Colombia. It is an understatement to say that the small village, located up in the mountains three hours outside of Ibague, isn’t the easiest place to get to. It certainly doesn’t help that the roads were unsafe to travel as well. This, Kelly believes, is why, despite many promises from many people, the children of the village still don’t have the clothes and supplies they need to attend school.
“They live in very sad conditions,” Kelly says, “and are waiting for a miracle.”
Kelly is hoping that she — along with help from the Pine Village community — can play a part in supporting their educational — and lifelong — success by starting with the very basics that so many of us take for granted: clothes and shoes to wear, and a backpack full of pens, pencils, and other supplies. Her goal is to collect 300 backpacks, and then fill those backpacks with clothes and school supplies so that the children will have what they need to attend school beginning in Feburary, which is the start of their school year. And because so many previous attempts have failed in delivering these basic items to the village, she’s taking it into her own hands by personally handling donations, packing materials, and then sending everything to Ibague. From there, her mother will hand-deliver the items to the children of the village.
In order to help make this happen, Pine Village is committed to helping in every way possible. Co-Founders Emma Lougheed and Brid Martin see this project as the very epitome of what their dream was in founding Pine Village thirteen years ago. “To not just see ourselves as part of the global community,” Emma says, “but to directly reach out to children across the world.”
Community Director Marina Ituarte takes it one step further in saying, “What is so special is that, by supporting what is in the heart of one of our [eight] directors, our community can come together and help make the dream a hundred times stronger. We can help make dreams come true.”
Our hope is to establish a long-term plan that connects Pine Village families with those in Tierra Adentro, with the younger children exchanging pictures and then, as the children grow older, to set up a pen pal program and possibly even visits with teachers and kids. The first priority, however, is for basic goods. Kelly is therefore requesting the following items, many of which can be gently used:
- Rulers, compasses
- Glue sticks
- Pencil sharpeners
- Laptops for the schools
- Dry erase markers
Clothes, sizes 2 – 16
- Summer clothing
- Rain boots
To make it easy for families in other schools to donate, each Director will place a box for donations in their school. Kelly is requesting that donations be made by Friday, December 6, to allow time for packing and shipping, and then delivery in mid-January (in time for February, the start of their school year). Specific questions can be directed to Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because Pine Village wants to make an impact in our local communities as well, we are currently working with several organizations in the Metro Boston area in hopes of establishing long-term relationships more locally as well, both for the Pine Village community as a whole, and for individual schools. The Brighton school, for example, will be participating in the Pay It Forward movement during the month of November. We’ll be bringing you more information on these initiatives soon.