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In Honor and Remembrance

Dennis Evans

Founder of San Lucas Tolimán Scholars

The SLT Scholars program had humble beginnings started by a humble man – helping the poorest of the poor with basic necessities. Within a few years of this beginning, Dennis recognized that what was really needed was support so that children completing 6th grade could continue to junior high school. As Dennis will have told you, school in Guatemala is “free” through 6th grade and any further education is fee-paying.


Over and over, he gave what he had, denying himself even small luxuries and sometimes needed medical care so he could do more to provide a better future through education for the underprivileged good students in San Lucas and many of the nearby villages. Dennis founded this program in 2002 with 97 students. We have grown to more than 1,000! Dennis never said no to adding more students because the need was great and continues to be great.


Dennis was a leader in San Lucas’s education community. School directors, administrators, and teachers, as well as local municipal officials respected and appreciated him for the good work he did.


And then there are the students and their families who in expressing their grief and their love for Dennis, voiced their concern that the program would end without him. It was a privilege to reassure parents, students, and schools that we would continue well under the leadership of Rita, whom Dennis very wisely selected as his partner in this program.


For those of you fortunate enough to have traveled to San Lucas and met Dennis, you will know how proud he was of each graduate of the program – whether they were graduating from junior high, high school, or university. Every year of education is knowledge for these young people to have a better life than their parents.


Dennis cultivated a beautiful garden – his backyard was an oasis of serenity. He loved to entertain visitors with evening bonfires – serving appetizers, pizza, and assorted beverages. He had a love of chocolates, rum and Pepsi, orange juice, pizza, hamburgers, and coffee (the best in the world). He loved his cats and dogs.


A note from Rita - He loved to rise early and walk to the park at 6:00 in the morning to the center of town to see the students arriving at the IMED school. The energy of these young people motivated him to keep going – continuing the fight, even in poor health – so that these young people could have a more dignified life, better than that of their parents. Dennis would like you to remember him as a person who bet on education as one of the greatest ways to fight poverty.

Dennis' History

Born in 1944 in London, England, Dennis Evans began his discovery of Guatemala and love for its people in 1970, working in the city of Nahualá as a radio technician at “La Voz de Nahualá” radio station.


Wishing to help in a different way, he returned to England to study teaching and earned a teaching degree in Mathematics, a bachelor in Humanities, and a specialization in Computer Science.


After caring for his parents until their death in 1989, he returned to Guatemala in 1990 to teach English and mathematics in San María Visitación at the school of La Salle. The De La Salle brothers invited him to train as a member, hence his honorific of Brother. After his training he went to teach in Chiquimula, Guatemala.


Later in Managua, Nicaragua, he met the Salesian brothers and worked in Santa Ana in El Salvador with street children with the program "The City of Children”. He was sent to Guatemala again, where he taught English for 2 years in the city of Quetzaltenango. It was there where he realized that he did not have the vocation much less the patience or the intention of working with children from rich families because most of them felt money would get them everything. That caused him to recognize his real desire was to work with children and families who had greater needs.


He traveled with the Salesian brothers to visit San Lucas Tolimán where he met Father Greg Schafer. After this meeting with Father Greg, Dennis decided to move to San Lucas Tolimán. When he arrived, Father Greg said, “As you are an educator, Dennis, you can choose whether you want to support the teachers in the school or teach catechism with the members of the church.” Dennis chose a role of “orientation” because he did not want to take away someone's work.


After several years working in the parish of San Lucas, some of his family and friends from England sent him money to support the people. With the permission of Father Greg, Dennis started helping 12 children in primary school from the community of Pampojilá (outside of San Lucas) buying them clothes and shoes. When it came time to continue their schooling in junior high school, only 4 of the 12 continued.


When he realized the scope of the financial problem for poor families, Dennis began the SLT Scholars program so children from those families could continue their schooling, never dreaming when he paid for the first 12 students how much and how quickly the program would grow.”

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