A Sponsor's Role
A sponsor is someone who makes a commitment to provide scholarship (beca) money to one or more students. Sponsors are encouraged to commit to sponsoring the same child for six years through high school. Students, their families and sponsors find this continuity of personal involvement with the student to be beneficial and rewarding.
Annual Beca Donation - 7-12th Grades
Sponsorship of a student involves commitment to make an annual scholarship or beca contribution (currently $350 US for 7-12th grade students) to assist families who would otherwise be unable to support their child's continuing education.
Establishing a Relationship with your Student
Sponsors are expected to maintain periodic contact with their students to encourage them in their studies, respond to their correspondence and provide a source of support for both students and their families. Students greatly appreciate receiving letters, now most often e-mail letters, from their sponsors.
An increasing number of students have their own e-mail addresses, but for those who do not, sponsors can send e-mail messages to students at . Remember, response time can be weeks. 7-12th grade students are only in the office once a month and, while they are encouraged to read and respond to your e-mails at that time, limited computer access and translator help frequently means messages are not answered until the following month. Sponsors can also send snail mail to students (please do not send anything of value via the Mexican mail service) at Niños Adelante, #20 Antonia Nava, Int. 7, Colonia Centro, Zihuatanejo, Gro., Mexico. (Unfortunately, in Mexico, snail mail is a well-deserved name where it is frequently slow and sometimes unreliable.)
All sponsors are also encouraged, but not required, to visit Zihuatanejo annually to see their student, his or her family. Students highly value meeting and spending time with their sponsors. We also believe that such visits reinforce the importance of education and the value of the program to students and their families. Many sponsors visit Zihuatanejo during the middle of February when the Board of Directors meets, the organization holds its annual fund raising dinner and the largest Sponsor/student Breakfast is held.
When Program Graduates go on to College
A significant and growing percentage of our program graduates are continuing their educational commitment by enrolling in a post-high school formal education program, including technical institutes, state universities and federal universities. Since 2006, Friends of Niños Adelante has made $575 US scholarships available to all program graduates who enroll in all such institutions.
Given the known benefits of long-term support/mentoring relationships, we encourage sponsors to continue their beca support at the new $575 per year level through college and even post-graduate work. Recognizing that such a commitment will not be comfortable or appropriate for all sponsors, the organization has established reserves to continue beca awards to these students in the event sponsors are unable to continue their support.