A public plea for $200 to cover the cost of shipping notebooks, pencils, and other stationery supplies to a girls’ school in Guatemala City was answered.
In late February, Grade 12 Walnut Grove Secondary student Alejandra Jahns put out a call for help on behalf of herself and the North Langley school’s Leo Club, a youth organization tied in with Lions Clubs International.
The Leos had spent November and December gathering donations of school supplies then they went to work arranging to have it delivered to the Central America school.
They, collected 82 pounds of supplies. But they came up a little short on the money needed to send off the care packages.
That’s where “the generosity of the Langley community enabled this project to become reality,” Jahns said.
“Thanks to the article you published $450 was raised in total,” said Jahns, who is president of the local Leo Club.
In fact, receiving more than requested, they opted to use the extra donations to put even more notebooks and other supplies in the hands of these young girls.
“Erin and Stephen McEwan, Deborah Duncan, and Anne Hunter provided cash donations to complete the courier payment and send cash to buy more school supplies,” she added.
Ultimately, 67 packages were packed and distributed to the young kids studying in Guatemala City.
“The beneficiaries of the project were the girls studying at the Escuela Oficial Urbana de Niñas No.40 Maria Cristina Bennett de Rolz located in the Zone 6 of Guatemala City.
Guatemala is a country rebuilding after decades of civil war and violence, explained Jahns.
“Education is key to build a peaceful and prosper society, however, in Guatemala education is a privilege for most of the population,” she told the Langley Advance.
Given that reality, Jahns was impressed to hear that five girls with physical disabilities and three girls with autism were not only among those who received the kits, but who are receiving an education.
“The girls were so happy with the school supplies and many immediately started using the supplies to draw,” Jahns said, recounting her discussion with Jackeline Rivera, administrator of the Club de Leones (Lions Club) in Guatemala City.
“The girls showed joy and happiness in their faces… Regretfully, many girls didn’t get the supplies this time. I hope next time we will have enough to help more girls,” Rivera added.
This was Jahns first time being involved in such an aid project in Third World countries, but the teen insisted it won’t be the last.
“I would like to continue being involved in humanitarian and community service causes during university,” she shared.
Admittedly it was more work than she anticipated, but it has motivated her to take on more community service work moving forward.
“This experience was heartwarming as it brought out the best in people. Everyone who donated either school supplies, money or their time to make this possible was extremely generous and kind… I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with all these people for a greater cause,” she said.
While Jahns won’t be around next year to continue the school drive at WGSS, she expects it will be kept alive.
Lynda Davidson, advisor to the WGSS Leo Club on behalf of the Lions Club of Fort Langley, was proud of the local students’ efforts, and expressed thanks to the community’s “generosity” in helping.
“Langley is a caring and compassionate community. The efforts of the Leos helped 67 girls, that’s a meaningful number,” Davidson said.