The TJ Braden Scholarship Fund & The Backyard School

TJ Braden Scholarship Fund

The TJ Braden Scholarship Fund was founded by For the Love of Mateo in June of 2016 in honor of the late TJ Braden. His twin sister Danielle Braden was on a mission trip with For the Love of Mateo at the time she found out about her brother's passing.  To honor her brother and as a gift to Danielle, the June 2016 For the Love of Mateo Mission Team that was with her in Guatemala at the time of his passing, each personally donated money to For the Love of Mateo, to use towards scholarships for 8 children that live in San Bartolome to go to school.  It costs about $100 to buy uniforms, shoes, and supplies for a child in Guatemala to go to school.  Many families do not have the extra to pay for that and so their children are not able to go to school.  The average girl in Guatemala receives a 2nd grade education and the average boy in Guatemala will receive a 5th to 6th grade education.  In rural villages many children are unable to go to school at all because their families need them to work.  In order for the cycle of poverty to stop, the children of Guatemala need to be educated.  

The TJ Braden Scholarships are assigned to the children based on need.  Iris, the founder of The Backyard School works in the community of San Bartolome to find children that are in need and will let the children know they will receive one of the scholarships.  Iris then works with For the Love of Mateo's new Guatemalan Association, El Amor de Mateo and its legal representative, Claudia Flores to make sure the funds for the scholarships are all accounted for and the money donated and then sent onto Guatemala,  is distributed between uniforms, shoes, and supplies.  TJ's sister's ,Danielle and Jessica Swierczek have made a yearly commitment to raising the funds e to ensure that 225 children who live in San Bartolome and are served in some capacity through The Backyard School, will receive their brother TJ's scholarship each year to be able to continue to go to school.  Danielle and Jessica shared with For the Love of Mateo that he was a kind hearted, gentle soul, and loved children. At the time of his death TJ did not have children of his own and his sisters feel that The TJ Braden Scholarship Fund, will allow him to leave his legacy by helping to ensure that these children have what they need to be able to go to school and get an education.

A little about The Backyard School that helps faciliate the TJ Braden Scholarships:

 The Backyard School is an after school program/community center in San Bartolome that For the Love of Mateo supports.  For the Love of Mateo has raised well over $60,000 in funds and supplies to use towards building the school/community center as well as to provide them with school supplies, an oven, sewing machines, stoves, desks, chairs, shoes, backpacks, clothing, food and so much more.  Each For the Love of Mateo Mission Team that travels to Guatemala on our Missions of Love Trips will raise funds to provide various items that The Backyard School needs, in addition to bringing in donations and supplies.  Past team members have taken it upon themselves to raise funds for some of the bigger items that have been donated to The Backyard School, like the tables, desks, chairs, oven, etc.   The Backyard School works as an after school program for children in San Bartolome by helping them with their homework, feeding them and teaching them various skills that they can use as they get older.  In addition The Backyard School supports the mothers of many of these children that receive scholarships through The TJ Braden Scholarship Fund.   This program teaches the mothers skills that they can use to make a better life for their families, like sewing and cooking. 


By your donation towards the TJ Braden Scholarship Fund,  you are truly changing a child's life.  Through your help, we can change the world, one child at a time and TJ's Legacy can live on.  Thank you so much for your support! 

Click below to help send a child to school for a year. 

In Loving Memory

In Loving Memory