I am a grandmother paddling alone over 2,500 miles from Maine to Guatemala. Along the way I will be:
- telling the story of the children who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump community
- honoring their entrepreneurial mothers
- talking about the success of the Safe Passage model school and
- raising funds for additional grades for the school.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sharing Safe Passage stories leads to amazing generosity

John and Andy donate their report card money
I've had three days of telling the Safe Passage story, and the response has been overwhelming.
The purpose of the expedition is to share the stories about the children and the families who are working so hard at Safe Passage, and then raising money to convert third and fourth grades from after school programs to all day school.  I'm only 33% of the distance to Guatemala, but I've raised over 53% of the fundraising goal.  I ask everyone if I can stop paddling when I get to 100% of the goal.  Everyone says, "No!"  So maybe we can aid fifth and sixth grades as well!

Let me share just a few of the heart warming stories of these three days.  John and Andy came to meet me.  They were both adopted from Guatemala and wanted to hear more about the children at Safe Passage.  They decided they wanted to make a donation, and talked with their mother.  Then they gave me all of their report card money they just received for getting all A's and B's at school.  How generous is that!  John wants to paint a picture for the art exhibit as well!

Jack donating his 50-50 winnings
I've spoken to two great Rotary Clubs here: Hampton and Oyster Point.  Both expressed interest in getting involved.  At the Oyster Point Rotary Club, I was asked to draw the winning ticket for their 50-50 fundraiser.  I drew Jack's ticket.  But that is not enough to win.  Next, Jack had to draw the Queen of Hearts from a deck of cards.  No one had won in quit some time, so the pot was large.  Having just heard the stories of the Safe Passage children, Jack said he'd give the winnings to Safe Passage if he drew the Queen.  Which he did!

Rotarians are excited about the education work being done at Safe Passage.  I explain about our educational philosophy of early education and active learning and how our school is being considered a model for Guatemala by the Minister of Education.  Rotarians want to join in our Global Rotary Grant to develop the methodology for continuing this philosophy through higher grades.  They know the importance of early childhood education, as they are supporting those programs in their own communities.

My host, Martha Graham, organized a wonderful house party with lots of neighbors and friends all interested in kayaking and sailing.  They asked great questions about Safe Passage and the expedition, and opened their hearts and their purses.
House party at Martha Graham's
Martha Graham: kayaker, hiker and adventurer!
Sometimes I wonder about my decision to take a year of my life to kayak from Maine to Guatemala, but being able to talk with so many wonderful people about Safe Passage makes it all so worthwhile.

People are also so generous in taking care of me.  Stephanie introduced me to the virgin cocktail and haircut party, as she trimmed my hair for me.
Stephanie, Deb and Peggy
Gentle readers, if you are looking for a great holiday gift for a friend or family member, check out the possible gifts you could give in their name at https://safepassage.thankyou4caring.org/kayak
Adventurer ($.5/mile) - class meals for 4 months$1,250.00

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