Whether it’s 2009 or 2019, the students bring joy to the Young Living Academy and the teachers and staff bring the love. On April 22, 2019, along with Young Living Co-Founder and CEO Mary Young, we were thrilled to celebrate the start of the 10th year at the Young Living Academy! The students were just as joyous as they were when the school opened for the first time back in 2009.
Over a decade ago, Young Living Founder D. Gary Young traveled along a dirt road in Ecuador in search of perfect farm land. As he drove into the small tropical community of Chongón, he noticed 42 children running in and out of a small, rugged brick building that lacked a door or windows. He soon realized this was the community’s school—one room in which students in kindergarten through sixth grade learned from volunteer teachers.
Deeply moved by what he’d witnessed, Gary set out to empower this community—and the future leaders of Ecuador—by building a new, world-class school. On April 14, 2009, the Young Living Academy opened its doors for the first time, welcoming over 90 students in first through sixth grade. This occasion also marked the beginning of The D. Gary Young, Young Living Foundation.
As the school grew, so did Gary’s understanding of the community’s need. It became clear that the financial burden of sending children to school was often enough for families to keep their children at home.
To help relieve this burden, Young Living launched the Sponsor-a-Student program in September 2011. Under this initiative, Young Living members donated money each month to cover their students’ expenses for tuition, two meals per day, uniforms, school supplies, and much more.
The next major improvement to the school’s grounds was the addition of a high school. This expansion to the existing building added five classrooms, a school library, a teacher workroom, a science lab, and additional bathrooms. With the high school up and running, the Academy celebrated its first graduation ceremony on March 9, 2016.
Since then, 79 students have graduated from the Academy in four graduating classes. Gary and Mary’s vision of empowering the future leaders of Ecuador transcends high school graduation; this year, the Foundation unveiled the first university scholarship program. Now graduates of the Academy will have the opportunity to apply for scholarships to offset the costs of higher education, truly empowering students to achieve their dreams.
To contribute and learn more about the new scholarship fund, visit https://younglivingfoundation.org/yla-endowment.
We are excited to see what the next decade has in store for the Academy and its students. Your support of the Young Living Foundation makes it possible for us to help children achieve their dreams. Thank you!