LuAnas Bookshelf

I have encountered many children on my journey that will do anything to go to school.  For example, in Peru the children are hiking hours down the mountain side to attend the school in the valley.  Because their homes are so far up in the Andes these children are sleeping on the streets and in the jungle, just to be able to attend school.  They are not eating breakfast or dinner, just the measly little lunch the school provides, and they are defiantly not getting homework done or even sleeping properly.  But, these children know the value of education.

Here in this valley, a wonderful woman from California started a dorm.  This dorm allows the children to have a bed, breakfast, dinner, and a tutor.  But, it is so much deeper than that.  In this safe environment the children eventually open up, tell about the abuses that may go on at home, they trust and feel loved and safe.  This dorm holds 19 children, there are about 70 children sleeping on these streets.  By creating a book with these children we can raise money to open a second dorm!

I grew up just North of Toronto, ON Canada; we didn’t have a lot of money but we had enough, and lots of love.   I always loved school and when the end of summer would come I got so excited to have a new backpack and fill it with fresh new things for the classroom.  There was nothing like the first day back.  When I got older I still felt like that, there was always something about being in a school and working with children that came so natural to me, it made me feel centered and peaceful. 

I have also have a deep passion for travel; learning about different cultures, languages and foods.  On day when I was in Dominican Republic on an all inclusive vacation I met and started chatting with a local, who was selling jewellery on my resort.  While we were talking he told me about his work building homes and schools with the missionaries that come down from other countries.  I expressed such an interest that he offered to take me to see some of these places.  When I visited the school and saw the condition it was in compared to our schools here in Canada, my heart was so overwhelmed with love that I became determined to try and raise money for them.  I told the director of that school that I would do whatever I could when I returned to Canada.

When I got home I found it very difficult to raise money.  At the time I was selling my beeswax art at craft shows and festivals, so, at these shows I would raffle off some of my work and other various things, to raise money for the school in Dominican Republic.  I started a go fund me account and talked to everyone I could.  What I discovered was that everyone wants something for their money; I knew I needed something tangible to sell. 

For a couple months I tried to think of something that I could sell, that people would want, and that would raise enough money to help this school.  The more I thought about it, the more I really wanted it to be something that the children created.  I wanted to empower them by feeling apart of raising money for their own education.  

One day, in August 2015, it hit me, a children’s story book!  I contacted the director of the school in Dominican Republic and pitched my idea.  I suggested I could come into the school to work with the children and have them draw all kinds of pictures, which I would cut and paste together to create the illustrations for a children’s story book I would write.  He loved the idea. This was my first of many school, to which many have followed.

All the costs in creating these books I pay for with my with my own income.  The plane tickets, transportation, accommodations, food and etc.  I also pay for the supplies to create the books, (including about $80 worth of pencil crayons and paper that I leave at the schools as a donation), and printed copies of the books, accountant, craft shows, etc., all out of my own pocket. 

Please donate today and help me help the children, monies will be used to help me create and sell these books as well as go towards needs in the schools themselves.


Heidi Marie
Bradford, ON

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