2014 Race to Embrace Success!

This year’s race was held at Settler’s Park in Meridian, Idaho On August 9th, 2014. The turn out was great! We would like to thank all the volunteers, runners, vendors and sponsors for making our first annual race a success!!

We would also like to thank Channel 7 news for this great spotlight.


For information on next year’s race, visit the link 

Scholarship Program

You can help a child in Guatemala attend a year of school for very little cost!

Currently we are helping a few select families that attend the public school Oficial deParvulos, located in Chimaltenango Guatemala.

For a student to attend this public school, it costs parents:

Tuition: Q250= $40

Uniforms: Q300= $48

Supplies: Q250= $40

Total: $128/yr/child


To learn more about this wonderful family and their children, click here.

perez family 

Embrace Effort Video

Driving for Education Golf Tournament

Join us for our 1st Annual Golf Tournament at Canyon Springs Golf Course in Twin Falls, Idaho on July 7th, 2012.

Sign in for the tournament will be at 8:00 am, July 7th. This will be a 18 hole tournament with a shot gun start at 9:00am.

With admission to the 4 man scramble tournament, you will also receive a welcome pack, golf cart, raffle ticket and lunch! There will be many catagories to win various prizes and awards. Increase your chances to win by purchasing additional raffle tickets for just $5.00.

To register and pay online, click here. To download the entry form to mail in, click here.

We are excited for our many sponsors and volunteers! We would like to especially say thank you to Canyon Springs Golf Course for their support and generosity!

Guatemala as a Whole

Guatemala is an amazing and beautiful country with some of the friendliest people in the world. In some ways and in some parts, it’s quite modern with high speed Internet cafes and cell phones. But in terms of poverty, nutrition, and educational opportunities it’s still very much a developing country. Some aspects of the culture are very traditional from their clothing, textiles, outdoor markets and transportion of materials.

Outdoor markets are great places to buy just about anything but especially fresh fruit and tortillas. The fresh fruit that is locally grown is quite amazing to the taste. The food and textiles sold at these local markets are brought in on foot, or by “Chicken Bus.”  The typical transportation from town to town is taking the “Chicken busses.” These are otherwise known as old school busses from the U.S. that have been re-painted. The drivers of these buses drive extremely fast and they rarely stop for any un-scheduled purposes.

Schools in Guatemala are grossly underfunded. Guatemala Embrace Effort is currently working with the school, Los Aposentos to help improve the lives of children. They often run out of supplies and money to feed the children well before the end of the school year. Parents can do little to help, which is why malnutrition is such a problem.  They don’t have a reliable source of water, a fence, or enough space for all their classes. For lunch, the children are often given half a boiled plantain…that’s it!

Even with such dire situations, guatemalan school children are some of the happiest kids around. Boys (mostly) enjoy playing soccer any spare moment of the day and are quite good, while the girls enjoy gossiping and running around with friends. However, the girls that actually do play soccer, are usually very good.

Barriers to education funding in Guatemala are similar to those in the United States, but in most cases the stakes are much higher in Guatemala. In the current state, many children won’t receive the nourishment they need or be safe while they are at school. Without oppurtunities for quality education, millions of children will likely live their lives in the same state of poverty they were born into.

It is Guatemala Embrace Effort’s mission and hope to promote quality education, better nutrition and improved health and safety for Guatemalan children.


On more than one occassion, members of GEE have had the opportunity to experience the yummy soups/stews of Guatemala. Here is one that was served on our May 2011 trip. Thanks to the people at Oficial de Parvulos for preparing it for us. Look how yummy!

Check out this great article to make some delicious Pepian of your very own.


  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes
  • 4oz. cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 4oz. sesame seeds
  • 1 pound of pork meat
  • 1 pound of chicken meat
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 4 big cloves of garlic
  • 1 chayote
  • 1 pound of potatoes
  • Cilantro
  • Salt
  • 1 güaque pepper
  • 1 pasa pepper

How to Prepare it:

Start by cutting the pork and chicken meat into small cubes. Cook it on a big pot with salt, half an onion, a tomato cut in half, a clove of garlic and two and a half cups of water.

While you wait take the pumpkin seeds and toast them on an old pan at a low setting until they are brown. Repeat with the sesame seeds, the onion and the garlic. When it comes to cilantro only dry it a bit on the pan – don’t let it get brown. Then the tomatoes – let them sit on the pan and move them every couple of minutes until the point where they can easily be pealed.

When the meat is cooked take the broth that is left, let it cool and scrape all the fat from the surface. Then take the tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, onion, sesame seeds & pumpkin seeds and put them on the blender along with the broth. Blend for at least 1.5min. You should get a brown, spicy salsa.

Peel and cut into small pieces the green chayote and the potatoes.

Take a big pot and put the meat, the salsa, the chayote & the potatoes in it. Let it boil for around 15min and try it so see if it needs more salt. Adjust it however you like. Then let it boil for another 15min at a low setting. And you are done!

Note: Guatemalan’s serve it with white rice & corn tortillas.

To read this full article go to: http://travelexperta.com/2012/01/guatemalas-national-dish-pepian.html


Jocón is a delicious Guatemalan dish. Check out this article to make some yummy Jocón of your very own.

(Guatemalan chicken in tomatillo-cilantro sauce)

Jocón or pollo en jocón is a dish popular with the Mayan population of Guatemala. Chicken is simmered in a tasty sauce tinted a beautiful green by tomatillos and cilantro and thickened with ground sesame and pumpkin seeds and corn tortillas.

4 to 6 servings


  • Chicken, cut into serving pieces — 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
  • Water — 4 cups
  • Salt — 2 teaspoons
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) — 1/4 cup
  • Sesame seeds — 1/4 cup
  • Corn tortillas, chopped, soaked in water, drained — 2
  • Tomatillos, hulled and chopped — 1 cup
  • Cilantro, chopped — 1 bunch
  • Scallions, chopped — 1 bunch
  • Jalapeño or serrano chile pepper, chopped — from 1 to 5


  1. Place the chicken, water and salt into a large pot over medium-high flame. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Remove the chicken to a bowl and strain and set aside the broth. Let chicken cool, then remove the meat from the bones and shred it with your fingers. Set aside.
  3. Heat a dry skillet over medium flame. Add the pumpkin and sesame seeds and toast, stirring, until lightly browned.  Remove to a coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder.
  4. Add the sesame and pumpkin seeds, tortillas, tomatillos, cilantro, scallions and chile peppers to a food processor or blender.  Add 1 cup of the reserved broth and process until smooth. If using a blender you may have to do this step in batches.
  5. Return the chicken to the pot. Pour over pureed sauce and add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the remaining broth to give it a sauce-like consistency.
  6. Heat over medium-low flame and simmer for an additional 15-25 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve.


  • Leave the chicken pieces whole if you prefer.
  • If you can’t find pumpkin seeds, simply use 1/2 cup of sesame seeds.  And if finding sesame seeds is a problem, you can substitute a slightly smaller amount of tahini.
  • Cubed pork can be substituted for the chicken. There is no need to shred the pork, but you may need to simmer it longer for it to become tender.
  • Use any remaining broth to make rice to accompany the meal.

To read more about this article go to:http://www.whats4eats.com/poultry/jocon-recipe

Thanks to Supporters

Guatemala Embrace Effort, embraceeffort.org ,was established to help children of Guatemala. We have been very impressed from the outpouring support. Due to you and your generosity, GEE has been able to make a difference. Guatemala Embrace Effort wants to say thank you to all their supporters.

Year 2012 already looks like it will be a promising and successful year for GEE. We are mainly focusing on fundraising to be able to carry out our Guatemalan projects in Spring 2013. Our main project is building a classroom for the School Los Aposentos, a small elementary school outside Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Among other difficulties, this school lacks enough classrooms to accommodate all its students, so fifth grade classes meet in a small green building away from the main campus. This is not a safe or long term solution.








To complete this project, we need to raise $4,000 in time for our Spring 2013 trip. We’ve already received generous contributions, but we have a long way to go in a short time. To donate go to: http://guatemalaembraceeffort.org/Donate.php. To see all of our other great fundraisers currently happening please go to: http://embraceeffort.org/rblog/?cat=5. Thanks again for all of your support!


Guatemala Embrace Effort continually coordinates fundraisers to help support the projects in Guatemala. Here are some that are currently in effect:

Embrace 5 Fundraiser-

When you donate $5.00 to G.E.E., you will receive an “Embracelet”. Your very own Embracelet will be yours to wear to show your support for Guatemala Embrace Effort. Click here to purchase yours today!

Sister School Program- This program is not only a way for students to learn about another culture, but students also get a chance to creatively come up with ways to fundraise for the schools we are currently helping in Guatemala. To read more about the Sister School Program go to: Sister School Program 101.

Race to Embrace 5k- Upcoming September 8th, 2012 in Las Vegas, NV. More details about this fundraiser in the near future.

Please check back often to see our new and current fundraisers. If you would like to help out  fundraisers please email us at: info@embraceeffort.org. Or, if you would like to donate, please visit our website at: http://guatemalaembraceeffort.org/Donate.php.

Sweet Plantains (Platinos Dulces)

There are a few ways to prepare yummy sweet Plantains. When I lived in Guatemala we ate the fried kind, but if you are looking for a little healthier treat, try baking them. 

Fried Sweet Plantains-

  • 3/4 cup olive or veg. oil
  • 4 ripe Plantains (The riper the better! When the yellow skin has blackish spots on them then they are good and sweet.) Peel and cut Plantains diagonally into about ½ inch slices.

Image by wikipedia


In large skillet, heat the oil on medium heat. Fill skillet with single layer of plantains. Fry for about 5-8 minutes (depending on how thick your slices actually are), turn them a few times until they look golden and are tender. Let plantains sit on a paper towel to get excess oil off and serve warm. If you want them more fattening and sweet, sprinkle a little sugar over them, although they will probably be sweet enough without.

 Baked Sweet Plantains-

  • 4  Plantains (The riper the better! When the yellow skin has blackish spots on them then they are good and sweet)
  • cooking spray         


Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover cookie sheet with cooking spray. Peel and cut each plantain diagonally into about ½ inch slices. Place plantains in single layer and spray the tops with cooking spray. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until plantains are golden brown and tender. Make sure to turn them occasionally to prevent burning.