Our vision is a community where underprivileged Latin American youth are empowered to create a better future for themselves through continuing education.

Martin Luther King said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

At Starfish, we agree with both. We believe that empowered youth will create a better future for themselves through continuing education.

We caught up with a few of our students, volunteers, and friends of Starfish to share their thoughts on education as well.

“When I was a little girl, education was never very important. But today I have realized that it is essential. Education allows you to reach your goals, a goal goes beyond your purposes, to what you want to be.” – Joselyn

“Education is important because it allows you to gain knowledge, reach goals and create meaningful memories. Each person’s educational experience is unique and personal to them. Your education lasts a lifetime and is something that no one can ever take away from you.” – Christie

“It is amazing to see how much students can change when given a meaningful education. They become more confident, curious, and empathetic… As a teacher, it’s about helping students learn lifelong skills, find their passions, and become the adults we need for the future success of our society.” – Anonymous

Do you agree that education is the basis of creating a better future? Are you thankful for the educational opportunities provided to you? Do you want to help underprivileged youth in Latin America achieve their dreams? If you agree with us that education is fundamentally important to not only us as individuals, but to society as a whole, join us this #GivingTuesday and help us provide books, tutoring, and school supplies to at-risk youth in Ecuador.

Students like Milena who wants to be a flight attendant when she grows up: “I imagine myself in 5 years finishing school, graduating with all my classmates, my parents would be happy, going to university, picking a profession that allows me to be a flight attendant, this will help us see how God’s timing is perfect.”

Or Melissa, who wants to go into a medical field: “When I was ten years old I would see many sick people and many of them died due to some severe illness. This inspired me and I decided I would be a nurse or a doctor in order to cure all of the sick, and in this way find a cure for all of the illnesses and reduce the mortality rate of the country. I want to be a nurse or doctor recognized at the international level, with cures for all types of illnesses including AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

I don’t want to give treatments, but instead provide cures, because it saddens me that people die. I am scared of death. I would not like to die. I eat well and stay healthy in order to not contract any fatal illness. I invite you all to take care of yourselves each day. Life is not a game, it is a gift from God and only He can fix it.”

We just love young people with BIG goals, BIG dreams, and BIG plans, and we know with commitment to education, hard work, and the support of the people around you, anyone can do BIG things. We believe all our Starfish Scholars will go on to do great things, and can't wait to see what they accomplish.

Want to know more about our mission and what we do? You can find out more about the Starfish Foundation at thestarfishchange.org or on Facebook.com/thestarfishchange.

By Amanda Benton