News for May, 2015
Earth Train launches "Corazones Contentos" Program in the Mamoní Valley
27 May, 2015
By Kael Shipman
Today we officially launched our Corazones Contentos Program in the Mamoní Valley. The program addresses the urgent need for food security in the Valley's rural communities, and was kicked off with a food drive to fill the gap between now and harvest time.
A special thanks goes out to James Mattiace and all the folks at ISP, as well as Victor Simone and our friends at the MET for pushing to make this food drive a huge success. We raised almost 800 pounds of food, as well as over $300 as an unexpected jumpstart to cover program expenses like transport, seeds, basic tools and other such things.
Next week we'll be calling a meeting among families in the community to assess what they see as the needs at hand and to initiate the process of assembling a committee among community members. Stay tuned for updates and service opportunities as we confirm the details and timeframe of the program!
ISP Service Learning at the Mamoní Valley Preserve
18 May, 2015
By Kael Shipman
This weekend we had the pleasure of hosting the International School of Panama's Talent Development Program Service Learning task force—a group of eight industrious and motivated students from ISP's elementary school and high school.
The 4 elementary school boys wanted to provide a way for kids living in rural, off-grid environments to have access to light at night that would help them work on their homework, read, or get around the community without problems. They came up with a solar-powered night-light that they called Sun Jars, and amazingly, after engineering a prototype, the kids launched a crowdfunding campaign that raised over $3,000 to fund the project!
The girls on the trip—representing the ISP high school—had two goals. The first was to improve recreational facilities in La Zahina through a set of easy-to-assemble soccer goals made of pvc piping, and the donation of old sports balls that they gathered from friends and family. The goals went up lightening fast, and we had a great time playing ball afterwards.
Their second goal was to create a relationship with the community of La Zahina that would help them and their classmates work with community members to deliver solutions and aid over the long term where it's really needed. The girls interviewed several families in town to ask how they thought the school could best help them solve some of their more serious problems, like access to good health care and supplies, and improving the quality of their education. They plan to use this information to design more directed service campaigns in the near future.
The kids were a pleasure to host, and demonstrated the level of maturity, thoughtfulness and drive that we strive to foster here at Earth Train. They're welcome back any time, and we'll be eagerly awaiting the next installment of ISP's Service Learning initiatives!