Saturday, January 14, 2012

School Board Meeting

Our first school "board" meeting was held this week. In attendance, besides us, were two other couples who either fully or partially sponsor school children on the island and/ or represent off-island sponsors. Jointly, we are responsible for the education of 8 children who are doing well and desire to continue. Three more kids are being considered if we can raise enough support to cover them. These 3 have all finished 6th grade and may be able to attend the beach school in the evenings for grades 7-8. While this is not a great school, it is better than nothing and is free. They would just need registration fees, uniforms, shoes, school supplies.

This is Julisa, one of the three kids being considered. I wrote about her a couple of months ago, how she's befriended us at church, is learning English at the Mazapan school in the colonia and likes to practice what she's learned. We had been making inquiries about her, wanting to know more about her family situation and her schooling. She claims to have the necessary paperwork to register for school (birth certificate, school records). Don and I had already decided that we would sponsor her if everything checked out and if she was interested. She seems bright, curious and is very personable. She's 14, a dangerous age for girls here. If they're not engaged in school and intent on making a better life for themselves, they're vulnerable to becoming a mother way too soon.

One of the things we discussed at our school board meeting was whether to continue sending the 8 kids to Louisa Trundle School. Rick and Luz told us about a new private, Christian school associated with Pastor Tim's church in Coxen Hole. It sounds very promising, but would be more expensive, by another 50%. That's a big jump x 8. Rick was concerned about sending the kids the first year - there are sure to be problems in the first year of operation. After a lot of discussion, we finally agreed to keep the kids at Louisa Trundle for another year.

We also talked about transportation issues. We have hired our neighbor, Shaun and/or his brother, Shane, to drive the kids. Both men have big vans and transport many kids to a number of different schools. And therein lies the problem. Our kids are either dropped off way too early or are late, and they are frequently late in being picked up. We need to talk to them and try to resolve this. We're paying them $32 per child per month.

We're all excited that Rachel and Lance have agreed to sponsor Carla, another 5th grader and Leidy's classmate! If any of you readers are interested in helping out in any way - with tuition or transportation or just purchasing uniforms, shoes or school supplies, let me know. We are constantly being approached by other families at church who have unschooled children and no money to send them, and we still have the other two 7th graders who need to be sponsored. We can make a difference in these young lives!

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