SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - In March, a record breaking number of unaccompanied migrant children entered U.S. custody along the border with Mexico.
A local ministry is working to improve educational opportunities for some children in Central America. They say the lack of education there is why so many children are leaving their country for ours.
Melissa and Richard Jefferson of Savannah started Light for the Future Ministries. Their mission - to help provide educational resources to impoverished children living in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
“Public education is not providing a solution for them,” said Karla Coronado, high school teacher in Guatemala City.
And so in January, the Jeffersons and Karla Coronado, a high school teacher in Guatemala City, opened a virtual school that could give them the resources for success that the public schools there can’t.
“There are many, many, many children leaving Guatemala because of this because they don’t have education. The only opportunities they have, if they don’t have education, is to get into gangs or get into drugs so there are not many opportunities and they just see the United States as the land of opportunities,” said Melissa Jefferson with Light for the Future Ministries.
The Jeffersons say the children they work with live in the city dump and most of their parents don’t have a fifth grade education. The school works with 14 students in grades 7th through 10th and they learn various computer skills, art, music, physical education and English.
“The goal is to provide them the tools to stay here,” said Coronado.
“One thing we have found with our students, if they have English they have better opportunities in Guatemala,” said Jefferson.
They say it’s a great feeling to know they can help be a small part of the solution.
“We’re not going to be able to change all of Guatemala, but the handful of kids that God has entrusted us with we’re going to try our best to do everything we can to change their lives,” said Richard Jefferson with Light for the Future Ministries.
“I think the only way to make a revolution is to start with education for kids who don’t have access to it,” said Coronado.
The Jeffersons hope to expand the school next school year so that they can keep providing this life-changing opportunity for more children.