A University Program Meeting

We recently had the pleasure of gathering almost all of the young adults currently receiving scholarships in our university and post highschool work-study program. These young adults have all graduated from the Mission School, and many of them spent some part of their childhood being cared for at the Mission Home.

Jenny, one of the first young woman to receive a university scholarship through our university program and a current Occupational Therapist, is now our University Program coordinator. She speaks with every Mission Santa Maria scholarship recipient monthly or more to orient them to the program, make sure that they are up-to-date with their budget and living needs, and of course offer guidance and support emotionally and academically. She has been working with Mission Santa Maria for almost two years now, and is one of the main reasons we have been able to expand our university program so significantly over the past few years.

Jenny, left, graduated from our university program and now serves as the program coordinator. Kengie, right, is currently in her third year of studies in Guayaquil. Both Jenny and Kengie spent their adolescent years living at the Mission Home.

We currently have 35 scholarship recipients in the University and Work-Study Program. We have students in every year of their studies, studying in universities all over Ecuador, and studying a variety of majors and degrees. We have two medical students in Cuenca, a social work student in Puerto Viejo, education majors in Guayaquil, and more. Given the rigorous demands of university and the fact that our scholars live in cities across Ecuador, it is rare that we are able to gather all program participants. But we think it is important to do so in order to cultivate a community of scholars as well as to check-in face-to-face.

During the recent meeting, we shared our goal for the program. Most importantly, that the education and degree that scholarship recipients receive helps lead them to dignified, sustainable income generation. Or, a good job. Several recent graduates spoke about their experience graduating from university and searching for work. Jim spoke about the importance of networking and cultivating relationships while in university that could help with employment opportunities after graduation. Finally, Jenny asked about ways that the program might be improved for the benefit of current scholarship recipients, as well as young adults that will enter the program in the future. It was a productive and fruitful morning.

Jim with a few of our recent university program graduates. Alixa, left, graduated with a degree in accounting. Paul, second from left, graduated with a degree in nursing. Ambar, third from left, graduated with a degree in public relations. Victor, third from right, graduated with a degree in petroleum engineering. Marcela, second from right, graduating with a degree in social work. Jim, right, graduated a long time ago 🙂

We are grateful to see all of the young people that are on paths to a professional life. We are especially grateful to all of your for making their studies possible.