The Hillsdale Effect 

Earlier this month, ten teenage global citizens from Bay Area high schools traveled to Guatemala where Namaste’s local staff provided an immersive overview of our Creating Prosperity program and introduced them to the hardworking Guatemalan business women for whom they’ve spent the last school year fundraising. 

These students are members of The Hillsdale Effect, a club with a unique focus on understanding local and global cycles of poverty and implementing solutions that break these cycles. Founded in 2008 out of Hillsdale High School, the club has grown in popularity and now  includes students from San Mateo High and Middle College as well. Since its founding, The Hillsdale Effect has raised over $80,000 to support women in Namaste’s Creating Prosperity program and has sent 94 students to Guatemala to observe the program firsthand. Hillsdale Effect thrives under the leadership of the club’s two advisors, English teachers Greg Lance and Sarah Press, and with steadfast support of the San Mateo Rotary Club. 

Over the course of a week in Guatemala, the students participated in financial literacy classes and business advising sessions alongside the women in Namaste’s program. They talked to the women and learned about their backgrounds, their goals for their business, their dreams for the future.  

Anya Lance-Chacko, an entering Senior at Hillsdale High had the following feedback about her experience in Guatemala this year, 

“I think it’s really powerful that students have this opportunity to gain a different perspective. I think Namaste is an incredibly unique organization in terms of how they provide the loans and education and how dedicated they are to the success of their clients. It makes me curious to see if other organizations could do something similar… I think it would be really cool to see a program like Namaste grow because it doesn’t just throw money at the situation.”

We at Namaste are grateful and inspired by the immense contributions we have received from the Hillsdale Effect over the past decade. It is an honor for us to play a transformative role in the lives of these next generation leaders.