Youth Ambassadors in Guatemala

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Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.

Education reduces poverty, empowers women and helps prevent disease. In a Perfect World’s REACH program ensures children in the world’s poorest countries have access to education by funding the construction of schools in remote communities, breaking the cycle of poverty and promoting gender equality. Our impact stretches from Africa to Nepal, from Central America to the Caribbean, 30 schools and counting.

Local Lessons, Global Reach.

At home in the US, our Youth Ambassadors have been learning about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, with a specific focus on the intersection between Education & Poverty. This July, they came together from across the US to take what they’ve learned and have a direct impact on other young people in Guatemala.

In the months leading up to the trip, the Youth Ambassadors attended educational seminars to learn about the region’s history and culture. These pre-trip meetings also reinforced global literacy and what it means to be a global citizen.

Pickaxes and shovels, grit and determination.

Once in the community, the IAPW team was welcomed with open arms. After a formal welcome ceremony, we started immediately on the task at hand: to build new classrooms and install a playground for the children of El Arenal in Santa Cruz del Quiché.

Work on the construction site was not easy, but the IAPW team dug in, determined to complete construction on the classrooms and the playground for the community. By the end of the week, the classrooms were complete, murals had been painted, water filtration systems were installed and the playground was full of grateful and exuberant children.

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Education Beyond the Classroom.

Play is an important part of the learning experience for young children. Through play, children develop social and cognitive life skills, mature emotionally, and gain the self confidence required to engage in new experiences.

With a new playground installed by IAPW Youth Ambassadors, we made an even deeper impact on the community, increasing the students’ mental and physical health, learning skills, and fostering gender equality and life skills.

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More than construction.

We painted murals, taught English and sewing classes to parents, taught the students in Spanish, planted trees and poured ourselves into the tasks at hand. Working with the community towards lasting change that will be felt for generations to come.

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Experiencing Indigenous life.

Our Youth Ambassadors also immersed themselves in the Maya way of life, giving them a chance to understand the community they were there to serve. They made tamalitos, learned to use a traditional weaving loom called the wipil, washed clothes by hand and got busy flipping their own tortillas on the grill. This fostered an even deeper sense of connection and empathy for the indigenous community they were there to serve. Service driven by empathy: powerful beyond measure.

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Time to connect.

During recess and after school, we had an opportunity to really get to know the kids. True friendships were formed, even where language barriers existed.

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Bonded for life.

Throughout the week, the Youth Ambassadors not only connected with the community but also with each other. By allowing themselves to fully embrace the vulnerability inherent in this new experience, they formed new friendships to last a lifetime. Whether working to support each other on the construction site or encouraging each other on a tough hike up a volcano, the Youth Ambassadors showed that there is great power in their common desire to change the world.

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three young kids from the U.S. stand in the airport in Guatemala
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We celebrated.

At the end of our time in the community, the IAPW team joined teachers and students and the entire community in a Dedication Ceremony to celebrate the new school and playground. The children had spent the week preparing dances and poems for us, and we surprised them with special song and dance, too.

Local government representatives were also present to deliver speeches and praise the IAPW team for their hard work and dedication to the project.

We delayed our goodbyes as long as we could, but soon it was time to load up and head out. There were many tears. Happy tears for our accomplishments and sad tears for the new friends we were leaving behind. A true testament to the scope of our impact.

two young people dance in brightly colored traditional Guatemalan outfits on grass, surrounded by smiling and singing kids in similar outfits

Our hearts are full.

“This experience has changed my life forever. I’m grateful to In a Perfect World that I was able to join this service trip and make a difference in the community. We came here to give to the community but they gave us so much in return as well”. ~ Noah, 13


An extra special thank you to our implementing partner School the World and our corporate partner, Screenfeed, whose generous support helped to make this school a reality in the community. We are so grateful to have you as part of the In a Perfect World family. And even more grateful that you were able to join us on this experience.

Thank you.

To everyone who supported this journey, we thank you wholeheartedly. Our Youth Ambassadors made a lasting impact on the community and the entire immersive experience of this trip made a lasting impact on our Youth Ambassadors. They are proof that all young people have the power to change the world. They just need the tools, opportunity and voice to do just that.