Thanks to your support of the GROW Program, there are many children in Mexico and Ecuador who are able to achieve a brighter future and a better education. Letters are sent from the GROW scholars updating us on their progress in school and community service – opportunities they would not have if it were not for your involvement in the program.
After the jump you will find letters of inspiration from a few of our GROW scholars that are very thankful for your support.
San Diego, CA (March 18, 2014) – Alberto Ramirez Rivera, former GROW scholar who graduated in 2012 from the University of Colima with a major in agronomy, has recently joined the farming operations of Organics Unlimited. Ramirez is the new general manager of production at Rancho El Tesoro, the company-owned banana farms in southern Mexico.
“We are excited to have Alberto as a part of our growing team in Mexico,” said Organics Unlimited President Mayra Velazquez de Leon. “He was an outstanding student and a natural leader from the time he joined the GROW program in junior high school. When the position became available, we sought him out based on what we had previously seen with his interest and commitment both to our program and with his work ethic.”
In his new position, Ramirez is responsible for the quality of the fruit, from planting through harvesting. This includes the application of organic fertilizers, protection from pests and quality control at harvest. “Throughout my studies I have had a passion for organic growing and the benefits for both the workers and the environment,” said Ramirez. “I am very proud to be part of this great organization.” Ramirez worked as a young boy on banana farms in the local area, and is one of 44 students who have now completed university studies through the GROW program.
The GROW program was started by Organics Unlimited in 2005 to help the communities in the areas where their bananas are grown. Since that time, the program has provided over $750,000 for programs in Mexico and Ecuador that cover a variety of social issues: education from elementary to university level students, safe drinking water, vision clinics, dental clinics and early childhood education. All funding for GROW is through a small surcharge on the sale of GROW bananas.
Your support of GROW bananas provides young adults amazing opportunities through scholarship programs such as Project Amigo. Through the GROW program, one fourth-year nursing student at the University of Colima, Adriana Dominguez (pictured above), got a chance of a lifetime to travel up to Seattle, Washington to gain experiences she never thought would have been possible before GROW. Continue reading
This story could be one your chain starred in merely because of how you purchase produce. $.60 of every box of GROW (Giving Resources and Opportunities to Workers) bananas goes to help people like Max.
“Hi! My name is Heriberto, but you can call me Max. I’m 15 years old and live in Colima, Mexico with my parents and younger brother. I am in tenth grade and am fortunate enough to be part of GROW’s scholarship program. In order to help support my family, I work five hours a day out in the fields, then after that, I attend school classes from 1:30pm-8:00pm. Even with the little money I do make, I am not able to pay for simple school supplies like books, paper and pencils.”
Thanks to the GROW fund, I’m able to focus on my schooling and work towards my goal of becoming a computer engineer in the future. In order to retain my scholarship, I know I must maintain my good GPA, perform community service, attend weekly homework clubs and always act respectfully to my teachers and peers. I am so thankful for this opportunity and I work very hard each day to do my best in school and be a positive contributor to my community!”
By purchasing GROW bananas, you’re helping children like Max achieve his goals and dreams. Your customers will appreciate the opportunity to support GROW, which not only contributes scholarships, but also helps provide vision and dental clinics to workers and their families. For more GROW stories, helpful point of purchase displays and retailer tips, visit our Facebook page and website.
GROW gives young people in the banana growing region of Mexico the opportunity to continue their studies in order to achieve their goals. Thanks to GROW, bright young students in Colima are given the chance to follow their dreams and make a new life for themselves and their families. Here is Dalia’s story:
“My name is Dalia. I was born and raised in Cerro de Ortega, Colima. I studied in its small schools where I enjoyed every moment of academic enrichment. I am part of a big family; I am the youngest of one brother and five sisters.
When I started high school my parents talked to me about making sure I always tried my best in school because from then on they would have to make major sacrifices in order to give me the opportunity to keep studying. Fortunately during that time I found GROW, which along with Project Amigo gave me the opportunity not only to finish high school but also to go to college. Today I am studying in the School of Foreign Languages to be an interpreter thanks to the help and encouragement that GROW has given me. I truly consider them part of my family because I have shared three and a half years of happiness and effort with them.
Thanks always to the GROW Foundation and Project Amigo”
Help GROW kids like Dalia stay in school by buying GROW bananas!
Each student in the GROW Scholarship program has their own career goals and ambitions. It’s so great to help students follow through on their dreams. Here is Christian’s story, in his own words:
My name is Christian. I am 19 years old, and am currently in my 3rd semester as an architecture student at the University of Colima, thanks to a scholarship from GROW and Project Amigo.
I was selected for this scholarship during my 4th semester of high school. I was very happy when I was selected for the scholarship, because I knew that would help me reach my dreams of becoming an architect. Originally, I thought I’d have to take lots of time off after high school to work and save up for college, which made me worry that I’d never have the money to pursue my goals. I had hoped to get a job in construction so I could make enough to save a little.
For me, GROW means so much. I feel like my dreams are now within reach, and I am able to see myself as an architect in the near future. Without the GROW scholarship, I would have had to work full time in order to save up for school, and seeing how architecture is a very expensive major, it would have taken me a very long time to save up enough money.
Thank you to GROW and to GROW supporters for helping me reach my goals! I couldn’t do this without you!”
Continue helping students like Christian by purchasing bananas with the GROW label.
GROW gives kids more than the resources to keep studying. The program gives these kids confidence in themselves as well as a community that offers them support and friendship. Today, Leonel tells us how he found new friends and new goals through the program. Continue reading
As you may be aware, I am spending the remainder of the month in the Colima area, involved with Project Amigo, which receives a great deal of funding from GROW. Yesterday (Saturday) was a very special day. It was the day that we went to Queseria to do a work project. Queseria is a poor, migrant village that was established by six sugar cane companies. The workers live in the camp with their families, and many of them are there for six months or less, while there is employment. Others live in what we were consider some pretty bad conditions for years on end.
So what was so special about yesterday? Well, earlier we wrote about Cezar. He is a young boy with cerebral palsy who has been unable to walk, but through the help of GROW, has received a wheel chair that allows him to sit up and to be somewhat mobil. He’s still a little boy, maybe 6 or 7, but through the attention he has gotten, he has progressed greatly over the past year.
My joy? Yesterday I gave Cezar a haircut while he sat in his chair. First we trimmed a little, but he wanted it short, and his mother wanted it short. So we gave him a nice summer haircut that is cooler in the hot, humid weather. And he was so happy with it. He is now able to be out on the playground with the other children in his chair, and Cezar’s life will continue to improve while Project Amigo looks for special schooling for him. Cezar will have a brighter future than anyone ever imaged. And yes, I got to give him a haircut and be part of something special that happened in his life yesterday. It made my life special too.
To support GROW, please buy GROW bananas or donate online. Volunteer opportunities are available through Project Amigo.
Each and every personal account of the children whose lives have been transformed by the GROW fund touch our hearts. We continue to share their stories with you. Today Luis tells us about how he longed to join the GROW group and how GROW has made his dreams a possibility. Continue reading