Katrina Carmichael and Rebeka

Sponsor A Student

by Todd Fredrickson |

Rebeka was attending Colegio Cristiano Havila, a school in Nicaragua, for the first time. It was awkward in part, not only because she was new, but also because she was a few years older than most of the other seventh graders. Rebeka had a hard time connecting and making friends until Katrina came along.

Katrina had just arrived with the rest of a mission team from Northshore. She came with her parents, Philip and Julia Carmichael, to help support and sponsor students attending Colegio Cristiano Havila. Katrina immediately noticed that Rebeka had a hard time fitting in with the other students, so she introduced herself. They clicked immediately.

“By the end of the week, we felt like sisters,” Katrina said. “I told her I wanted to be her sponsor.  She hugged me for several minutes and was so thrilled to feel accepted and loved. Throughout the week she had been introduced to some girls and was starting to feel a part of the school.”

Twice a year Northshore sends a missions team to visit and support students at Colegio Cristiano Havila. Every student at Havila has an American sponsor through Sponsor a Student. Sponsor a Student is run by UNIDOS Nicaragua, a nonprofit organization that was founded and is run by volunteers from Northshore.

A sponsorship costs $360 per year, and sponsors and their students exchange letters twice a year.  The money raised from sponsorships provides most of Havila’s operating funds and allows the school to enroll students whose families cannot afford it.

“The sponsorship program is such an important part in these kids’ lives because it allows them to learn and have passions and hopes for the future, even if they themselves don’t have the necessary resources,” Katrina said.  “The sponsorship program truly changes lives.”

The need is greater than ever this year after 11 months of political turmoil in Nicaragua. Havila’s mission is to serve the poorest of the poor, and their numbers are skyrocketing. Last year Havila had 215 students. This year it has more than 270, including 70 who are there for the first time.

Those new students and a handful of returning students need sponsors, and this is the time of year when you can become one.  The Carmichaels and the rest of the February team are back from Los Cedros with the student photos and information, and they will be in the Baker Room this Sunday, March 17.

Please stop by and check out the photos, ask any questions you have about Sponsor a Student, and perhaps consider sponsoring one or two yourself.


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