UNO As Guatemalan public schools get ready to wind down and close for the year in mid October, we at Safe Passage are ramping up for some very exciting educational events! Instead of shutting down, we'll be opening our "Summer Camp" filled with fun and education-focused programs for students to stay off the streets and keep learning. Our Quinceañera celebration will combine women's health education with this coming-of-age ceremony, and our high school graduation on November 23rd will mark the completion of an amazing journey from the garbage dump to a life of education and success.

DOS Planting Seeds recently applied to the Guatemalan Ministry of Education to become certified as an officially sanctioned teaching methodology in Guatemalan public schools. What does this mean? It means that this model of education being pioneered with the community living around the Guatemala City garbage dump may soon be available for use in public schools all over Guatemala. One important facet of the Planting Seeds curriculum is its use of cheap and free recycled materials for lessons like egg cartons and bottle caps. We hope that this model of education through play, cooperation and love will keep gaining traction in Guatemala as Safe Passage and Planting Seeds build a track record of positive results.

TRES As you may know, this year we expanded to include 2 classes of all-day first grade. We're now just weeks away from graduation and it looks likely that we'll be holding back 3 out of our 40 students, or about 7.5%. This is very encouraging when compared to Guatemala's average first grade repitition and dropout rate which is cited as 32%source. failure rate which has been cited as 50. While we could have passed these 3 students, we decided to hold them back for different reasons. We have identified one student as having a developmental disability and is now working with our pyschologists and a pyschiatrist. The second is just very young for her grade and lacks the maturity needed for her to succeed in second grade. And the third student's case is very sad, and one that is at the core of what Safe Passage struggles to overcome. Her parents take her out of school to help them peddle on the streets. She is very helpful for her parents' sales and our teachers and social workers have done all they can to keep her in school but unfortunately, her attendance record means she'll have to repeat first grade. Cases like this students' are why we need your help and support. We believe that with your generous assistance, we can do even more for these students whose biggest challenge is often the inter-generational poverty that surrounds them. The odds against these 3 students, and indeed, all 40 of our first graders are enormous, but I know we can overcome them with your help.

CUATRO One of our 2013 graduates, Ana Nancy, is doing an internship at the Guatemalan Ministry of Labor recently contacted our Next Step program coordinator Megan McAdams to let her know about some upcoming workshops and opportunities for other Safe Passage graduates. We think that this is a great example of how Safe Passage students are now beginning to build an alumni network and help each other to succeed. Thanks Ana Nancy!

-Richard Schmaltz

Executive Director