The Beca Project is a small, grassroots, nonprofit organization. It has grown from seeds that were planted in August 2009 when Stacey Holeman, a frequent visitor and trip leader to Central America, took part in her 2nd Spanish immersion course at the Cooperativa Spanish School in San Pedro La Laguna, Sololá, Guatemala. While visiting local families with her teacher, Mynor Agapito Cortez Puac (pictured above with students), she learned that children in the community can only continue in school beyond 6th grade if their parents can afford tuition; this has created a devastating cycle of poverty.
After returning home to The Dalles, Oregon, Stacey and her husband Mike discussed the problem and potential solutions and decided to provide a scholarship to cover the cost of tuition, uniforms, and supplies so one student could attend the 6 years of secondary school. They enlisted the help of Mynor and the Cooperativa’s director, Lorenzo Chavajay, who spoke with grade school personnel, reviewed grades, talked with students and parents, and recommended Andrea as the first Beca student. From this initial sponsorship the idea quickly spread through a circle of family and friends and within months 12 deserving students had full scholarships.
An emergency food and medical fund was developed and goals were established to continue the support of current students, add new students annually, and contribute to additional social projects in San Pedro. These include vital support for marginalized families, additional support for local schools, and a home construction project established by members of our Advisory Board. Growing interest and support led the group to formalize its mission and seek tax exempt status which was facilitated by John Coats, and to add a local donor opportunity at Chenowith Elementary School in The Dalles.
The Beca Project is managed by its directors and advisors on a voluntary basis.
Board of Directors
Stacey Holeman, President
Mandi Coats, Vice President
Mike Holeman, Secretary/Treasurer
Board of Advisors
Mynor Agapito Cortez Puac