One of Miracles in Action’s great supporters, Linda Davis, was recently written about on www.secondact.com her article can be found at http://www.secondact.com/2011/11/entrepreneurs-newest-challenge-building-schools-in-guatemala/ Below is an excerpt from that article:
Davis decided to go back to school for a master’s degree in social psychology. She also became a volunteer and benefactor for a nonprofit group, Miracles in Action, that builds schools in Guatemala. Davis recently completed funding a second school in the Central American nation.
“These people were building schools in Guatemala so that the girls could get educated,” Davis says. “When I met them and learned more about the organization, I knew it was a fit for me. The nonprofit determines which village needs the school, the villagers build it themselves, and they find someone to fund it.”
When she decided retirement wasn’t for her, Davis says she worked with a life coach to determine her next steps. “We talked about things I’d always wanted to do but [had] never done,” she says. At the top of her list: Getting a graduate degree and helping to empower other women through social change.
Davis’ coach introduced her to Miracles in Action, a nonprofit that works to help impoverished Guatemalans through educational and vocational projects. Flight attendant Penny Rambacher and her mother, Noreen, launched Miracles in Action after 9/11 and her mother’s cancer diagnosis, also in September 2001, left them searching for a way to leave a positive legacy. The pair frequently used Rambacher’s American Airlines employee discount to travel together, and they had been touched by the children they met on a trip to Guatemala.
Rambacher, who continues to run the charity after her mother’s death, seeks out underserved pockets of need in rural Guatemala. Then she matches needs with donors such as Davis to develop projects that focus on education, vocational training and sustainable development. “My mother believed that providing aid was just putting a Band-Aid on poverty,” Rambacher says. “But doing things like building a school would make a difference for generations.”
In the past seven years, Miracles in Action has built 37 schools; the average cost of a new school ranges from $20,000 to $25,000, Rambacher says. The organization has earned positive ratings from Guidestar, which reviews U.S. nonprofits.
Davis says she and her two daughters, who are in their 30s, provided funding for materials and construction for their first school in 2009, and she received photos of the progress as it was built. The three women traveled to Guatemala for the opening.
“I wanted my daughters to be involved so that they could see the life they have is privileged,” Davis says. “The trip was amazing. The people in the village were so proud of the school. Through translators, young women told us that they were told they couldn’t go to school, and they want their daughters to be able to go to school.” (Watch a video of the school’s opening here.)
Hooked, Davis partnered with her sister to build a second Guatemalan school, which opened in 2010. They split the expenses to build the second school in memory of their mother. “My mom had always wanted to be a teacher and didn’t get an opportunity to go to school,” Davis says. “So for us, this was a good way to remember her.”