Play Virtual Trivia With Us on April 23rd!


You’re invited to our third annual virtual trivia night! Join us for an evening of competition and fun while learning more about Mission Santa Maria!

Our virtual trivia night will take place on Sunday, April 23rd, from 8:00-10:00PM EST. Sign up in teams of up to 10 people. There’s no fee to enter, but there is a prize for the winning team!

Want to create a team with friends that live near and far? No problem! Our virtual trivia night will take place over a zoom call, so you can participate with whomever you want from the comfort of your home.

Only one person per team needs to register, but please include your team name and the names and email addresses of your other team members in your registration form.


For questions, or if you have issues registering, please contact Grace at grace@missionsantamaria.com.


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2022 Annual Report

We are excited to share our 2022 annual report with you! Please click here to view the complete report.

As you will see, our annual report includes an overview of all we were able to accomplish last year, personal stories from our beneficiaries, and a closer look at our finances. Your generosity and support made our work possible. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!

Please consider sharing this report with anyone you know that might be interested in learning more about Mission Santa Maria. We are so grateful to partner with you in this work.

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University Program Graduate Becomes Our Program Coordinator!

Thanks to your incredible generosity, our university program has grown exponentially over the past few years. 

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Partnership to Expand Post-High School Employment Opportunities

As 2023 begins, we want to share a few details of one of our newest projects involving a partnership with DP World.

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The Hope You Bring

Here is the story of Liz and Edwin’s family. Thank you for bringing them joy and hope through your generosity. Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

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Our Christmas Wish List

Would you consider adding Mission Santa Maria to your Christmas list? Here is what we need most to continue to best serve the children in our programs.

– A Christmas meal for a scholarship plus family $50/family 
Our scholarship plus program employed a social worker to identify the needs of students from the most impoverished families. These students now receive comprehensive scholarships including tuition, transportation, school supplies, and food assistance. We would like to give this group of a families extra food this month to celebrate the holidays.

– Bedroom furniture for a University student $500
We are grateful to have a house where the girls in our university program can live in Guayaquil. But three new young women are moving in and their bedrooms have no furniture! Help us create a safe and dignified living environment by purchasing furniture for them.

– Computers $600
The Mission School needs 10 computers for the computer lab. For students without computers at home, the lab is the only place to access the internet and learn important technology skills.

– Return hot water to the Mission Home $2,000
Help us fix the hot water system at the Mission Home so that the children can take hot showers again!

– An extra set of hands at the Mission Home $5,000/year
Taking care of 85 children is all encompassing and exhausting. Help us continue to alleviate some of the workload of the Mission Home caregivers by hiring staff to assist with tasks like cooking, laundry, and cleaning. $5,000 covers the salary of one full time staff member for one year.

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Mission School Olympics

The Mission School is hosting their annual olympics. The school olympics is a chance for the children to learn about countries from all around the world while participating in a variety of sports challenges.

Each class is assigned a country to represent. The students and teachers become wholeheartedly committed to their team, decorating an olympic banner, coming up with a dance for the ‘opening ceremony’, and making sure to cheer the loudest when competing in the games.

While from the outside, it may just seem like another party (and we are the first to admit that there is a genuine love of parties here in Ecuador), the olympics provide more than just festivities. They offer a chance for students to bond with their classmates and teachers outside the classroom, they promote teamwork, introduce a more global mindset, and most importantly, allow students to develop both physically and intellectually.

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A Day in the Life of Fatima

As the holidays approach, do you feel stressed by the list of people you still need to shop for, the food you need to prepare, or all the packing you have to do to get ready for holiday travels? When I inevitably start to feel some of this burden, it helps to spend time with the missionary women to put things in perspective. Recently, I had the pleasure of spending the day helping Fatima in order to give you a glimpse of her life. Here is her schedule:

Fatima currently cares for 19 boys ranging in age from 3-12 years old. Life is hectic, messy, and full of love.

5am: Wakes up all the children. She currently has 19 boys, ranging in age from 3-12 years old in her care.

5-6am: Helps the children (especially the youngest) go to the bathroom, get changed for school, and make their beds.

6am: Leads a prayer and serves breakfast.

6:30am: Helps children clean up their breakfast. Checks all 19 backpacks to make sure every child has their school supplies and homework ready.

7am: Walks children to school.

8am: Walks children that are studying in the Mission Home tutor program to their classroom to begin their day of specialized learning.

8-9am: Cleans up the house (that has inevitably become a disaster by this time)

9am: Eats breakfast with the other missionary women, a rare chance to spend time together.

9:30-11:30am: Helps with the general functioning of the mission home. Today, she organizes a delivery of personal care items (toilet paper, soap, etc), folds sheets, and then meets with the psychologist to review a few of the cases of the children in her care. She shares that this time is far less stressful than it used to be, as she now has help with tasks like laundry and cooking that used to fall on her shoulders as well.

11:45am: Welcomes the 3-5 year olds back home from school.

12:30-1pm: Welcomes the rest of the children back home from school.

1pm: Serves lunch to the kids. Fatima eats her lunch at the counter while watching over the kids

2-4pm: Helps the kids with homework

4-5pm: Oversees playtime in the patio!

5-6pm: Directs the older children in their daily chores (sweeping the patio, taking out the trash), helps the younger children take baths

6pm: Older children take baths

6:30pm: Serves dinner

7:30pm: Reads the youngest children stories to put them to bed

8-8:30pm: Chats with and reads books to the older children to put them to bed

9pm: Eats dinner

10:30pm: Goes to sleep

10:30pm-5am: Wakes up 3 separate times. Once when someone has an accident and she has to change their pajamas and sheets, once when someone has a bad dream, and once to make sure everyone is sleeping in their own bed (she says that this is an important boundary to maintain especially when children just arrive at the home and have survived abuse)

Two times stand out to me most in Fatima’s crazy day (apart from how exhausted I felt after only one day of her life). First, when all the children return from school. She makes sure to greet each one and ask them a specific question about their day – she asks one boy about a presentation he is working on, another if a fight with a friend has been resolved, and another if he liked the orange that was packed as his midmorning snack. She says it is one way to demonstrate her love for each one of the children in her care.

The second is when the older boys don’t want to do their chores. They yell and whine, saying they want to play soccer for a few more minutes. She calmly picks up a broom and begins sweeping herself, saying she will help them but it’s time to sweep the patio and take responsibility for where they live. Soon they have all joined her with the exception of one, a newer resident of the Mission Home. She waits until she has finished helping with all the chores to talk to him privately. They agree to a plan where he will help put away all the dishes after dinner, a task usually reserved for Fatima, in order to make up for the missed chore and to spend more one-on-one time together.

Fatima’s example inspires me to be a more patient and loving mother all the time, and especially in the seemingly insignificant moments of the day.

Fatima has been caring for abused, neglected, and abandoned children for over 20 years. Her love and patience is seemingly unending.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from the whole Mission Santa Maria family! Here is a short video message to extend our gratitude.


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English Program Grows and Strengthens

As our English program has expanded exponentially, we thought it was time to share an update of all that you have made possible. We started our English program over two years ago when we repeatedly heard of a need to improve the quality of English language education at the Mission School. There is substantial data that supports the importance of English language skills in accessing employment opportunities in Latin America. To give the children in our programs the best chance at success in university or future income generation, we knew that we needed to boost their English skills. 

In 2019, we started working with Vicky, a British CELTA English Language teacher trainer who has a long history of training English teachers in Latin America, and happens to live a few miles from the Mission School.

Vicky leading a workshop for the English teachers.

In the beginning, Vicky worked with the English teachers at our school. She provided workshops on how to make lessons more student centered, did in classroom observations and feedback, and worked on lesson planning. Despite set-backs and almost 2 years of virtual schooling during the Coronavirus pandemic, the English teachers made immense gains.

A large barrier to overall progress remained class sizes, ranging from 35-40 students per class. The problem became much more apparent when the school finally transitioned back to in-person learning at the end of 2021. Before the 2022 school year began, we hired an additional English teacher for the high-school. At the suggestion of Vicky and the English teachers, we divided the grades by English level at the beginning of the school year to best cater classes to student needs. We hope to be able to replicate this in the primary school, but currently we don’t have enough classrooms to decrease class size. 

After working with school administration, all the teachers, and reviewing international best practices for English language acquisition, we implemented a new curriculum centered on Ecuador specific English language books from Cambridge University Press. The books measure English language progress based on CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Language), which is the international standard for describing language ability. Switching to this curriculum will hopefully maintain school-wide progress of English skills, as well as allow the teachers to uniformly and accurately assess student English levels. 

To support student learning, we purchased a class set of English-Spanish dictionaries and portable student whiteboards for all the English teachers to use in their classrooms. We purchased 23 projectors for the Mission School, 5 of which were designated to the English program. The projectors enable teachers to use multiple sources during a lesson, prepare for class more effectively, and engage students in new and interesting ways. 

Students using the Spanish-English dictionaries we purchased in a lesson based on reading comprehension.

Lastly, just a few months ago, we started an after-school intensive English club. Right now, there are 13 students that stay for two additional hours of English lessons weekly. We have recruited international English teachers to lead the program, which focuses on conversational and everyday English. The students recently had a blast in their Forrest Gump themed lesson. When the school breaks for summer vacation in February, we plan to offer a short term daily intensive club during the holiday. 

Our very first after-school English club started just a few months ago! We hope this program continues to grow and to eventually offer intensive English workshops over the summer vacation as well.

It is our goal that students graduating from the Mission School can speak and use English in their academic and professional lives. Though we still have a ways to go to reach that goal, we are well on our way. We hope to augment the English program more each year to offer exceptional, high quality education to our students.

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