Aprender y Crecer grows where PriceSmart grows

September 1, 2023

Aprender y Crecer was created in 2006 to represent the corporate social responsibility efforts of PriceSmart, and provide much needed school supplies to students in the developing countries where PriceSmart operates. It started as just a pilot program that supported 2,000 students at 6 public schools in Costa Rica. By 2011, the program had expanded to all PriceSmart markets in Central America and the Dominican Republic – 7 countries in total -- supporting nearly 33,000 students. That’s more than a 16-fold increase over 5 years!

With the opening of the first PriceSmart club in Colombia in 2011, along with a rapidly increasing amount of donations collected from PriceSmart members in the annual fundraising campaign, Aprender y Crecer now serves more than 150,000 students at 281 schools in 8 countries. As much as possible, Aprender y Crecer plans its growth where PriceSmart grows.

Sergio Cuevas and Blanca Santa María helping with supply donation in Guatemala.

Sergio Cuevas, PriceSmart’s Vice President of Operations for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras commented:

“Before a PriceSmart club begins operations, from the construction of the building, schools are selected and supplies are donated. The community can see that the philosophy of the company really is ‘Give before you receive.”

Aprender y Crecer brought new schools into the program ahead of the opening of the San Miguel, El Salvador club in May of this year. It also incorporated schools in the El Poblado community of Medellín, Colombia ahead of that club’s recent opening at the end of August.

Pedro Vera and Aprender y Crecer students at the opening of the El Poblado PriceSmart club in Colombia.

“I am proud to see how PriceSmart, through Price Philanthropies, has developed and shown interest in supporting the community in the countries where we operate,” remarked Pedro Vera, PriceSmart’s Senior Vice President of Operations, who oversees all operations in Colombia. “Programs like Aprender y Crecer confirm the great efforts that are made to change the lives of many students by giving them materials and books for their education.  For us it will always be a pleasure to keep working together with our members in search of contributions that allow us to continue supporting education and positively impacting the Colombian society.”

“As someone with 22 years at PriceSmart, part of what motivates me and what I like about working at this company is the balance between business and support for the community,” continued Mr. Cuevas. “One of the programs that I consider key in supporting the community is Aprender y Crecer.  I have had the opportunity to talk with parents and have heard firsthand how this donation of school supplies helps their other children go to school, or even allows them to enjoy more substantial food, due to having more money available that would have been spent on those supplies.”

With new clubs planned to open in 2024 in Escuintla, Guatemala and Santa Ana, El Salvador, Aprender y Crecer is already working to include new schools which will start receiving the benefits of the program starting with the 2024 school year.

PriceSmart employee in Colombia helping with school supply donation.

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