They say God has a plan for everything, and this story definitely contributes to that claim. On my flight down to El Salvador in June of 2010, I sat next to a girl named Jennifer Hamilton that looked to by about my age. It wasn’t until mid way through the flight that we started conversing. She pulled out a large signed picture of Jason Kidd, and I happened to catch a glance at it. I asked her if she met him to get the picture signed, and our conversation went from there. She asked why I was flying to El Salvador, and I told her that and friend and I were looking to start a non-profit organization that would empower high school graduates to attend higher education. She proceeded to say that her father ran a grade school and high school in Ahuachapán called Casa La Atarraya, which was about an hour and a half from the capital. What a coincidence! We conversed for the remainder of the flight, and she invited us out for lunch and a tour of the school. The second week we were in El Salvador, we made the trip out to Ahuachapán.
They gave us a tour of the beautiful campus, and we got to interact with some of the students and teachers. Following the tour, we had a great lunch and discussion about how both of our organizations can work together. We learned that since the school is located in a very poor area, most of their graduates need some kind of aid to continue studying in college. That is where we began to see the light. You have a high school in a very poor, rural area of El Salvador, that is privately funded and operated, whose mission is to educate and empower its students beyond what one would receive in the public school system. Because these students are in essence “privately educated,” they would have no problem succeeding in higher education. After our visit to Casa La Atarraya, it became clear to us that God had a plan in mind for the work that we were doing. After we established the International Organization for Youth Education in the summer of 2010, we again reached out to the people at Casa La Atarraya in order for their students to apply for our scholarship program. Currently, we have three applicants from that school.