Monday, August 11, 2014
Donor Sponsors Annual Birthday Bash for Underprivileged Kids
The life of a child living in rural Guatemala generally goes un-celebrated. The pleasures of birthday parties complete with laser tag, ice cream, balloons and cake are something indigenous families grow up knowing nothing about.
Fortunately, extraordinary Mayan Families donor, volunteer and student sponsor Jim Britt has decided to implement an annual tradition that will change all this for a number of lucky children living in Panajachel.
“I told Sharon I really feel bad for all the kids not having birthday cake this year and gifts, and it’s just sugar and flour and they really need it. Then I thought why don’t I throw a birthday party for all the kids that live at Escondido?”
Working as a computer technician in Salisbury CT, Jim first came to Guatemala in 2009 to study. After witnessing the mudslides that devastated the Lake Atitlan communities in the spring of 2010, he was shocked by the suffering imposed on the indigenous locals and decided to help.
“A big swath came down and pulled all the houses and people into the lake. 20 were killed, 18 bodies were found, not including Walter’s dad. (One of Jim’s sponsored students) He got the baby out of the house, ran back inside, and then the mountain came down.”
After keeping a close watch on the movements of a number of nonprofits in the area, Jim chose to sponsor his first student with Mayan Families in 2011. In the subsequent years, he has begun to sponsor four more children in addition to supporting several critical aid projects and spearheading countless fundraising initiatives.
This year was the second in a row that Jim was able to pull together a mass birthday party involving 17 kids from the local community. The mothers came too, and the celebration involved cake, juice, a clown, a magician, a piñata and presents for all the kids.
The best part of the event is that it fell on Jim’s birthday, July 11th. After a really rewarding experience for everyone involved, he has decided to host the party every year, on his birthday.
“The kids all remember me, even the ones I don’t sponsor. The moms all remember me too. This is my sixth consecutive year spending the summer in Guatemala - at home I would normally spend the day with family. Since the kids are like family to me, I celebrate my birthday with them.”