School for the Impoverished Children of Guatemala
In 2011, I attended an Eagle Scout seminar with my mom and dad, which inspired me to start thinking about what I would want to achieve to reach my Eagle Scout rank. On our visit in 2007, we took a humanitarian tour to an impoverished community in the outskirts of the city, where we met the children of a local “school.” What they call a school was really a small shack made with metal sheeting. They had no seats or surfaces to write on, only the dirt floor. This made me realize how lucky we are in the United States and how we take things for granted here. So, when I was thinking about my Eagle Scout Project, you can understand why it did not take me long to realize that my goal and hope was to choose a project that would make a change for the impoverished children in Guatemala and at the same time honor the memory of my Great Grandmother who, in Guatemala, was a teacher for impoverished children just like these. I found myself having this dream to build a school in Guatemala. From the moment I discussed with my parents my goal to build a school in Guatemala, I focused much of our time to researching this project and what it would take to make my dream of building my school a reality. After extensive research and conversations with many people, I finally contacted a close friend in Guatemala who would help me make this dream come true. This person led me to The Giving Project, a non-profit organization, founded by Kate Curran, that constructs schools in Central America. After many conversations with Kate by phone, video chatting and email, I finally met with Kate in January 2012 and discussed the project with her in person, including what it would take to make it happen. While talking with Kate, I had worked out a price estimate for the cost of my project, which was approximately $25,000. We decided my commitment to this project would be $10,000 and the Giving Project would fund the other $15,000. This is when the real work began. I had to come up with a plan to work out the logistics of making my project happen. Over the next couple of months I reached out to different organizations and clubs in Monmouth County and the law firm where my Mom has works. I was also asked to give speeches by various organizations to discuss my project, including the Rotary Club, the Hispanic Community Organization of Freehold and others in Marlboro. Next, I had to start fundraising the $10,000, which was my part of the project. In order to get the word out about my project and facilitate my fundraising efforts, I created a website that told viewers who went on it everything about my project and allowed them to contribute directly on the website. Within 2 weeks of fundraising, I had not only met my goal of 10,000 dollars but also exceeded it. I raised a total of $11,145 dollars. I also scheduled a conference with the principal of my school and set up a school supply drive within my school, Marlboro High School, and troop. After this conference I distributed flyers to all the teachers in Marlboro High School and all the scouts/scouters in my troop. From this we collected enough school supplies to fill 2 rooms of my house! On July 2nd my mom, dad and I flew down to Guatemala and on July 3rd construction began. Within the next few months we were able to make a foundation, put the walls up, install windows and doors, put the roof on and paint the school! Sounds easy but in total took 32,492 hours! After these last steps were completed, my school for the impoverished children of Pakiacaj was finally complete… or so I thought! Due to the extra money I raised for my school, last minute drawings and thoughts were imagined and with the help of my architect we were able to form a small library for each of the classrooms. I spent a total of 2 weeks in May to plan the project with TGP, 1 week in June was dedicated to planning where the school would be built and to find out all the codes and permits to begin the project, 2 weeks in July to start construction and 12 weeks from August to November working 3 weeks each month with a week of break. In order for this project to maximize my time and complete the project within the time i had i recruited volunteers and i managed their schedule, most of who were parents of the children attending the school. I'm happy to report that the children all attending the school are now furthering their education and able to do so in a safe environment.
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