Friday, October 13, 2017
Supporter Appreciation: Three Weeks with Nuestros Niños, a Lifetime of Change
Written by Mark Prunella-Miller, Donor Relations Manager
Not even a year has passed since Nuestros Niños’ last visit in November and this summer they were already back again! This time, Angela Grussing led several groups over a three week period, rotating in and out on various projects. Nuestros Niños is a very diverse group; Its epicenter is located in Knoxville but they have members from all around the states who work hard to fundraise, gather donations, and come down to do service work. The effort they put in and the time they spend preparing for their visits is truly inspiring!
Before the group even arrived, we knew that something big was going to happen because of the 31 giant boxes of donations they had shipped to our office. Once the first wave of group members arrived, they got to work sorting through donations and preparing food bags to give to families in need. They visited our preschools where they handed out the donations they had worked so hard to prepare. Nuestros Niños is well known by the teachers in our preschools as they always bring fun and creative activities. On this trip, they made hand paintings, printed out photos of the preschoolers with decorative foam frames, and brought down fruity cereal to make tasty necklaces. It’s really a pleasure working with this group because we get to see the happiness they bring to the children.
For many, this trip was a chance to be reunited with their sponsor students and their families, for others, it was a chance to meet them for the first time. Nuestros Niños did something memorable for their families, inviting them to the office for a special lunch each week of their visit. This was a great time to share birthday celebrations both for the visitors and the families. Everyone got to take part in eating cake and breaking piñatas.
Throughout their three week visit they were able to provide critical donations including egg-laying hens for 60 families, Sawyer water filters for 30 families, and ONIL stoves for 60 families. The egg-laying hens will provide families with a constant source of protein, a necessity for many families who go without breakfast. The Sawyer water filters will provide clean drinking water for a family for 10 years. The ONIL stove will funnel smoke from open fire cooktops through a chimney to prevent harmful inhalation.These donations are a valuable addition to the families homes, ones that will be used for years to come.
Another notable contribution from Nuestros Niños was their donation to the construction project fund. Their donation paid for a land title, and enough money to build an entire house with a kitchen, three bedrooms, and a bathroom for a family in Panajachel. Not only did they raise an impressive amount to make this project possible, they also made time to aid our construction team during the building process.
In addition to the Nuestros Niños hard work during their time here, Dr. Judy Morales and Dr. Alan Winesett ran three eye clinics. Many of our clients were able to go for an eye exam, diagnosis, and receive glasses if needed. The clinics were held in Tierra Linda, San Antonio, and Panajachel and nearly 100 patients were seen in total! Many students, teachers, and family members walked away seeing more clearly thanks to Dr. Judy and Dr. Alan. We are grateful for bringing the gift of sight to many indigenous Guatemalans.
Thanks to this fantastic Nuestros Niños group, families in our communities were given life-changing support. We appreciate your hard work and dedication to educate, feed, shelter and heal the indigenous communities of Guatemala!