October 2012: We celebrate the graduation of our original student Madgalena with a BA in pyschology, after completion of a thesis on education and orphanage youth. Manuel, too, has graduated this month with a technical degree and plans to continue on in engineering with the January term. Earlier this year, Sylvia graduated in July from a cosmetology program and has already landed her first job. We couldn't be more proud of these three graduates, thanks to our generous donors who enable them and others to practice "LEARNING. . .to make a difference."
September 2012: With many family, friends, neighbors, and parishioners baking up a storm, our Bake Sale to Benefit Nuestro Ahora at St. Patrick Parish in South Hadley, MA surpassed last year's inaugural sale, raising $1211.75 in sales and donations in an amazing display of concern and generosity.
August 2012: Wish us luck as a small group of students travel by bus to Guatamala City near the end of this month to take part in BAM 21K Cuidad de Guatemala half-marathon where Vladi and Vickie will run to raise funds and awareness for Nuestro Ahora's Scholarship Program to keep students "LEARNING. . .to make a difference." Please consider sponsoring them by the mile or kilometer by clicking here
July 2012: Our students participated in two races this month: one for a cure for childhood cancer and another for Habitat for Humanity in Santa Ana where one of our students, Vladi, finished 4th in a field of 1000 runners!!
June 2012: Club Nuestro Ahora is formed combining youth, community, and running to promote awareness of and funding for the Scholarship Program while building community, improving health, and building youth self-esteem. Click on these links to view our blog at Club Nuestro Ahora and find us on facebook at Club Nuestro Ahora where you can view photos of our students racing, running, and having fun! We participated as a group in A Run Against Child Labor and El Salvador's Olympic Race Day, two races for our newly-formed club.
February 2012: We began the first weekend of the month with a combined group of university students and high school seniors two dozen strong joining hands in a build day for Habitat in the village of Zaragoza in the department of La Libertad. While individual weekly community service is a planned part of each scholarship student's respective commitments, this group activity fosters rapport among our students and helps their fellow citizens as they enjoy the fruits of teamwork.
January 2012: In El Salvador, the first two months of the year mark the start of the academic year (depending on the school), and we have twelve students in higher education at a variety of schools and universities depending on field of study. Programs range from one, three, five, six, or even eight year(s) and include cosmetology, mechanics, electrical engineering, nursing, social work, communications, computer engineering, education, psychology, and dentistry, according to the interests and abilities of the respective students across eight different schools.
November 2011: We have a banner group of 25 high school seniors in our formation program, El Caminito, who are about to graduate this month. Weekends at the Scholarship House over these past several months have been very lively! With our 7 university students as their mentors, these younger students have grown into a real community--32 students under one roof for suppers, sleepovers, study. . .LEARNING (together) to make a difference..
October 2011: With our growing numbers of students, we were fortunate to benefit from a recent Bake Sale for our Scholarship Program, held at St. Patrick Parish in South Hadley, Massachusetts earlier this month. From previous speaking engagements there, to their sacrificial Lenten giving, this pastor and parish have supported Nuestro Ahora students in various projects over the past three years. The Bake Sale raised an amazing $690.00 in donations and sales; and we applaud the bakers, buyers, donors, and workers for their generosity and support! As importantly, they keep our students in prayer as our students, likewise, remember their benefactors. Small gestures do, indeed, have a great impact and send a powerful message of concern for our students for which we remain truly grateful.
September 2011: On the 30th, we all celebrated the Day of the Child with a fiesta at the Scholarship House. Click on the link to view our many photos of that evening's activities complete with balloons, party lights, and pinata!.
July 2011: This month our high school students shared in a field trip day to visit sites in San Salvador, the capital city, areas not typically visited by those growing up in orphanages. Over a very full and fulfilling day, they viewed a collections of international art at the MARTE Museo de Arte de El Salvador , went out for ice cream, and then headed for Mass at the chapel at the UCA:.
Another July weekend, our students joined in laying foundations at a build for Habitat for Humanity site in San Vicente where they wielded shovels, hoes, buckets, box screen sifters,and wheelbarrows, prepping materials, hauling stone, and mixing cement. Our energetic and enthusiastic workers were well-exhausted by day's end in this true community building endeavor. . .working together per our motto, ". . .to make a difference."
April 2011: Our university students together with our newest group of high school seniors in our formation program, El Caminito, began a microfinance start up project, source of great discussion and debate. Watch for links to photos to come soon!
February 2011: Our semester began with a retreat for our university scholars at Bosque El Imposible National Park, El Salvador's first national park, established in 1989, located about 70 miles west of San Salvador in Ahuachapan. Noted for its disappearing dry tropical forest, El Imposible boasts lush mountainous beauty and is a known sanctuary for hundred of species of birds and butterflies.
November 2010: After having completed the national university entrance examinations, the nine students of El Caminito are about to graduate high school later this month. We wish them every success ahead!
On November 13th, all the students of Nuestro Ahora (high school and university) along with a few friends participated in the annual celebration at the UCA in San Salvador memorializing the Jesuits martyred in 1989. In what has become their traditional creation, Nuestro Ahora, 20 strong, recreated the faces of the four American church women to whom their Scholarship Program is dedicated--Dorothy, Ita, Maura, and Jean--and whose 30th anniversary of martydom will be marked in early December, both in Salvador and in the U.S. In turn, they sketched, outlined, and chalked the faces before filling the alfombra/carpet with multi-toned and colored sand. . .it was a day of collaboration, community, friendship, prayer, and celebration to honor these women.
September 2010: Cards hand-crafted in El Salvador as a communal project at the Scholarship House of the combined high school and university students were brought back over the summertime by Vickie and are being sold as a fundraiser in Western Massachusetts for the Scholarship Program. Unique and colorful, some hand-drawn, painted, colored, punched and/or appliquéd, these cheerful cards are labeled on the reverse with their source and the Program web-site and have been well-received by local church groups. They feature blank interiors for personal messages suitable for anniversary, birthday, encouragement, friendship, or get well wishes! Please let us know if you are interested in helping us promote a teachable moment for giver and recipient alike.
July 2010: This year marked the first Run for Salvador 5K Run/Walk held at Whiting Reservoir in Holyoke, Massachusetts on steamy hot Saturday, July 24th. With terrific support of the western Massachusetts community, we had 150 registrants, mostly runners and a handful of walkers sporting the creative logo designed by one of the Scholarship Program's university students--the combined Salvadoran and U.S. flags above the words "Running. . .to make a difference." Sharp looking on white Champion t-shirts, the shirts also featured our many local business sponsors names on the back. This race was organized and directed by Rachael Wolff as her senior project this Spring at Holyoke Catholic High School. Her efforts in Massachusetts and those of the Scholarship Students in San Salvador in designing individual logos for the shirts and voting on the winning selection demonstrate growing solidarity across the miles as they continue "LEARNING. . .to make a difference." Visit the race website (above) to view photos, results, and details of this amazing effort.
June 2010: Meet our newest high school students. . .Carlos Mauricio, Glendy Marisol, Howard Eduardo, Hugo Ernesto, Jenifer Carolina, Luis Alonso, Melvin Dagoberto, Neldy Elizabeth, Vladimir de Jesus. . .click on individual names to view photos, learn what they plan to study, their hopes, their heroes, their favorite sayings and activities. To see the entire class list for El Caminito 2010, click here.
May 2010: Our third year of El Caminito, our university prep program for high school seniors, is underway with nine students from seven different orphanages arriving at the Scholarship House on Friday evenings. New this year are Friday night English classes, where for 90 minutes all students (high school and university) will concentrate on lessons, later reinforcing their understanding and acquisition by each assuming responsibility for teaching what they have been taught to four students in their respective orphanages during the following week. After this, supper in community, conversation, and reflection end the evening. Saturday mornings begin early with breakfast together before the high school students head to the UCA for their university prep classes, which begin at 8 a.m. and last the day.
March 2010: All the students joined in the XXXth Anniversary celebrations for Archbishop Oscar A. Romero, martyred on March 24, 1980. They joined thousands of Salvadorans and international visitors at a concert at Salvador del Mundo and the procession from there to the centro for the outdoor Memorial Mass at San Salvador's Cathedral on March 20. That same weekend, the Program held its Day of Welcome for prospective students for the high school weekend program, El Caminito and welcomed orphanage students in their final year of high school as well as their respective orphanage directors.
February 2010: During this month, the students spent a weekend on a group retreat, preparing for the semester just underway and all getting to know one another better. They spent another weekend sanding and painting donated bunk beds and moved to a slightly larger rental house in the same neighborhood--one with more than a single shower and room for additional bunk beds and students. Finally, they hosted another visiting delegation from BC for an evening at the new Scholarship House.
January 2010: The new year is off to a busy start, as the students prepare to welcome a visiting delegation from Boston College over the weekend of January 9th and 10th. They'll have the opportunity to compare their respective university experiences and make new friends as the visitors meet up at the Scholarship House, share their stories, and head out to enjoy a meal together at the local pupuseria.
November 2009: For the second year, the students participated in the memorial celebrations at the UCA for the 20th anniversary of the Jesuit martyrs. There, as a group, they created an alfombra or carpet entirely of colored salt. . .time consuming, collaborative, and unique. Please check back for link to photos of the day coming soon!
October 2009: See an interview in the pages of Catholic Digest in the form of Q&A with program founder and director, Victoria Cavanaugh. (or see http://www.catholicdigest.com/article/table-of-contents-october-2009--be certain to scroll down to view links)
September 2009: Read a reflection by one of the students about El Salvador's Independence Day, celebrated this month.
August 2009: Did you know you can now follow us on twitter? See the link on our homepage or click here to follow us! On Saturday and Sunday, August 28-29, Nuestro Ahora hosted a development conference and retreat in Suchitoto for 15 scholarship students.
June/July 2009: Nuestro Ahora offers presentations in Massachusetts, New York, and Chicago outlining the mission and describing the growth and development of the Program. To view our recent live interview on "This is the Day" on CatholicTV, click on the program name and note you may watch it in full screen on your computer.
May 2009: We are planning now for a series of Program presentations in the Massachusetts area over several weeks this summer--late June through July. IF your group might be interested, please contact us ASAP via the Contact Us page (at right) to discuss the possibilities. Presentations usually include a short presentation by the Program Founder and Director outlining the Scholarship Program, a discussion of what's new, a photo display, and an opportunity for Q & As. Once our schedule is firm, you will find more information on this site--please do check back.
April 2009: Watch for more student reflections and updates of news under our newest tab-->The Latest--Student Updates, on the right-hand side of the list of links, under A Critical Need. . .these short summaries of their week. . .their worries, their activities, and sometimes accompanied by photos, worth, as they say, 1000 words, will keep you apprised of the Program from the student's point-of-view.
March 2009: Would you like to stay informed via e-news with easy clickable links back to our site and keep up with current Program news and event highlights? At this point, we plan a quarterly e-news e-mail. . .if you haven't yet received one and want to be added to our list (all e-mail information is private and will not be visible to others), please Contact Us!
On March 29, the Program held a Mass of Welcome at the scholarship house to formally welcome 14 new high school students to the second year of its university prep program, El Caminito--a day to meet the current university students (two of whom were part of El Caminito's first session last year), the incoming students, the Local Committee, to honor and remember the generosity of our donors, and to share dreams and possibilities. Click on the link above to read Magda's reflection and view photos of all the students.
February 2009: Learn about Our Second Annual Program Retreat in Suchitoto where all the students and some of the local Board shared a weekend away together. . .expectations, reflection, prayer, and relaxation before returning to the demands of the work just begun. Discover the way they celebrated Valentine's Day as a group back in San Salvador, blending some North American classics with those of Latin America, sharing their celebration.
January 2009: With the new calendar year, a new academic year has begun. In El Salvador, the school year begins in January and we have four students studying at university level this year. . .Magda has begun her third year, studying psychology at the Universidad Centroamericana; Celsa who participated in Nuestro Ahora's El Caminito university prep program last year is now studying nursing; Mirian who was also part of El Caminito last year will begin studies in an intensive English language program at Ave Maria Language Institute in a few days; and Maricela has just begun her studies in education at the teaching university in San Salvador. Much work and much excitement ahead! We ask your continued prayers.
December 2008: Nuestro Ahora received a Christmas gift of an original oil painting of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the Four American Church Women to whom the Program is dedicated. It now hangs in the scholarship house as a reminder of their sacrifice and commitment.
November 2008: View the reflection by one of the students about their participation in the 19th anniversary of the martyrs in a memorial day at the UCA, the Jesuit university in the capital, where they participated by creating their own "alfombra" or salt carpet of the Four American Church Women martyred December 2, 1980 to whom Nuestro Ahora is dedicated. Though the entry is in Spanish, be certain to scroll to the bottom to view the alfombra along with those Program participants who created it.
October 2008: With its official 501(c)(3) public charity status, Nuestro Ahora registers with Yahoo's GoodSearch and GoodShop--download the toolbar and help our students as you search and/or shop online. . .a smart move all around! Please visit (http://www.goodsearch.com/Toolbars.aspx) and share this with your friends and family to help us GROW. . . .
September 2008: Nuestro Ahora's first television interview with the program founder airs on Real to Reel from a presentation and interview taped earlier in the summer.
August 2008: Nuestro Ahora celebrates the First "Day of the Program" with a Mass of Celebration and Welcome at the Scholarship House for the students, their families, prospective students, the Local Committee, friends, & visitors, witnessing their faith and offering prayers and remembrance for their benefactors.
July 2008: Nuestro Ahora offers presentations in Western Massachusetts outlining the program growth and development since its inception and about its mission.
June 2008: The scholarship students and a high school student, currently participating in the university prep part of the program, El Caminito, together with the program director and a member of the board, visit Hogar de Las Hermanas Inmaculado Corazon in Izalco, Sonsonate to share the day with the children currently living at the orphanage and to meet with a prospective student who had grown up there and hopes to apply through Nuestro Ahora
March 2008: Nuestro Ahora makes its first public tour to raise awareness of the current issues in El Salvador, specifically in education for the country's neediest, and to look for financial support.
February 2008: Nuestro Ahora students, members of the Local Committee, and the program's founder participate in a retreat in Suchitoto, El Salvador to start the new academic year.
January 2008: Nuestro Ahora welcomes back the scholarship students and wishes them the best as they start a new year of studies. The Program becomes an officially recognized non-profit in the US.
December 2007: The Local Committee in El Salvador is established and meets for the first time. The Board of Directors in the States is established as well. Nuestro Ahora incorporates and is officially recognized by the state of Massachusetts.
November 2007: The program welcomes its second scholarship student.
August 2007: Nuestro Ahora opens the first scholarship house for students. First Nuestro Ahora scholar begins her second semester of studies. Nuestro Ahora's founder returns to El Salvador full time.
July 2007: First Nuestro Ahora scholar finishes her initial semester of university.
June 2007: COAR Ex-alumnos joins in supporting the mission of Nuestro Ahora
March 2007: Nuestro Ahora rents first house for scholarship students.
January 2007: First Nuestro Ahora scholar embarks on her university career.
December 2006: Nuestro Ahora receives its first funding.
November 2006: 4 residents of COAR graduate from high school.
September 2006: The concept of Nuestro Ahora first conceived.
August 28, 2005: Nuestro Ahora's founder first meets the children of COAR.
August 15, 2005: COAR celebrates its 25th anniversary.
1993: Amnesty Law passed, effectively protecting many from prosecution for human right violations and crimes committed.
January 16, 1992: Peace Accords signed officially marking the end to the Salvadoran civil war which had spanned some twelve long and gruelling years and claimed more than 75,000 lives.
November 16, 1989: Six Jesuits murdered at la Universidad Centroamericana (UCA).
1982: Number of abandoned children at COAR grows to more than 300; all are "new" orphans, victims of the bloody civil war in which their parents died.
December 2, 1980: Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan, Ita Ford, and Dorothy Kazel martyred. The scholarship program has been dedicated to the legacy of these four courageous American churchwomen who dedicated their lives to the people, and especially the children, of El Salvador.
August 15, 1980: La Comunidad Oscar Arnulfo Romero "COAR" founded in memory of Mons. Romero. Founder Father Ken Myers welcomes the first 27 orphans.
March 24, 1980: Salvadoran hero Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero assassinated while celebrating mass at the Hospital Divina Providencia.
1980: Civil war begins in El Salvador.