Twelve-year-old Joan Stiven of Zacapa, Guatemala, is the newest niño welcomed into the WSU Cougar family since 25 Washington State University students recently stood before a room filled with fellow humanitarian volunteers and announced they were sponsoring a year of local schooling for him. Stiven is one of many children that the international nonprofit organization Hearts in Motion (HIM) identified in need of educational sponsorship.

Ana Maria Rodriguez-Vivaldi

“For these students to voluntarily pay for a child’s education out of their own pockets shows the tremendous heart that travels with Cougars every time they embrace the Hearts in Motion purpose,” said Ana Maria Rodriguez-Vivaldi, program director, associate professor of foreign languages and cultures, and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at WSU.

The 25 students who collectively took on Stiven’s need will provide funding for uniforms, shoes, a backpack, school supplies, access to medical and dental care, and nutritious meals. Throughout the year HIM will also closely monitor Stiven’s scholastic progress by meeting with his teachers and parents.

For 10 years running, WSU students have joined in a medical service trip with HIM, providing free services such as dental work and cleft palate reconstruction. This was the first year WSU students decided to sponsor a child, and they hope future groups continue to do the same.