Submitted by Kathleen Duncan, Founder of Educarte and Board Member of Esperança
A few months ago when I was in Mexico I received one of the smallest individual donations in our history. It was also the most meaningful and heart-warming donation I have ever received. In fact, it brought me to tears.
The story behind this donation…
Since I started the Educarte program in 2016 my local team and I had been scattered around town working out of whatever spaces we could borrow or rent inexpensively. Over the years the program had been growing rapidly and we had recently added a program serving children with special needs. As an organization now employing a team of 20+ professionals working tirelessly to support more than 800 students, we really needed the stability of a permanent home. By late last year, we had found a property we knew would be perfect for our program and we were desperately trying to find a way to purchase it.
Then, in early December I was in Mexico working with my team for a few days. As I was getting ready to head back to Arizona, the Executive Director of Educarte asked me if I could stop by her house on my way out of town. She told me her 8-year-old daughter, Natalia, had something she wanted to give me. Because her mother has served as our Executive Director since 2017, Natalia has spent many hours playing nearby while her mother and I were busy working to develop and maintain a successful program. Apparently, she had heard her mother and me frequently talking about how important it was for the program to have the stability of a permanent headquarters. She had also heard me wondering how and if I would ever be able to find the funds to purchase the property we had found.
When I got to their home Natalia handed me a plastic jug with the words “Para Tia Katy” written on it. There were 62 pesos—approximately 3 U.S. dollars--inside. When I asked her what this was for, Natalia told me that she is happy that we are helping a lot of kids go to school so they can have better lives. She explained that she knew that I was trying to find money to buy a property to be able to help even more kids. So, she had been doing extra chores and saving up her money and wanted to give it to me to help buy the property. I was completely overwhelmed by this gesture. I am pretty sure I cried for much of the drive home.
Fortunately, with Natalia’s help, at the end of December, we were able to purchase the property. In early January we moved into Educarte’s beautiful, new permanent home and Natalia now spends many hours there after school. She is so happy to have been able to help make this dream come true for us and she also takes great pride in the property. A couple of weeks ago her mother sent me the photo you see here of Natalia helping wash the windows on the building. When Natalia headed outside her mother asked her where she was going. Her response was, "I have to help take good care of this building I helped buy".
Since I started this program in 2016 I have been incredibly grateful for and touched by the generosity of so many who have supported it. From large donations received by foundations, organizations and generous philanthropists to smaller donations received by many individuals, every single one of these gifts has meant a great deal to me. However, I am not sure I will ever receive a gift that means more to me than the 62 pesos I received from Natalia.
If you'd like to contribute your pesos to the Educarte program, I encourage you to make a donation here.