Letters from the


What Do We Do?

Our team gathered recently for a two-day retreat to update our strategic plan.  One of the questions we were trying to answer is what we should do in Costa Rica and smaller communities in Guatemala where we have been sending student immersion teams but do not have other elements of our model in place there.  

One of our board members suggested a rule of thumb that I’d like to share with you.  As we go forward, we are thinking that when we commit to working with a community, we should do so only if we have:

  1. a local team of people in place to lead and guide the work
  2. a scholarship program for children there, and
  3. at least one other element of our model in place, which could be any of the following:
  • Capital improvements (new housing, classrooms or medical clinics)

  • Clean water solutions

  • Food and nutrition support, as well as other help with basic needs

  • Medical missions

  • Parent empowerment programs (adult literacy, workers’ coops, or similar training)

  • Student immersion trips

  • Youth sports

This recommendation speaks to the value that we place on people leading the work locally, as well as the power of education and scholarships to help people out of poverty.  It also gives those leaders and students the opportunity to incorporate at least one, if not more, of the other needed elements of our model in.

If we commit to this principle, it means that we are either going to have to increase our efforts in some places or to thoughtfully transition out.  Many of those who travelled with us to Chinautla, Esquintla and Costa Rica receive this email. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. And for those who have questions or thoughts about this, I’d welcome your communication too.  Please reply to this email to let me know what you think. 

I am the Champion

If you haven’t done so already, take two minutes to check out the performance of the Detroit Youth Choir on America’s Got Talent last week.  Just click on the picture below for almost instant joy:I don’t know any of the young people in this choir, but I’ve spent most...

The Sound of Silence in Nicaragua

I recently returned from a week visiting with our scholars and partners in Nicaragua and what stunned me more than anything else about Nicaragua was the silence.  Since the death of more than 300 protestors in the streets last year, it feels like half the nation has...

Where are the Bright Spots in your Life?

My heart aches for the times we live in.  The atrocities committed in Dayton and El Paso this past weekend don’t seem like isolated events.  They seem like the inevitable result of living in a world consumed with glorifying oneself on social media, with demonizing...

What Coco Gauff and our Scholars Have in Common

Last week, a 15-year-old girl named Coco became the youngest person ever to win three matches at Wimbledon, including an awe-inspiring comeback after being down 6-3 and 5-2 in the second match.  The thrill of that victory, and the beautiful bond so evident between her...

Straight Out, Flat Out, and Honest.

One of my strengths is that I never see a glass as half full;  I see it as mostly full almost all the time.  My natural optimism helps me in my work, but I've learned that it can also hurt me.  Sometimes the glass can actually be half empty—or even completely empty...

What’s Most Important in Your Community?

On Mother’s Day in Guatemala, 70 women from a village bordering a dumpsite on the outskirts of Guatemala City gathered to work with our team on the answer to that question. Figuring out a list of needs was the easy part. They need: A school A recreation center Access...

About Us

International Samaritan is a nonprofit organization with the designation 501(c)(3). Our headquarters is located in Ann Arbor Michigan.


(734) 222-0701

803 N Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

M-F: 9am-5pm, S-S: Closed