Tag Archives: donation

Vamos Chicas Vamos!

16 Feb


Big thanks are in order for the Waukesha author Scott Stoll who donated Spanish language copies of Falling Uphill: One man’s quest for happiness around the world on a bicycle to all of the girls in our club Vamos Chicas Vamos.

Last week we played games, danced, read and colored Scott’s book, tracked some of his voyage on a map and then all wrote down a dream on a piece of paper.  This week we Skyped with Scott, where he reminded the girls that dreams are dreams because they’re hard, but they’re worth fighting for.  The girls peppered him with questions about the book (and not the book), like: “Was that woman that you saved after she fainted happy when she woke up? Did you actually eat fried grasshopper? And, look at your teeth! They’re so white.  How do you keep them so clean…Show us your big smile one more time?”  Thanks, Scott, for happily responding to all questions and requests!


Dreams of the girls included:

-Be a veterinarian
-Be a hairstylist
-Find the end of a rainbow
-Touch the stars and a cloud
-Visit Paris
-Be an orthodontist
-Be a singer
-Be an architect
-Find a treasure
-Climb a building (In the style of Parkour, gotta say, this one was what surprised me the most!)

And of course, I had a dream, too:

P1090095Education for All.

In Paraguay students only go to school for 4 hours per day, 5 days per week.  They’re at school for 4.5, but they have a half hour recess usually…

Unless it rains. Or there is a holiday, or a ‘jornada’–mini-conference for teachers, or if it is too cold and class is cut short or canceled altogether. There are many reasons that lower the already low 4.5 hours a day, 5 days a week of education. Some of these reasons are still very legitimate for many– due to poor infrastructure and roads being impassable if it does rain, or no insulation in construction, which makes those few very cold days/nights hard to hold regular class …for those students coming from more rural areas with just dirt roads, getting to and from class in bad weather conditions is difficult, if not impossible.

Still, getting used to these cancellations, such as a month long soccer tournament nearly cancelling all normal classes because one day of that month celebrates Paraguayan Youth, or being advised the day before there is no school because of a teacher conference that just got planned…adapting to all of these interruptions in class is difficult, coming from a background with such a different structure. (True words from my friend Steph’s blog)

One time I was teaching a class at a high school in Paraguari and I was mid-word of a lesson when all of the kids heard a bell and had to run off to a spontaneous Mass.  “We just never do know when the priest is going to show up,” the teacher said as she scuttled out the door.

Answering God’s call had never looked so literal to me before.

Anyways, if we didn’t analyze anything about the Paraguayan school system besides the hours of instruction students receive, there would already be cause for concern.  I wont even tell you all of the other things that should be taken into consideration for reform, because they’d scare the pants right off of ya!

So, how do we make up for this educational gap?  And what are Paraguayan youth learning in their other 12 waking hours of the day?

By offering more educational opportunities outside of school, say, at the train station!

Some Paraguayans may have enough money for their kids to play on a soccer or handball team with a coach, take dance lessons, have private tutoring or take English classes, providing extra environments for their kids to learn valuable life lessons.  Although, the vast majority of Paraguayans fall into the category that doesn‘t have access to these things.

The train station, through the training of the high school and college-aged Conductors  as cultural guides and facilitators, will be prepared to offer regular (and free!) programming in art & culture, tourism & history, reading, writing, leadership, teamwork & recreation, and homework clubs, reaching out to children, youth and adults come April!

Serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay has left me with lots of things that I don’t understand about the world and my role in it.  One thing that I can say with confidence is that it all comes back to education and I believe with all of my heart that everyone deserves access to a quality education.

I believe in Education for All.  Help me improve access in Paraguay by donating today!


Give the Best Valentine’s Day Gift!

12 Feb

Are you shakin’ in your boots while frantically searching for the best Valentine’s Day gift for your significant other? Friend? Parent? Child? Sibling? Godparent? Neighbor? Pet?

Well, quit worrying!  Make a donation to the Train Station Community Center project in honor of someone you love.  Or even someone you just like.  Or even someone you don’t like, but are obligated to buy a Valentine’s Day present for.

Follow the prompts for donation on the right hand side of the above link and it will give you the option to donate in someone’s honor.  Selecting this option will notify them that you made the donation in their honor through email.

In order to have something physical to also give them, my great friend Evelyn designed this card which you can download as a .pdf here.

Front of card:


Inside of card:


Don’t delay!  Put a smile on the face of your Valentine today!

Card download didn’t work?  Try following this link: https://docs.google.com/file/d/1DOJqkADDxrh4_uEISJRiI8mEhtJWH_bFDYqqhwzEHpdY3xtbrFKUY-tbgv9o/edit?usp=sharing
Once you can view the card click File, Download.  Print to your heart’s content!


11 Feb

30 Days of Trains! continues and I have to say I’ve been overwhelmed with gratitude at people’s out pouring of generosity.

Unfortunately, I won’t see the final donor list until I’ve completely closed out the grant (just like I won’t get any of the grant money until I raise all of the money).  So, I can’t give appropriate thanks where thanks is due for a few more weeks.  In the mean time, for everyone who has donated or supported this project in some way, THANK YOU!

In addition to all of the support from readers, my great friend Brittany put me in contact with Gabrielle, someone she met through her blog.

Gabrielle McNichol is a current high school senior with future aspirations to become a Peace Corps volunteer.  Seems to me like she has the perfect self-motivated and optimistic spirit to make a great future PCV!  Gabrielle is currently collecting books and art supplies items to donate to the train station.  I hope to cross paths with her in the future, but until then I’ll let her tell you about herself and her project:

I came up with the idea of wanting to help out PCV’s because I want to join the Peace Corps myself and I thought, ‘Why does anyone I tell this to not know what the Peace Corps is?’ It came to my attention that a lot of people are ignorant towards the Peace Corps– I think that should change. In my opinion PCV’s are heroes and soldiers abroad. Just like the ones you see in the Army except they don’t fight. They use Peace.

So, I was sitting back one day thinking of how I could help get the Peace Corps more known and how to help the volunteers serving. There’s always collections for the Army, whether it be food items, personal items, or even money, they get a lot of support. Now, I’m not saying PCV’s don’t get support by any means, but I’m saying a gross majority of people don’t know about the Peace Corps and I think it’s time for PCV’s to be recognized and gain just as much support as say the Army. Everyone needs help!

So, I started looking at PCV blogs and sent out emails to see if they would like help or for me to send them things off their wish lists. To show that there are Americans out there who care and appreciate what they’re doing and would like to show support for them in some way.

I talked to my advisor of the Students In Action club in my school and asked if we can hold a drive during lunches for people to bring in items for a PCV, spending a week prior to publicize our project. Another girl and I are taking action and spreading the word of the Peace Corps! (Which is my goal) To remind PCVs WE DO CARE AND APPRECIATE THEIR SERVICE!

I would like to keep doing this for PCV’s as I call my project “Operation: PCV Angels”. Aside from just gaining donations of miscellaneous things in school, for my birthday, I asked everyone to bring something from Molly’s wish list as “my gift”. (What a great turn out!) As well as putting it in my towns newspaper and having them drop it off at a location where I can pick them up at and having a collection at my church! I can’t tell you how many people went from thinking the Peace Corps was just something that wasn’t serious or even the people who had never heard of the Peace Corps… I (we) have changed their train of thought and expanded their minds! People in my community are more accepting to support PCV’s now that they know who they are and what they do. I even presented a presentation in my English class about it!

Thank you, Gabrielle (and everyone else working on and donating to the project) for your service!  Thank you for supporting Peace Corps volunteers and the train station of Paraguari!


%d bloggers like this: