Paola joined the team in 2023. As a social worker, she loves thinking about systems and impact evaluation, and she is passionate about telling stories of transformation, connection, and inspiration.

Dreams of Excellence

When we first met Jimmy, he was a young student in a small makeshift primary school in the rural community of La Chuscada. Living just down the road from the worksite that would become his future school, Jimmy witnessed the construction of the Amigos Academy – from the foundations being laid to the last drop of paint on the Academy’s beautiful murals. “It’s beautiful, and there’s more space, and we even have a soccer field,” he said as a new student at the Academy when it first opened. He was a star student at the Academy, eagerly attending classes in the new buildings and making use of the books, maps, and other exciting resources.

When he graduated primary school, Jimmy entered Amigos for Christ’s Leaders in Action program, which provided him with a scholarship to attend one of the best secondary schools in Chinandega. “It’s motivating to know that there are people outside of just my family who are there to support me,” he said of the scholarship program. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity.”  
To no one’s surprise, Jimmy excelled in secondary school too. “Anyone can just get grades,” Jimmy said to us once. “A leader shows people the way.” When asked what motivates him to work hard and be a leader, Jimmy’s answer was simple: “My mother. And my dad, who I know is watching me from Heaven.
“My parents always reminded us that they didn’t have the same opportunities we have had. Neither went to school beyond sixth grade. They had to begin working from a very young age because their parents didn’t have the resources to send them to school.” Jimmy has never taken his education for granted, and throughout his studies made a point to support his family at home as well. Last year, he woke at 4:30 each morning to do chores around the house before heading to class. Each day after school, he completed his homework and then helped his mom prepare dinner. “I saw how hard my parents worked so that I could have this opportunity to be a student. Sometimes we struggle as a family, but we always find a way.”
Jimmy Palma
In December, Jimmy graduated from secondary school at the top of his class. Next, he’s headed to university, where he’ll join his brother as the first generation in his family to pursue higher education. “My dream of becoming a civil engineer started with the school built in my community. I was struck by seeing all those people working together to create a solid and welcoming structure for those of us who were learning there. That’s when I decided.”
With the support to pursue his dream, Jimmy is part of a generation of young people who will show others the way to a transformed Nicaragua.  

This story was featured in the 2023 Annual Report.

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