Teachers at Aurora schools spend vacation with Hai Jul 25, 2011 17:22:13 GMT -5
Post by title1parent on Jul 25, 2011 17:22:13 GMT -5
By ANGELA BENDER
For The Beacon-News
Last Modified: Jul 25, 2011 03:36PM
A break in the summer allows some teachers the time to give back to organizations they care about. Mary Ann Frantzen and her son-in-law Mike Leverence, teachers at Brooks and Young Elementary schools in Aurora respectively, spent the first week of their summer vacations in Haiti with The Global Orphan Project.
Frantzen, who is a first-grade teacher, and Leverence, who will be teaching art part time, were with a group of about 20 people, including three other family members, who traveled to Haiti to bring supplies, as well as attention, to the children at four orphanages in Croix-des-Bouquets, near Port-au-Prince. In their suitcases they hauled items like peanut butter, clothes, toothbrushes, toothpaste and soccer balls. Retired Georgetown Elementary School reading specialist Katie DeSotell was another family member who traveled with the group, and took the opportunity to bring numerous books written in both in English and Creole.
“We gave them one-on-one attention that they don’t always get,” Frantzen said.
In addition to reading with the children, that meant paying soccer, face painting, blowing bubbles and letting the children do their hair. Leverence enjoyed talking to the children, giving them rides on his shoulders, singing songs with them and just hanging out.
“I thought I knew what to expect,” said Leverence, whose wife could not attend the trip because she was pregnant. “After the earthquake it was all over the news, but it just doesn’t do it any justice until you’re there. It was eye opening.”
Frantzen wanted to see Haiti because Leverence and her daughter are interested in adopting from the country. The trip seemed like a great way to learn more about it.
“It was,” she said, “a very informational trip.”
The Global Orphan Project provides care for some of the neediest orphaned and vulnerable children in the world. The goal is to teach them to be self-sufficient. A basic school uniform and supplies are too expensive, so purchasing a $20 uniform (at www.theglobalorphanproject.org/shop) opens the door for a child to receive education and a hot lunch, while also supporting local jobs and businesses.
“It’s going to be my charity of choice now,” said Frantzen, “I thought when I left I’d be done. But it kind of resonates in your mind.”
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