FCCLA sells Yuda Bands, supports education of Guatemalan

A pile of Yuda Bands lays scattered across the concessions stand counter. The profits from Yuda Bands will support the education of Alejandra Estrada, a 15-year-old Guatemalan who doesn't have the opportunity to receive a free education.

Nicole B., Co-Editor

Raising money for those in need in Guatemala, the David City High School FCCLA chapter is selling Yuda Bands for $7 each March 11-March 25 in the high school’s concession stand during lunch and after school.

Yuda Bands are handmade leather bracelets made out of coconut shell and are created in Guatemala. “Yuda” is derived from the Spanish word “ayuda,” which means help, aid, or assistance. The purpose of these bracelets is to raise money to help young people in Guatemala pay for their education. Because public school systems aren’t available there, students have to pay for their full education, FCCLA sponsor Tonya Zegers said.

The average Guatemalan lives on one dollar a day and has had three years of schooling or less. At a cost of $350 per year per student, selling 175 bands at DCHS will support a year of education for one student.

“I think especially being from a public school and getting our education for little or no cost, sometimes we take for granted what we have,” Zegers said. “Therefore, I think we should be able to give back to Alejandra Estrada, who we picked as a community service project to pay it forward to her situation.”

Estrada is a 15-year-old freshman who lives in San Martin Jilotepeque with her mother and siblings. Unlike the large families of other candidates, Estrada has a small family as her mother suffers from bone cancer and her father abandoned the family long ago.

The idea of bringing Yuda Bands to DCHS spawned after FCCLA attended Nationals and observed Yuda Bands being sold. Returning to David City, freshman Cole M. showed the most interest in bringing the bands to DCHS. Earlier in the year, Student Council attended State Convention as Yuda Bands were sold there as well. Junior Maya P. requested more information, showing interest, too.

“Instead of always focusing on local charities and organizations, we thought it would be pretty cool to broaden the horizons and help someone out internationally,” FCCLA president junior Sabra M. said.

Zegers sees this project not just as an FCCLA project, but as a school project. Although FCCLA would like to repeat the project again next year, they hope another organization will take it over, as Zegers said she feels it will be more effective.

“Our goal is that it’s not just an FCCLA project; it’s that it becomes a school project. We would like to see it happen every year, if not twice a year,” Zegers said. “We start it, and then next year another organization will run it.”

So far, FCCLA has sold 98 bracelets. Sabra is happy with the sales but hopes all of the bracelets will sell.

“If you look at the long run, we are not taking any [profit] in. We’re giving it all back to [Alejandra],” Sabra said. “There’s a whole back story to a Yuda Band. It’s not just some machine making it. There’s so much more to a band.”