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All gifts of God to us were meant to be shared. Education is what makes those gifts operational.

Fr. Robert Thames

Educate the Children Bolivia

Our Vision and Purpose: Educate the Children Bolivia supports education as a way to experience a fullness of life through a relationship with God. Educate the Children Bolivia builds relationships and contributes resources to aid in educational opportunities for the people of Nuestra Senora de Carmen Parish to become self-supporting.

This is made possible by the grace of God, the generosity of the Diocese of Fort Worth, parishioners like yourselves, and the dedicated volunteers that manage this project here in the Diocese. All of the accounting and administrative expenses are absorbed by the Diocese. Any travel expenses to Bolivia are absorbed by the individual volunteers. This assures that 100% of your financial contribution goes directly to fund the needs of the children and school.

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About Our Work

This is Mayarlin, the newest addition to Fr. Thames’ adopted family. Mayarlin was removed from an unhealthy environment. Now she is thriving and full of smiles.

Fr. Robert Thames is a Fort Worth Diocesan priest, born and raised in Decatur Texas. He has been doing mission work, serving the poorest in the southern region of Bolivia since the late 1980’s.

Why the focus on education? Education is the key today for development of an individual, community, or nation – helping the poor advance, standing on their own two feet and knowing how to earn a living. The Senora del Carmen High School in Cabezas provides both academic subjects and vocational training. Upon graduation the individual is prepared to become a productive member of the community.

Please read the full story of this vibrant and successful mission in "Fr. Robert Thames: His Missionary Story."

Fr. Thames' Newsletter (May 2020)
Fr. Thames' Newsletter (Apr 2020)
Fr. Thames' Newsletter (Mar 2020)

Fr. Thames’ Wish List
Full Details of Our Work

Ways You Can Help

Sponsor a Child — This program allows the sponsor to sponsor a specific child. A photo of the child, with some general information about him/her, will be sent to the sponsor. The money you donate goes directly to fund the child’s school and personal needs. On an annual basis, a packet of letters from the current senior class and several teachers will be sent to you. All sponsors who provide their e-mail address will receive Fr. Thames’ monthly newsletter.

Sponsor the School — This program is similar to the Sponsor a Child program with the exception that no individual pictures are sent to the sponsor. The money you donate goes to directly fund the entire school and all the children’s needs. On an annual basis, a packet of letters from the current senior class and several teachers will be sent to you. All sponsors who provide their e-mail address will receive Fr. Thames’ monthly newsletter.

Sponsor a Child, the School, or Donate

Fr. Thames with the ETC children.
Fr. Thames sits surrounded by many of the children he helps or has adopted. All go to Senora de Carmen School.

An Educate the Children Bolivia sponsor is someone who has made the decision to personally invest in children in need. Your sponsorship enables Senora Del Carmen School to defray the cost for a child to participate in a faith-based program that offers life-changing benefits such as: Academic & Vocational Education, Social Skills Development and Sacramental Training.

Contributions can be made monthly or annually by check, credit card and automatic withdrawal. They are fully tax deductible. You will receive an annual donation receipt verifying your contribution and that no goods or services of value were exchanged for your contribution.

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Donate by Mail:

Sponsorship Pledge Card

Educate the Children Bolivia
Diocese of Fort Worth
800 West Loop 820 South
Fort Worth, TX 76108

Fr. Robert Thames

His Personal Missionary Story

Fr. Robert Thames
Fr. Robert Thames

Raised on a dairy farm in Decatur, Texas, Fr. Thames is the eighth of nine children. Monsignor James Tucek impressed the young boy, visiting the family frequently for meals or Bible studies. In fact, Msgr. Tucek made young Robert an offer: "If you decide to become a priest, I will drive you to seminary in San Antonio."

After high school and college seminary at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, he completed his theology studies at Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. Fr. Thames said studying four years under faculty who were also involved in the Vatican II Council gave him a strong foundation and great zeal for the Church and priestly work.

Ordained on June 27, 1964 at St. Patrick Cathedral in Fort Worth, Fr. Thames pastored churches in Dallas and Longview. While serving as pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Breckenridge in 1975, he opened the doors of the rectory to house three refugee families from Cambodia. In turn, they opened his heart and mind to being a missionary priest.

Excerpt from: A Heart for the Poor: The missionary priesthood of Fr. Robert Thames
By Susan Moses, North Texas Catholic

View complete article

Volunteer to Help / Visit the School

Volunteer Your Time — Educate the Children, Bolivia is coordinated completely by volunteers. If you have any of the following skills (bilingual, marketing, computer, organizational, fund raising or administrative skills), we welcome your help. Please contact us.

Personally visit the School in Cabezas — We can assist anyone with travel advice and information who is desiring to travel at their convenience. Coordination with Fr. Thames is required so he can make arrangements for your visit. Please contact us.



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Henry Del Castillo
ETC Bolivia Coordinator

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