We recently spoke with Phil, a long-time supporter of Safe Passage, who lives in Maine. He has been a friend to Safe Passage since 2004 and has visited our campus in Guatemala so many times that he has lost count! In fact, he was slated to visit again last year but COVID-19 caused his plans to change, as was the case with so many of us.

In addition to his continued support, Phil has also directly changed the lives of two students through our sponsorship program. His first venture as a padrino was with Iris, who was 7 when he began sponsoring her. She has since graduated, but the two still keep in touch. Phil was proud to report that Iris is now in medical school, on a scholarship through our partner Shared Beat. She is doing amazingly well and will soon begin clinical work at a local hospital for her medical degree!

Phil and former sponsor student, Iris, in May 2019.

After Iris graduated, Phil began sponsoring another student named Zuly. In his words, “he isn’t moving mountains but is changing a life,” one of the reasons he did not hesitate to sponsor a second student.

Zuly attends our full-day middle school (Básico), and is now in 9th grade, which is the last grade level that we added to our program this year, and is the culmination of our vision for our school. Phil understands how important it is for Zuly to complete her studies through 9th grade. The odds will then be in her favor to enter Diversificado, or high school, where just 10% of the Guatemalan population hold a degree.

Phil keeps in touch frequently and knows his encouragement helps Zuly do well in her studies.  Once safe to do so, Phil said he looks forward to visiting Zuly on campus again.

Phil with his current sponsor student, Zuly.

Phil has continued sponsoring for the last 17 years because he sees the impact his support and encouragement makes in the lives of these students.

If you would like to help change the life of a student, consider becoming a sponsor today.