Aidan's 8th grade trip to Poland

Thank you for checking into Aidan's fundraiser! I'd like to tell you a bit about it...

Aidan attends The Montessori Middle School (TMMS) in Albuquerque, NM. Their sister school is in Warsaw, Poland, and every year the 8th graders go to Poland at the end of the school year as part of their community learning experience and exchange program. He will be living with a family and getting out into the country to better understand Poland, it's culture and people.  As I am learning, it is much, much more than just a trip to Poland....

TMMS has teamed up with professors from the University of New Mexico to be part of a learning and cultural exchange program. Linney Wix, a professor at UNM and one of my former art therapy supervisors, wrote a book about an amazing woman and art educator Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, who used art processes to help the people imprisoned in both the Theresienstadt Ghetto and Auschwitz. Linney and her colleagues have developed the program for our students, with the focus of engaging them in projects related to creativity, art, and the impact of Auschwitz. Aidan and his fellow students will be visiting and completing a service project at Auschwitz as part of the program. They will also be using art processes to tell their story - the narrative of their experiences, feelings, and awarenesses about their time in Auschwits and Poland. These narratives will become part of a bigger educational focus, helping other schools understand the incredible impact of the process, and encouraging their own cultural and creative explorations.  Please follow these links to learn more about Linney Wix's book and the woman who inspired it.

As part of the program, we have had the pleasure of hosting a young man from TMMS' sister school in Poland. He stayed with us for two weeks this past September, and in that short time, we were able to learn about how similar we are, as well as some of the unique and beautiful things specific to Poland. We found out, for instance, that Polish hot chocolate is the best hot chocolate ever - there is a great recipe on line! We also got to know the other exchange students from Aidan's sister school, along with their impressive teachers. At the going away party, Mr. Ben, one of the teachers from Poland, talked about the magic of travel and the impact it has on experiencing kids to the cultures of other places. He used the phrase, "Peace Warriors" to describe his view of the focus of the program/project, and how the kids are forever changed after their experiences. From what I have witnessed, it truly is a peace project, linking the beauty and humanity of people and cultures. Amazing stuff!

The proceeds of this campaign will go to several places, but most of it is needed just for the travel expenses to get to Poland. The rest will be used for the other necessary items, such as Aidan's passport, food money, and expenses while he is in Poland. Because he will be staying with a host family, there will be no housing expense, thankfully! The whole amount needs to be paid by March, however, the larger payments for the trip are due starting in January. 

As a thank you for your donation, Aidan and his sister have designed two t-shirts. If you donate $25 or more, you may have your pick of the designs,  Aidan will print your shirt himself and send it directly to you. There will be more shirt designs to choose from as we go along and we will let you know when new designs are available. Aidan is also working odd jobs around Albuquerque to raise money, and as a family, we are all invested in helping him meet his goal. Thank you in advance for any help you provide!

Here are partial images for the t-shirt designs we have currently: 

These photos show only half of the images. I will attempt to get better photos of them asap. I am happy to send you full photos of the images, if you would like. They are also up on Facebook, if you have an account there. 


~Mindy Cardenas, Aidan's mom
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Mindy Gaumer Cardenas 
Albuquerque, NM
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