Young Leaders

    This year we have 40 reading promoters working and learning in three different communities: Concepción, Chuacruz and Los Morales. In the next twelve months we are preparing to add two new communities and 25 new scholars. Collectively, this expansion will help us reach more than 1,500 more children. By 2020 Reading Village plans to be in 30 communities across Guatemala, but we need your help to get there!
  • Learning Begins with Literacy

    Literacy is a gateway to participation in an increasingly global society. It is a way to good health, informed parenting, economic sufficiency, political voice, and achieving our dreams. But in the Guatemalan communities where we work, most adults cannot read or write. Your investment enables teenagers to plant the seeds of literacy by reading, inspiring, and mentoring children in low-income communities.
  • A Town’s First Library

    In 2012, several of our teen reading promoters announced that they’d be building Concepcion’s very first library. In a community where before there weren't even books, town leaders, parents, teachers, and students came together to refinish an old space that now houses shelves of great reading for everyone to share! Even better? This library is now seen as a model for similar projects in Los Morales & Chuacruz!
In high income countries, reading and dreaming are luxuries to which we rarely give a second thought. Each of us learned to read because an adult sat us on his/her lap and read stories of flying carpets, giant peaches, and fairy godmothers. Our imaginations ran wild with possibility, and just as quickly as dreams were born those same adults gave us the skills we needed to chase even our wildest ambitions.
  • 4 Communities
  • 6 Years
  • 78 Reading Promoters
  • 4,500 Children

In many developing countries, such as Guatemala, there is no culture of literacy. Rates of secondary education are low, families live in poverty, books are inaccessible, community libraries are scarce, and the school system is the worst in the Americas. As a result, in all but the wealthiest communities in Guatemala few adults read for pleasure and far fewer read aloud to their children.

Our Leaders and Readers Program empowers Mayan youth in rural Guatemalan communities to eradicate illiteracy and lead their villages out of poverty.

We invest in teenagers through scholarships, mentoring and leadership development, enabling them to complete high school (an accomplishment that less than 10% of their peers achieve). In return, they volunteer as “reading promoters” – each teenager runs several weekly reading circles for the young children in their community. And together reading promoters and program alumni initiate supporting projects to develop a culture of reading within their own villages, where only 50% of adults can read. In this way, our reading promoters become the first generation of adults in their communities to read to their own children. And the children they have taught over the years will continue the legacy of reading, learning and aspiring, improving the quality of life for themselves and the entire community.

In 2009 we began with just six reading promoters in one single community. Since then, we’ve grown exponentially. Currently, our Leaders & Readers program operates in Concepción, Chuacruz, Los Morales, and Chuiquel. We have been in operation for six years, have reached 78 teens, and more than 4,500 children!

To learn more about each of our current scholars, click here >>