• Empowering Young Leaders

    Since the Leaders and Readers Program started in 2009, we’ve worked with more than 100 teens who have reached more than 10,000 children with literacy.
  • 100+ Youth Leaders

    Our youth leaders are students, volunteers, and educators all at the same time.
  • Changing the Norm

    In the communities where we work, fewer than 10% of students finish high school, but with your help we can change the norm. Our teens are the exception. 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 youth leaders, you invest in the future of the world around them.
  • It Takes One to Know One

    Our Leaders and Readers Program is directed by Juan Skinner. With a background in anthropology, Juan is an environmental scientist, organizer and professor. He has decades of experience collaborating with Guatemalan government and local communities, and is passionate about supporting marginalized populations to find their voice.
  • 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.
  • Inspiration despite 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.
  • 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 Chuacruz and Chuiquel!
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.
  • 5 Communities
  • 12 Years
  • 100+ Youth Leaders
  • 10,000+ Children

Our Leaders and Readers Program provides teens with four years of mentoring and regular, multidisciplinary leadership development workshops along with the opportunity to put their leadership into practice through leading reading activities with children in their villages. Youth leaders, seeing the impact they have on the children in their community, are transformed. They find self-worth, confidence and a new vision for their community that sparks their initiative to become leaders in other areas of their lives.

The 95 youth leaders currently in our program are reaching 4,750 elementary-school-aged children with three hours of reading activities each week. As a result, these children love to read, have improved Spanish comprehension skills (Spanish is their second language), as well as their critical and creative thinking skills – skills that will serve them the rest of their lives.

Our youth leaders are also getting an education. Because the cost of attending public school is more than half an average family’s annual income, only 10% of students in the Department of Solola attend high school. Participants in our program receive a full four-year high school scholarship. And when they graduate they are capable of doubling their families’ incomes. 

And these youth are using their education and leadership skills to improve their communities. To date, youth leaders in two of our partner communities have opened their first-ever public libraries and continue to run the libraries through the boards that they created and on which they volunteer. Our teens are class and school presidents, sports team leaders and church youth group leaders. 

To learn more about some of our youth leaders and alumni click here >>