Scheel Center International Technical Training Center
The Scheel Center is located in one of the most desperate neighborhoods in Jocotenango, Guatemala. It has been a ray of hope in the community for the two years that its doors have been open. The children and families served by the Scheel Center are the poorest of the poor. These children more than likely have never been to a dentist and rarely to a doctor. Health insurance is unheard of in these neighborhoods and trips to the dentist are an expense they cannot afford.
The Scheel Center Dental Clinic is taking the school in a direction where we can help these children in a more complete way. We work to fulfill all of their needs whether they are physical, emotional, or intellectual. The children receive two meals a day and there is a psychologist available for counseling in addition to the education and technical training they are receiving. Now we have a full-time dentist on staff.
The benefits are not limited to the students themselves. When a child enters the GOD'S CHILD Project, their whole family enters with them. We do this to encourage the family to allow their child to continue in his or her studies and invest in education. The dental clinic now takes the care offered to the children and their families to the next level. It has been a very successful operation as 90 percent of students in The GOD'S CHILD Project graduate from primary school. Compared with the national average of 24 percent, it is clear that the program is working.
Known for its beauty, culture, and history, the Panchoy Valley also has its marginal zones where homeless families and street children live. In these areas the unemployment rate is high, adolescents lack education, crime is prevalent, alcoholism is rampant, and familial violence is widespread.
Taking these problems into mind, the idea of opening a specialized technical school amidst the Victorias, Bella Vista, and Papalillo neighborhoods of Jocotenango, Guatemala, may have seemed like a risk, but it was also the long-standing dream of Patrick Atkinson, Founder and Executive Director of the GOD'S CHILD Project (GCP). In his own words, "It is the PERFECT place for the GOD'S CHILD Project to be."
Construction of the school was completed December 6, 2007, and classes began in January of 2008. The Scheel Center’s goal is to be a catalyst for community change on a large scale by giving hope to impoverished families, abused or abandoned children. Hope is given in three forms: Standard Education, Specialized Technical Training and Community building.
For much of the modern world, formal education starts around the ages of 4, 5 or 6. By the time a child enters first grade they have often had several years of academic enrichment to better prepare them to learn. Students at the Scheel Center come from a very different world. Many of the students who study at the Center have been robbed of their childhood in various ways. They have not had time to play and learn. Many have not had access basic necessities such as adequate food, clean water, shelter or medical care. For these and other reasons, the Scheel Center students have grown up without an opportunity to learn.
Before a student is in a position to successfully learn any subject, their basic needs must be met. Scheel Center students are provided with two filling and nutritious meals a day. For many of them this is the only food they will receive.