Special Needs School in Guatemala
Organized by: McKenzie Kuhn
McKenzie Kuhn via Crowdrise
June 11, 2014
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
Photos are worth a thousand words: (Paste this link) https://flic.kr/ps/2TH3bR
My name is Kenzie Kuhn and recently, I got back from a trip to Guatemala where I worked ina struggling community center which gives educational and social opportunities for special needs children. Without this center, these children have nothing. The founders of the school, themselves are living below the poverty line, giving all they have to give these kids a chance in the community. They desperately need help and my goal is to raise $2,000 to give to the constuction and maintence of this school.
To tell you a little about myself, I am currently a Junior at Denison University studying History and Studio Art. In my free time, I am a member of the Women's Varsity Volleyball team, a member of Delta Gamma Fraternity, a Big Sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Program, and a volunteer at several local charities.
Thank you so much for making my dream come true, to build a safe, welcoming, and loving place for these children to go. 100% of the funds will go directly to the construction, supply, and maintenence of this community center for the disabled children of Duenas, Guatemala.
More information Below:
Recently, I traveled to Guatemala with my friend and teammate, Sarah Bradley, to volunteer at a school program for special needs children. Not knowing what to expect, we hopped on a bus that took us thirty minutes outside of the city of Antigua, where we arrived at Asociacion de "Vida" or Association Life. We walked through the front door which led to a tiny classroom full of children. Immediately they all flocked to us, giving us the biggest kisses and hugs. I have never been in a room with the much love before. Throughout the week, we led art projects with the kids, helped with homework, played games, and even had a piñata party. We also helped prepare meals for the kids which the school provides for free. While the school does SO MUCH for these kids and gives them an opportunity to receive an education, they need help. Two men (both in their mid-twenties, from lower class backgrounds) founded Vida two years ago with a dream to help the children in their community and have created this school completely out of their own time and money. They are currently trying to build a kitchen, dining room, and play area for the children to receive a meal and to play safely. (They are currently playing games in an alley and eating outside.) Recently, during construction, the men had all of their tools and supplies stolen from them and now are forced to take turns sleeping in the school to protect the remaining supplies. These men have the heart, dedication and passion to complete this school and show the community the worth and love of these children, but they desperately need volunteers and donations in order to survive.
Association Life was founded in July of 2012. It is both a community center and school for disabled children in a town called Duenas in Guatemala. Two men, Oliver Poron and Daniel Chan, founded this school because they saw the desperate need for opportunities for special needs children and at-risk youth in their community. The Guatemalan educational system does not support children that have special needs and these children come from families who are not able to or not willing to care for them because of their disabilities. The children in the school suffer from learning disabilities, autism, muscular dystrophy, Downs' syndrome, hearing and vision deficits and sensory integration difficulties. While the local community shuns these children from equal opportunities and education, "Vida" upholds the belief that these children have special capabilities that the volunteer staff can seek out and help to improve.
"Vida's" Mission Statement:
Our mission is about rights of people with disabilities. We are a space of inclusion: Social, Educational and Labor.We are life. Our goal is to promote the conditions for freedom and equality for these children. To ensure the highest degree of dignity, respect, self- determination and well-being as any person through education, health, and play.