Myself (Trish Stoops) and my colleague (Jamey Olney), are educators in Modesto, California. We both firmly believe it is critically important to offer meaningful volunteer opportunities to our students. We want to give them something like a crash course in cognitive empathy. My first such eye opening experience was at the 1990 Jimmy Carter Work Project in Tijuana, Mexico. I had never before seen the type of poverty that the majority of people on this planet experience. I had also never seen so many people gather together to take time out of their busy schedules to help others. I went to church every Sunday when I was growing up, and heard people talking about how Christ wanted us to live our lives, but I never noticed anyone really reaching out to help strangers; to help "the least of these" like I heard we were supposed to . It wasn't until I went on a service build that I saw real faith in action - and those actions spoke to me louder than any words ever could! :O) All the service build projects I've worked on have felt like joyous love fests with everyone lending a helping hand and supporting each other and uplifting each other, even though most had never met one another before they arrived on the build site! They are the most heartwarming events I've ever experienced. Jamey & I both believe that this would be a great way to help kids understand just how much of a difference they can make in the lives of others, therefore:
We will be partnering with an NGO called Amor Ministries. In the past I've partnered with groups like Habitat for Humanity and The Fuller Center for Housing, but Amor's program is more conducive to students in our age range (12-14 year olds). We originally hoped to bring 20-25 students, but are now being more realistic and see we will likely need to limit our group to 12 students this time around. We estimate a cost of $600 per student, including passports. $600 x 12 = $7200, but Gofundme.com takes a cut of it too. (Example, of the $1000 raised so far, gofundme.com gets to keep $130 of it).
HERE IS OUR PLAN:
Over the course of just 3 days, we will build a small, decent home for a needy, hardworking family in Mexico. Our students will spend a little over a weekend with a family they've never met before. I know that what we give them this summer will impact them for the rest of their lives. Again, I had a similar experience back in 1990, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Tijuana, Mexico, and it changed the course of my life forever!
These two short videos show a quick glimpse of what takes place during a typical 3 day build. Please help us give this opportunity to our students. It's so hard for kids to comprehend life without all the modern amenities that we take for granted. They need to see it. They need to feel it. They CAN make a difference in the world. Each and every one of us CAN make a difference in the world. Please help me show them that. Seeing kids experience the pure JOY of giving to others, and then being so blown away by the sense that somehow each one of them ended up getting so much more in return than they actually gave of themselves... PRICELESS!!!!
There are so many examples of how much can be accomplished in just 3 days! After our trip, we'll post pics and video of OUR team! :O) And you can see for yourself exactly how much love, hope and inspiration your donation brought to the world.
On July 26, we will travel from Modesto, CA to San Ysidro, CA and stay overnight at a local hotel.
The next morning, Amor will pick us up and transport us, by bus, through customs and across the border to our construction site.
We're so excited!
Amor provides tents for volunteers to sleep in, and provides all water, meals, and transportation to and from the worksite each day. The cost is $450 per person for the 3 day service mission trip. We'll be sleeping in tents, using pit toilets, and taking bucket showers, so expenses are minimal. Thus, a good portion of the money actually acts as a direct donation towards building materials to construct even more small houses, and help even more impoverished families have a clean and safe space to call home. Again, you'd be helping expose students to a fabulous learning experience, and provide hard working families in need with a simple, decent place to live. :O)
We are estimating an overall cost of $600/student for this trip. This would include:
-Meals and transportation from Modesto to San Ysidro, CA on July 26,
-Hotel rooms for the group (approx. 4 per room) Friday night only, at our rendevous point with Amor
(Best Western Hotel in San Ysidro)
-$450 portion paid to Amor for all expenses covered from Saturday morning July 27 when they pick us
up in San Ysidro - thru - 4pm on Monday July 29, when they drop us off in San Ysidro.
-Meals and transportation from San Ysidro back to Modesto, CA
A group of 13 @ $600 each comes to $ 7,800. We also have students on a waiting list who would love to join the trip, but we have no idea how many of our wonderful, generous, always love to help - but don't always have the time, but might just love an opportunity to help vicariously by sponsoring some youngins to go do the heavy lifting for you :O) or something like that :O) You know what I'm talking about :O)
Thanks so very much for taking the time to read through all this. We'll post updates of our trip planning, along with pictures, quotes and video clips of students who will be attending this trip.
Hopefully you're now as excited as we are!
Love & Hugs,
Trish Stoops Jamey & Olney
H.O.P.E. -- Helping Other People Everywhere
- Mei Mcgar
- Michael Reed
- Inge Mueller
- Suzanne Steiner