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Scholarship Students Worldwide

4 schools of medical care provided on medical missions

Service trips conducted


Wealth increase for scholarship graduates

Patients served on Medical Missions

3 service groups can complete a home



I’m so happy that I went on this trip. The joy that people have in Guatemala is incredible. It’s bittersweet: When I went to Guatemala and I was serving people, it was the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be that happy again.

Anonymous, Marian High School

GUATEMALA, February 2019

Medical Missions like this allow you to come home and look at your own patients a different way. I think it’s very rewarding, both personally and professionally.

Dr. Harry Carr, M.D.

GUATEMALA, Summer 2017

We did this exercise where we had to buy a week’s worth of groceries on $7, and it was absolutely eye-opening. It was really hard, and what I came up with wasn’t food that I wanted to eat. But that’s the reality for them. I get a Starbucks every morning that costs as much as their food for their whole family for the whole week.

Anonymous, Saint Michael's Catholic Academy

GUATEMALA, January 2019

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International Samaritan in the News

Learn more about International Samaritan’s press coverage, campaigns, and community involvement.

Note: We are committed to respecting and uplifting our scholars. Due to some stories containing sensitive information, we redact or change the names of the scholars, their parents, their schools, and other details that could compromise their anonymity.

A Letter from Emanuel

Hello, I am Emanuel. I am 20 years old.

When I was in my mother’s womb, she did not want me to be born, so she hit her belly and took medication to cause a miscarriage, but I was born anyway. However, I was so badly damaged that when I was born I had to be hospitalized for two years and I still have physical deformities. When I was young, my mother hit me a lot, and she didn’t take care of me. By the time I was three, I had to feed myself every day; by the time I was five, I was in charge of all the cooking and cleaning for the whole house.

When I was five, my mother finally left me. She changed her name and fled to the United States. Soon after my father left, too, to be with another woman that he was seeing. He left me on the doorstep of my mother’s old boss.  I hoped that things would be better with her, but she also treated me badly. I remember that once she broke my head with a stone and put corn on my head so the birds and chickens would attack me. By the time I was six I wanted to die, and I began to plan how I could kill myself.

My aunt first started coming to see me on the weekends when I was seven years old. Until then, she had lived far away. Even though she couldn’t afford to keep me, she wanted me a lot. She did not hurt me and she took care of my injuries. She begged my dad’s parents to adopt me, and one day she finally convinced them to rescue me from the hell I was living.  When she and my paternal grandparents arrived to bring me home, they found me all naked and dirty. That was the day that my life changed, when my grandparents legally adopted me. They were very nice to me: They took me to the doctor for my injuries, they bought me clothes and shoes, they cut my hair, and after two years of preparation they put me in school with other people my age.

We thought that I would have to stop attending school after sixth grade because it became too expensive, but when I was ready for high school, International Samaritan found me. They gave me the resources to continue schooling. Thank God for this program that has helped me, not only in study but also in moral and psychological ways. Little by little I have changed, because this program believes in the young people who benefit from it. Thanks to International Samaritan my dream to graduate has come true, and I now have the opportunity to go to university. My hope is to get a degree in auditing and form my own company. Finally, my future seems bright.

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president’s blog

Who are the Saints in Your Life?

A year ago this morning, I walked in for my first day on the job at International Samaritan.  When I mention this fact to friends, old-school Catholics are quick to tell me, “Ahh, All Saints Day, that’s a good day to start your new job.”  For those of you who are not familiar with this tradition, “All Saints Day” goes back 1,400 years as a day set aside to remember the Saints of the church–those people who have made it to heaven.  I thought it might be a fitting moment to thank the saints in my life, those people who have brought a little bit of heaven here.

Let’s start with my mom.  She turned 80 last week and celebrated by parring the last hole in our annual golf fame to beat me by a stroke.  Not very saint-like behavior indeed.  But you will never find a woman who so quietly and consistently gives of herself every day to help others. 

The leaders of our work in each nation: Angelica, Erika, Selam, Tavian and Tim.  When I read about the Saints of old, I can’t help but think they would find kindred spirits with these five people.  They walk so lovingly with the families in their communities, helping to make sure that the most worthwhile young people get a legitimate shot at making it out through education–and then so fiercely guarding and encouraging them at every step along the way.

Fr. Frank Canfield, S.J., a true disciple of Christ and discipler for Christ to thousands of young men at U of D Jesuit High, St. John’s Jesuit, and St. Ignatius in Cleveland over the last fifty years.  A bum hip has him temporarily sidelined, but he still makes Mass every day, praying for many people on this email list. If you are one, please send him a card at Colombiere.

The seven families who have given so generously and anonymously to launch our scholarship program that will include seven hundred children in five nations next year.  Each and every one of these scholars is a walking miracle you helped to make possible. That’s like automatic qualification for sainthood right there.

Fr. Frank Canfield with my daughters, Julia and Grace, at Colombiere last summer.

My wife, who has a bigger heart for the lost and the hurting than anyone I’ve ever met–and I was one of those people 22 years ago.  Her love for Christ brought me back into the faith and continues to encourage and inspire me every day of our marriage since then.

Sheila Geary at Marian, Phil Skeldon at St. John’s, Colleen Summanen at Bishop Watterson and all of the campus ministers I have yet to meet who serve as virtual St. Christophers for the young people travelling from their schools each year and St. Josephs to the people with whom we work. 

Here at the office, Andrew and Mary, along with Dan, Emily, Hannah, Michelle, Sarah, who give so generously of their heart and talents to drive our mission.  They make every day a joy to serve and work here.

My cousin, Moose, also known as Captain Steve Walton, a 23-year-veteran of the Detroit Police Department.   Every time I moved homes or jobs in Detroit, Moose got assigned to the precinct where I was, first as a patrolman and ultimately as the captain of both the 6th precinct and the 11th.  It felt like God assigned him to me as my personal guardian angel, but I don’t think there’s a good all-angels holiday so I’m celebrating him here.

My point in sharing these people with you is that we all have saints around us.  Please take a moment to thank a saint or two in your life today.

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...

Where do you see God in Life?

What I love about our work at International Samaritan is how often I see and feel the presence of God in what we do. Recently, I had the unique privilege of sitting in on the conversations that our scholarship students in Guatemala were having with a woman who has...

Come Find Out if Trump was Right

In retaliation for what he perceives to be a lack of support from the leaders of Central American nations, President Trump announced last week that he intends to cut $500 million from programs addressing the root causes of migration from those nations.  This makes me...

What would you eat on $2 per day?

It wasn’t until I became a father that I realized how important food is to one’s emotional well-being.  Growing up, three square meals a day were just always there for me, not much different than having clean water to drink.  I just took food for granted. But when my...

What’s the Best Job You’ve Ever Had?

Mike at his old favorite job, taken in 1999. For me, that answer has always been easy.  For a couple of seasons before law school, and two glorious seasons after it, I sold ice cream at the Joe Louis Arena for the Detroit Red Wings. I made about a hundred bucks a...

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