It was a real treat to meet and talk through interpreters with Miriam Cerillo Perez, the Project Amigo college student our club is sponsoring. We learned more about her major, metallurgical chemical engineering, her family and her part-time jobs. Miriam was joined on the Zoom screen by Executive Director Kirk Dretzka, Donor Guidance Director Dora Zuniga and Abel Vargas Manzo, Director of Queseria Education Program.

Supported by donations from Rotary Clubs, individuals and one corporate sponsor, Project Amigo makes it possible for children of poverty to attend elementary school, junior high, high school and college by covering all costs of their education, including tuition, uniforms, backpacks with school supplies, and laptops for college students. To date more than 900 students have graduated from 12th grade, and many have achieved college and advanced degrees. Kirk related some amazing success stories. 

The organization's formula is simple. "It takes more than money," Kirk said. "Project Amigo takes a kid by the hand and makes sure she or he succeeds. In addition to attending classes and doing their homework, our students are required to give back ten hours to the community and to write letters to donors. They learn responsibility. We also have a psychologist on staff who works with students who need help and their families. Kirk noted that five members of the Project Amigo staff are graduates of the program.

Kirk and Dora thanked the club for its generous support of Miriam and urged members to consider visit Project Amigo for an upcoming Service Week. To learn more about Service Weeks: