Ms. Oak’s Spanish Classes Give Back



To many in Spanish-speaking countries, this is solely a name, a faceless entity in a sea of humans. However, to the seniors in Señora Oak’s “clases Universidades de Español,” (College Spanish) there is a face behind this name. A person calling for help.

Kiva is a non-profit organization created to help alleviate financial burdens for those who need it most. This website was founded in 2005, and gives donors the ability to donate as little as $25 to a person or group of their choice. Kiva works with 83 countries and there is almost a perfect repayment rate at 98.45%. Through Kiva, microloans go to those in need. A microloan is a small loan to help entrepreneurs and students pay for their needs in business or schooling.

“During our first Socratic Seminar, the students discussed the benefits of micro-loans, as demonstrated in the documentary,” Said Ms. Oak. “Ms. Costello told me about Kiva a while ago, and it sounded like a great opportunity for the College Spanish classes to contribute to the fight against poverty in Latin America in a meaningful and real way.” The documentary Ms. Oak referenced is called Living On One Dollar, featuring four college friends on a trip to Guatemala for eight weeks who experiment living on just one dollar a day…a nearly impossible feat that is done every day there by millions.

Señora Oak’s fourth and fifth period classes chose to help a woman named Margarita. Margarita is married and 80 years old. Her husband is 84; both are retired. They both receive retirement payments that go towards his medical needs and rent and other home expenses. She needs a microloan to help pay for medical tests, which her retirement funds do not cover.

Miranda Ortiz explained how she would love to “donate again to Kiva because it allows us to help people that we never thought we could. There is something about giving to someone in need that makes you want to help more,” after being asked whether she would choose to donate to Kiva again.

When asked what other causes he would like to donate to on Kiva, Michael Maresco said, “I’d like to give to someone in need of such basic necessities like new harvest equipment, planting equipment, or even seeds. It may not cost much, but it could literally save someone’s life.”

A great way to get involved with helping others is to donate money. Kiva helped 41 students and their teacher make a difference in someone else’s life, someone we never would have been aware of had this website not existed.

If you would like to get involved with someone on Kiva, simply go to and choose a borrower. It can make a huge difference in their life, and in your own.