Janayra Santiago wrote -
Urban youth from low income areas face disproportionate barriers to travel and obtain educational experiences. We are looking for supporters like you that can help a group of young people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to engage in experiential learning adventures and activities beyond their classrooms or neighborhoods.
Who are we?
We are an energetic group of 10 Boston high school students and 2 teachers that would like to complete a Service Learning Trip to Guatemala in April, 2017. We need help to make this a reality. We have already fundraised $12,000 dollars, but we need help in order to be able to reach our final goal of $24,000.
Boston Green Academy's mission is to graduate all of our students prepared for success in college and the workforce. As a public school that is deeply vested in cultivating a highly skilled and actively engaged global citizenry, we prepare all of our students to be leaders in local and global environmental stewardship and activism, to live their lives responsibly and sustainably, and to take advantage of employment opportunities in the burgeoning green economy.
Why do we want to go?
The theme of this year’s project, “For the People,” reflects the vibe of our Boston Green Academy community. BGA prepares our students “to lead in the sustainability of our community and world”, as stated in the mission statement. Our students face adversity daily, yet they prove that they can rise to the occasion with the support of an extended family made up of BGA staff, students, families and community partners. We hope that by executing our project for a fourth consecutive year, we will continue to promote our mission. In participating in this year-long project, our students will become agents of change. They will understand the value of helping to improve the lives of others, and in doing so our students will themselves be transformed. They will gain greater understanding of the lasting effects of centuries of inequity, and will be inspired to reach people in need. During the early stages, we will use this time to educate our group members on the specific nature of our theme. This year we aim to commit to a project that will allow our students to directly improve the lives of those we will visit in Guatemala. The rural communities in the regions around Panajachel and Lake Atitlán are where poverty among the country’s highest, particularly among indigenous communities that have historically been marginalized and mistreated. Ultimately, the most vulnerable population is comprised of women and children. In these areas where agriculture has always been a challenge for geographical reasons, the local community is further strained by climate change, market imbalances, illegal exploitation of resources, intervention by military forces, and limited social services provided by the Government. These issues are topical, controversial and relevant to all of us living in this interconnected world. Throughout the year, we will carry out lessons, lectures and workshops for our students to understand the complex situation that the indigenous pueblo faces. We will explore their Mayan ancestry, periods of colonialism, US intervention, the Revolution, and Civil War, as well as contemporary human rights, environmental and societal challenges.
How the money will be used?
The money will cover flights from Boston, MA to Guatemala City, Guatemala, transportation, accomodations and meals. It will also cover water filtration systems and stoves needed to complete the volunteer work in Panajachel.
Service Learning Partners:
Our service is entirely based on serving the indigenous communities in the rural areas around Panajachel. By participating in the Mayan Families initiative, we will be visiting local community centers and schools to educate and raise awareness around vital life skills such as healthy living and eating, oral and daily hygiene, disease transmission prevention and hand washing. Our students will participate in these seminars. They will also distribute useful healthcare guides along with the hygiene products. To families and schools in high need of access to drinkable water, our students will help deliver and install clean water filtration systems. We will also have the opportunity to attend cultural activities and events including a Mayan ceremony. We urgently want to participate in a program to get involved within the community and help in any way possible. Building connections with el pueblo will draw our students to help the people, gaining valuable hands-on experience in the process. As we have seen over the past three years, our service learning projects have inspired our previous students to volunteer and study abroad, to become members of exciting organizations and to pursue more opportunities as agents of change.