As we begin another school year, we are making some big changes to the school sponsorship program. Please read this letter to understand these changes. We are open to your thoughts and comments as we continue to grow.
Cost of Sponsorship
Previously the amount of money paid by the sponsor varied based on the student’s level in school. For example, an elementary student was sponsored at $90/year. This amount increased up to $820/year by the time the student reached college. This increasing cost made it difficult for sponsors to support the same student throughout their educational career. Starting with this 2021-2022 school year, the cost to sponsor a student will be constant at $30/month or $360/year, regardless of the student’s grade level. We are hoping this fixed amount will make it easier for you, our existing sponsors. It will also help new sponsors ease into the long-term relationship building that benefits both student and sponsor. Your continued involvement in Manos Amigas and in the life of your student(s) is vitally important. If your student is in elementary or secondary school, $360/year will be an increase for you. If that is above what you feel comfortable giving, you can continue to sponsor your student at the current rate. We can obtain additional sponsors as needed to cover the cost of your student’s scholarship. If you currently sponsor a student at the high school or college level and would like to continue at that higher level of support, please do! After years of involvement, you know that your money is put to good use, helping good people build better lives in Anapra.
Ways to Pay
While we will continue to take old-fashioned paper checks, electronic payment methods are also an option. Online payments can be set up through our website at ManosAmigasKC.org. We are working on setting up the process for automatic withdrawals, so watch for that in the coming months.
Please note that our mailing address has changed. In establishing Manos Amigas as a non-profit organization, we needed a separate address from the church that so graciously collected our mail for years. Our mailing address is now:
8426 Clint Drive #352
Belton, MO 64012
Contact between Sponsors and Students
The internet has made contact across the miles easier, but it also presents challenges. We have not had issues to date, but in order to protect the students and the sponsors, we are establishing a new communications policy. Going forward, we ask that all correspondence be in the form of letters, mailed or emailed through Manos Amigas. Social media and other forms of direct contact between underage students and their sponsors are no longer allowed and will result in the termination of the sponsor/student relationship. Please understand that we are not trying to limit contact, but only wish to ensure safe and healthy communication. This policy applies to all students under the age of 18. Letters may be sent to the above mailing address or emailed to SchoolSponsorship.ManosAmigasKC@gmail.com. Thank you for understanding.
Gifts from Sponsors
Previously we encouraged sponsors to send small gifts or packages, particularly at Christmas, birthdays, and for graduation. The transporting of mail and packages has been difficult if not impossible during the last 18 months of border closures, causing us to pause and reevaluate this practice. Our focus is education. That is what we are asking you to sponsor. We ask sponsors to focus on supporting the students through personalized letters and words of encouragement, rather than sending gifts. If you would like to provide extra support or honor your student in some way, please see the website for additional needs within the community.
Grades and Attendance Expectations
When a student enters the scholarship program, her/she must sign a contract along with the parent or guardian. This contract outlines the expectations for attendance and grades. We are including an English version with this letter for you to review. If a student is not meeting the attendance requirement, the Core Team meets with the family to determine if there are problems or unmet needs that we can help address. During this past year, for example, internet and some type of device was require to “attend” school virtually. Manos Amigas is now supporting all of our students with monthly funds for internet connection and has purchased laptops/tablets where needed.
Whether school is virtual or in person, students are expected to maintain an average grade of 8.0 or higher. If a student does not meet this expectation, again, the first step is meeting with the Core Team. Once issues are addressed, if grades continue to be low, the student will be dropped to half scholarship. If they do not improve in the next semester, they are put on a reimbursement plan. If the scholarship is removed entirely, the sponsor will be notified and will have the option of supporting a new student. This policy is not new. We are just clarifying it for the students, their parents, and the sponsors.