Our mothers Nancy McCracken and Hilary Pont greatly valued health and education and spent significant time serving others. They were called to heaven early in their lives, so we created this foundation to honor their memory through supporting the health and education of underserved children and communities in Guatemala, a country that we love.
My first trip to Guatemala was nearly 20 years ago. Now we currently take an annual trip to Guatemala with many conversations and planning with our Guatemalan partners between trips.
Upon moving back to Austin in 2008 we began going on our church’s Guatemalan mission trip. Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church’s Guatemala trip has grown over the years and now supports various projects including:
- Hogar Miguel Magone in Mixco, Guatemala
- Escuela San Bartolome in San Andrés Itzapa. When in San Andrés we stay at the Carmelite Convent and so now are also good friends with wonderful Carmelite sisters and Madre Marina.
- Various additional sites around Guatemala have also partnered with our church to install and maintain Living Waters for the World clean water systems. You can see the system at the Escuela San Bartolome here: Water system demo in Guatelama
Building upon the success and friendships made during these trips we looked for opportunities to utilize our pediatric training. Nearly half of all births in Guatemala are born in homes and most of these deliveries occur without staff with formal medical training. And so through talking with our friends and colleagues in Guatemala, we identified the opportunity to provide a lay midwife training program. We have now begun providing training once year to lay-midwifes, nurses and other clinical staff.
- Clínica Salvatore & Salud Que Transforma in Palin, Guatemala where we conducted our first Helping Babies Breathe course. And the Living Water’s Team from our church’s Guatemala team has since installed a water purification system at the clinic.
- ASCECSA in Chimaltenango, Guatemala where conducted our most recent Helping Babies Breathe course.
Another huge need is for more children to complete secondary and college education. Many children in Guatemala have to leave school before high – or even middle school – so that they can work with their family and/or seek employment to help support their families financially. And only the first 6 years of school are free and provided by the government. Thus we seek to provide financial support for service minded promising students in Guatemala from under-served communities.