That Awesome Thing That You Did (and Didn’t Even Know It)

In Guatemala with two students, 2011

In Guatemala with two students, 2011

Thank you.

That’s the best way to start this blog post. Thank you. Thank you so much.

If you’ve visited this site in the last few months, you know that my latest book, NATURAL LOVE, came out in December 2014. It is my fourth major work to reach the marketplace, and it was a departure from the other books I have written. It also received a large share of pre-publication buzz, and has sold very well over the last three months.

And when I say very well, I mean very well.

The sales figures for the end of December shocked me. I didn’t know what to expect, but the number I saw on the sales receipt far exceeded my expectation. December 2014 turned out to be the best month yet for all four of my books, and the months since have also been strong. I’m not a millionaire, but the money was enough to make a difference.

But not in the way you might expect.

Because of my December sales, I’m proud to announce today that the scholarship for Yessica, my student in Guatemala, is fully funded. Free and clear. Cooperative for Education,  the organization that provides the scholarship, has the money right now. The first quarter of 2015 isn’t even over yet, and it’s already fulfilled.

That, my friends, is a miracle.

Let me back up for a minute and explain a few things. In 2011, I traveled to Guatemala with Cooperative for Education as an assignment for FOX19. I spent five days learning about CoEd’s efforts to provide scholarships, textbooks, computers, and educational resources to under served people in that country. Founded by two very awesome and very dynamic brothers, this group believes that education is the best gift you can give anyone.

I came away from that trip forever changed.

At Cooperative for Education's Fall Fiesta Fundraiser, 2014

At Cooperative for Education’s Fall Fiesta Fundraiser, 2014

Since that trip, my husband and I have committed time, resources, and advocacy to that group. It’s one of a few charitable organizations that receive attention from us. When staffers asked us to sponsor Yessica’s scholarship, I didn’t hesitate. For the last three years, we’ve helped her forge a better future by removing the financial burden of high school for her family. In Guatemala, school gets expensive as a student ages, and many families cannot afford to put their children through high school.

You can imagine how this shakes down for girls. There are plenty who find themselves pulled out of school around age 13, forced to marry before 16, and then sentenced to a lifetime of poverty because of a lack of education.

If you think that kind of poverty doesn’t have ramifications and consequences, you’re wrong.

But that’s not going to be Yessica’s story. 

She’s getting an education right now. At this second, as I type out this post, she’s in school. She’s going to have a chance to gain skills that will open doors for her. She’ll be middle class. Her family will benefit from her education, too. She’ll be the first person in her family to graduate high school. I know this will happen. It’s in my heart, but I’ve also seen the signs over the last few years. Through the scholarship program, my husband and I have kept in touch with her. She writes us letters a few times a year, and we’re also friends on Facebook (!). By all accounts, she’s an exemplary and focused student.

Money well spent.

All of this time, though, I’ve never been able to fully fund her scholarship in one lump donation. We’ve paid it in installments over the years, cobbling together $100 here, or $50 there. It’s an annual focus for our family, but it hasn’t always been easy. We have other expenses, after all.

And that’s why you deserve a thank you today.

If you purchased any of my books in December 2014, you made the difference. You gave me the means to fund this scholarship outright, something that up until now had only been a dream. You gave me the chance to make a worthy difference in someone’s life.

You did that. You. And you didn’t even know it. 

It doesn’t matter if you loved the book, or if you hated it. If you bothered to hit that one-click button, you did something awesome.

Thank you.

From the bottom of my heart, I am eternally grateful. I know Yessica is, too.

If you are so moved,  here is the donation link for Cooperative For Education. Every penny does something extraordinary.


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