Aprender y Crecer provides school supplies and books to nearly 148,000 students at 276 public schools in the eight Latin American countries where PriceSmart operates. The main source of funding for this program is the Juntos Por La Educación (Together For Education) fundraising campaign that takes places in PriceSmart clubs each year. Donations from PriceSmart members and matching funds from Price Philanthropies are vital to sustaining the Aprender y Crecer program, and are the key driver for expanding to additional schools.
With the success of the 2022 campaign, which collected more than $2,085,000 in donations from members plus another $823,000 in matching funds from Price Philanthropies, Aprender y Crecer will welcome more than 14,000 students at 23 public schools into the program in 2023.
“Imagine that we are providing all these young people the opportunity to improve their lives, and have a better, brighter future,” remarked John Hildebrandt, Chief Operating Officer of PriceSmart. “This fills our hearts with joy as we understand the difference we are all making in the lives of so many young children.”
Aprender y Crecer grows where PriceSmart grows. With new clubs opening in 2023 in the city of San Miguel, El Salvador and the El Poblado community of Medellín, Colombia, Aprender y Crecer has already incorporated schools in those areas, to further the commitment to support the communities where PriceSmart operates.
Providing school supplies for students has been the backbone of Aprender y Crecer since its inception in 2006. But school supplies are just the beginning. Every year each school receives a substantial donation of cleaning supplies, to foster a clean and dignified school environment. Also, the more than 7,400 teachers at schools that participate in the program also receive a package of materials to support their work in the classroom.
Fourth grade teacher Bryan Barahona started this school year at Escuela Club de Leones #2, a school that has been a part of Aprender y Crecer since 2008. Having been a teacher at other public schools in Honduras previously, Bryan immediately noted the difference between those schools and this one. “Not having supplies or books, we teachers would take from our salaries or our pockets to buy the basics,” commented Bryan.
With the monies raised in the fundraising campaign, schools that participate in Aprender y Crecer are equipped with a complete set of literature for the school library, and teachers and students receive their own books every year, something that is unheard of in public schools in the region. “This has allowed me to work on reading so that kids love to read, both at home and at school,” continued Bryan.
Since its inception in 2006, Aprender y Crecer has donated more than 1.1 million school supply packages and 2 million books to students, along with 282,000 books to school libraries. The Juntos Por La Educación campaign funds 100% of these book donations. This year, thanks to the campaign, all students in participating schools will receive three books to facilitate reading instruction in the classroom, as well as recreational reading at home.
“In our home we have a reading corner where we keep all of the books that the Foundation has given,” shared Wendy Rojas, mother of two children attending Escuela Villas de Ayarco in Costa Rica. “When we say it’s story time my kids run in with excitement because they really love this family time, where they feel loved and their imaginations soar.”
The Juntos Por La Educación fundraising campaign will return to PriceSmart clubs in Latin America and PriceSmart.com in October 2023.