Their motto: Wear a band, change a life.
The bands, made of leather and coconut, are named Yuda after the Spanish word Ayuda, which means help.
“You pick a student to sponsor, ours is named Maxwell,” said Ashley McGuffey, sophomore class president.
By selling a certain number of the bands, the young person’s education can be funded for the year.
Ashley said most American students hardly think twice about going to school.
“You never think about in other places they don’t have this privilege,” she said.
“And it is an opportunity to do something so important for another. It is a unique experience. You are the reason this kid is getting an education.”
Most Guatemalans have only three years of education. They remain in the poverty cycle by working in the fields making only enough money to survive.
The non-profit project is run locally by the Chino Valley Student Council, but the program is available nationwide.
The bands are handmade by Guatemalan artisans. They sell for $7; $4 goes to the student.
This is our second year and we plan to do it for years to come,” Ashley said.
The bands are sold on campus during lunchtime and other breaks and they sell quite well. It will take 300 sales to pay for a year of Maxwell’s education, and Ashley says they expect to reach that goal this year.
“We got 200 bands to sell last year, then we ordered 200 more,” she said. “At some point in the process you get to Skype with your student. You get to actually talk to him.”
Brent Whiting of Utah who founded the Yuda Band project in 2009 during a service trip to Guatemala said one of the best things about selling the band is that “youth is helping youth and they are seeing they have the power to affect lives in a positive way.”
He said young people love the bracelets and the fact that buying one will make a difference.
“It is unbelievable how such a small act can create such an impact in someone else’s life,” said Felicity Stickrod, a Chino Valley High School senior.
For more about the project, visit YudaBands.org. QCBN
By Patty McCormac, QCBN