By Mike Tenbusch | May 6, 2022
This past Friday, our board of trustees made a huge commitment to build a “family life center” in Honduras as one of our four goals this year. We want to give our scholars a safe and nurturing place they can go to after school to be surrounded by people who believe in them and will help them find their purpose and passion. And like the family life center our team in Ethiopia runs so well, the one in Honduras will include space and activities for parents to discover and launch their dreams too!
I love the chart below because it shows the power of education in helping people get out of poverty, based on census data in Detroit from 2010.
If you take a closer look at these numbers presented a different way, you’ll find that there is a much more fun and adventurous strategy than schooling to cut poverty rates in half.
When I got married in 1997, I had a $90,000 law school loan that I was trying to pay down while selling ice cream at Detroit Red Wings games and starting a non-profit we called Think Detroit. My total income that year was $23,000, putting me pretty close to the poverty level at that time. My car was 31 years old, and paying for health insurance was out of the question.
Marriage changed all of that for me. Maritza believed in me, she supported me, and together we made a home that became our foundation for growth. She was also the lending manager of a bank, making almost double what I made — and she had a shiny new car and health insurance. I married way, way up!
Of course there have been challenges along the way. It took us 18 years to pay off that law school loan, and Maritza and our three children made a lot of sacrifices so that we could make that $483 payment each month. But by the grace of God we are all still together and making it through.
The life stories of our scholars and our graduates make the same point resoundingly clear. When members of a family look out for each other, good things happen, even in the direst of circumstances. To help build up families, we strategically invest the donations you make into food support, mental health counseling, and medical treatment for the family members of our scholars. We want all of our scholars to be able to enjoy the strength that comes from family—if not in the one they have now, then in the one they will build after graduation.
Maritza and I celebrating the graduation of our daughter, Julia, over lunch last Saturday.
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