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 About ATLAS 

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In November of 2022, the Q Fund Executive Committee travelled to Guatemala to congratulate 14 young women who received their university diplomas and participate in their graduation ceremony. Six of these young women invited the committee to listen to their dream, their plan for giving back to their communities. They acknowledged all the challenges they encountered, and the enormous support and benefits they received on the long road to their university graduation. What they proposed was a plan whereby they would identify girls in the local schools who could succeed in and benefit from a MAIA education and provide these students tutoring to catch up in subjects that had been deeply impacted due to COVID restrictions.


Once identified, these girls will take part in after school tutoring that will prepare them for entrance into the MAIA school or other area educational opportunities. The expectation is that the girls will meet the requirements for entrance into MAIA with mentoring and tutoring.


The Name 

Both MAIA and ATLAS are among the brightest stars in the Pleiades (Seven Sisters) Constellation.  The ATLAS members chose the name for their program. 



The mission of the ATLAS Program is to supplement the public-school education of indigenous girls at the primary level to prepare them for secondary school in Sololá, Guatemala as part of a program of community self-development.   



In contrast to the other initiatives, ATLAS is a community-driven endeavor. The leaders of this program are university graduates of Starfish and the Quetzal University Fund.  Since the leaders are from the same communities and have overcome many obstacles to receive their education, they are responsible for the design and implementation of the program which includes the following: selection of students and families, teacher selection, curriculum development, fundraising for local support, and financial reporting. ATLAS has recently (2023) achieved a major milestone having received certification from the Guatemalan government to function as an NGO-like organization in Guatemala.  ATLAS has hired an experienced senior advisor and some staff for the program.


ATLAS receives oversight from a group of supporters, the US based ATLAS Advisory Committee.  The Committee meets monthly with the leaders of the program and acts as mentors, supporters, advisors, and fund raisers.   It also monitors the financial reports. 



The Evergreen Rotary Foundation (ERF) in Colorado serves as fiscal sponsor for ATLAS.  As a 501(c)3 organization recognized by the IRS, the ERF enables the Q Fund to receive tax deductible donations.


Funds for ATLAS are provided by The Ward Foundation, the ATLAS Advisory Committee, Q Fund graduates and other Guatemala donors.



In 2024, the students will be Indigenous girls entering the 5th grade living within commuting distance of the MAIA school and other secondary schools in Sololá, Guatemala.    This year ATLAS is striving for 15 students.


The Program

The plan for the ATLAS program in 2024 is a very comprehensive one.  We have hired a coordinator and have partnered with another NGO to hire a teacher.  An accountant/administrator has been hired part time.  ATLAS will be renting a space and has purchased some basic supplies. Because poverty is so great, recruitment has been a challenge.  Parents want their daughters at home to help the family.  ATLAS determined they will pay parents a stipend of approximately $5 per week to offset the work their daughter would be doing for the family vs being in school. Additionally, they have arranged for a minibus for transportation for these young students.


The students will be attending after-school classes three days per week with a focus on math, communication, and language.  On Saturdays, they will meet 8:30am – 1:00 pm with the focus on English, art, leadership, health, and empowerment training.  Additionally, they will attend a two-week intensive camp over their winter break. This camp will be six hours per day and students will receive tutoring and reinforcement as well as some non-academic fun and training.  Lunch is provided for the Saturday classes and the camp.  Healthy snacks are provided for all meetings. 


In addition, the girls’ families will be visited monthly and there will be periodic trainings for parents where among other things, they will hear testimonials from parents of the Quetzal University Fund students whose daughters are achieving a university education.      



The program will grow and be re-evaluated yearly. 

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