From the time I was little, teachers have been a significant influence on my life and choices. As a result, I became a teacher, working with students for over 40 years. In spite of retiring from teaching, I continue to work with children, volunteering with at-risk youth, substituting in inner-city schools, volunteering and working with the elderly and handicapped individuals. Throughout my life my goal has been to touch one life as significantly as those teachers touched mine. I hope that my efforts will encourage, guide, and comfort others, empowering them toward helping others and finding their own success.
I began this GOFUNDME page in an effort to go to Swaziland, Africa. The Pasture Valley School, a school for children orphaned by AIDS or suffering from AIDS, is greatly in need of volunteers. I have kept in contact with staff and students for over a year, keeping pictures of the children by my computer so I can see their faces and remind myself of why I want to support this worthy cause.
I am determined to raise the funds necessary for this venture so that I may make a difference in the lives of these children. As well as volunteering with the orphanage, my plan includes observing schools in both Swaziland and South Africa. As an educator, I feel any opportunity to learn from others is of value. I intend to share these observations with fellow educators upon my return to the United States, to make connections between countries and educators around the world.
The biggest obstacle I face at this time is raising enough money to pay for travel and living expenses for 6-8 weeks during this venture. I plan to travel to Pasture Valley School in Swaziland during January and February of 2017. The total cost is approximately $4800.00, which covers roundtrip airfare (estimated at $2300 to $2800), travel within the country to and from my destination (about $1000), and food and living expenses while I am in country (estimated to be about $600). In addition, I plan to bring school supplies, books, and games with me for the children in the orphanage. The cost of supplies and shipping will be between $300 -$400.
Friends, I ask for your kind support of this venture, which I hope you will consider a worthy cause. I am a firm believer that we are put on this earth to help one another and make a positive contribution in the world. This is one way in which I feel I can help others and make a difference in their life. My hope is that this will influence them to continue the cycle of caring and kindness for others, making the world a better place for us all.
Thank you for your support!
- Mark & Beth FitzGerald
- Bill & Laura Auchterlonie
- Tessi Gilmer
- Rosa Mandala-Huffman