By Tasha Sotomayor
Returned missionaries from Guatemala are continuing their service by going back to set up schools for children.
“The Rose Foundation has great successes in educating children that would not have the opportunity to receive education otherwise,” said Richard Culatta, 24, a senior from Kingston, R.I., majoring in Spanish education and director of the technology committee of the Rose Foundation.
According to a news release, the Rose Education Foundation is an organization formed by returned missionaries who served in Guatemala who believe they can give hope to the children of Guatemala by providing better educational opportunities.
The Rose Foundation was established in 1999 and has set up three schools – one each in Chimaltenango, Patzicia and Momostenango.
“There is an incredible need (in Guatemala),” Culatta said. “Anything you provide is really making a difference.”
The Rose Foundation does have a full-time staff, he said, but the majority of the support for the foundation comes from volunteer members.
“The Rose Foundation is an organization dedicated to providing the best education for children in Guatemala,” Culatta said.
The administration of the Rose Foundation is paid through an endowment from Nedra Roney of NuSkin, he said. The rest of the schools are paid for primarily through donations. The endowment from NuSkin enables 100 percent of the donations to go directly to the schools, Culatta said.
“Through us, they receive the only chance they will ever have to go to school,” said Vilma Rodriguez, director of the Rose Foundation in Provo.
“When you come from overseas and you see all the wonderful blessings that we as Americans enjoy here as a people, then you want to share it and do something for your own country,” Rodriguez said. “But it is hard when you have your own real concerns, and you”re trying to make a living. You have little power to help anyone else.”
Rodriguez said the Rose Foundation gives her the opportunity to give back to her country.
When students go to Guatemala through the Rose Foundation, they will go for five or 10 months, leaving in January or May, Rodriguez said. This program is particularly beneficial to education majors, English majors and Spanish majors.
Megan Smith, 21, a sophomore from Seattle, majoring in English, went to Guatemala in January of 2002, and was a pre-kindergarten teacher from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day.
Smith taught 3- and 4-year-olds English, and reading and writing in Spanish.
“Overall it made me a better person and taught me that my place in this life is to serve,” Smith said. “There is no greater gift than service. The experience made me put the Lord first, the Guatemalan people second and myself third. It made me realize who I really am.”
The Rose Foundation allows students to dive into a new culture, and develop a new perspective and way of thinking about the world, she said.
“You get more out of it than you would believe, and the kids teach you more than you teach them,” Smith said. “If you are looking for an adventure in life, something to complete who you are, the Rose Foundation won”t give it to you but give you an opportunity to give it to yourself.”
Students can participate in the Rose Foundation three ways: teaching, volunteering services here on campus and donating money.
Students can become involved with the Rose Foundation by calling (801) 765-0430 or by going to the Web page at http://www.rosed.org.