January 2008 - Life is good!
We continue to have success with the school and fund raising. The Salsa Fiesta held in Middleton in September raised about $7,000, it was less than we hoped, but we still made our budget for 2007 - $24,000 for the year. The U.S. non-profit Friends of La Gloria English School (FOLGES) continues to make ends meet every year. The budget for 2008 has been increased by $1200 to include some part time clerical help. FOLGES pays the teacher stipends, housing costs and any capital expenditures, like the computer for the office at the school.
We are now at a point where it makes sense to look for sustainable dollars to support the school. Until now, almost all of our funds are raised from our Salsa Fiesta, garage sales, and individual donations. Locating and applying for grants or for foundation money is the next step to insure our stability into the future. We are looking for a volunteer grant writer to work with us on this! Someone with experience in this area who has time to donate to this cause would be deeply appreciated. Please contact me (Maggie Washa) at email@example.com.
On the school front, here on Isla, we have more good news. I just received this - forwarded through a friend:
"We are ... sponsoring a La Gloria student ... Sergio, a waiter from Zama, (who) is on his 2nd set of classes and I cannot believe how far he has come from the first time we met him. When we met him in September he had been studying some English sheets that his friend had copied for him and could not even put together a simple sentence. Most of our conversations were spoken in Spanish. Last month (December) while we were on Isla we conversed in only English the whole time. Which doesn't help my Spanish much but we were so impressed by the amount of English that he had learned we wanted to keep talking to him. Maggie is doing wonders over there!! "
It makes me breathe easily to know that my dreams are actually coming true. It has been an overwhelming amount of work in the last 4 years, and I am starting to realize that I might be able to relax and enjoy my own life again, without worrying about whether the school will make it, and whether all this work is actually making a difference. It is, and we will!
In 2007 we gave out more than $9,000 dollars in scholarships at the school. The average was about $30, but they ranged from $10 to a full scholarship of $60. Without donations at the school, this would not have been possible. We have been operating on faith for a good part of the last 4 years, giving the scholarships when we saw the need, and having faith that somehow they would be covered by tourist donations, and have not been disappointed. We register about 450 students (many of them returning for the next class) each year (in five 2-month sessions, 9 different classes in each session), and if each of them paid the full tuition for each class, we would not need financial support at the school. But the mission of the school is to not turn anyone away for lack of funds. The requirement for a scholarship is that they have excellent attendance in the classes. 2007 was the first time that we finished the year with a very small cushion, instead of sliding under the wire by the skin of our teeth, or with a last minute 'donation' from our own checking account! We are grateful to all of you for your support!
In the year to come, I hope to have more sustainable support at the school as well. I am trying to imagine life without the need to hustle for donations, and a school that is secure in the years to come.
It is clear to me that we are making a difference in people's lives. It is no longer a theoretic assumption. We have several students who started without any previous English speaking abilities and are now communicating easily in English. They have essentially 'graduated' from our school as we have it now. One of these students is just 11 years old. Her dream is to become an English teacher, and she is well on her way!
July 16, 2007 - one Salsa Fiesta coming right up!
We are in the dog days of summer, but despite the heat, all is going well, so no news has been good news for our school. Classes have been great since January, with an average of 100 students enrolling for each session. We will have a month off from late July until late August, and then start up again with 2 new teachers who will be with us through the end of July 2008. This will be the first time we have teachers under contract for a full school year, and it feels great! Finding good quality teachers and having some continuity is the key to having a great school.
Our annual Salsa Fiesta will again be at the historic Club Tavern (www.clubtavern.com) in Middleton, Wisconsin (just voted the #1 city in the U.S. - if you don't mind winter!). It will be on Saturday, September 8th from 5 to 8 PM. We will again have a silent auction with a lot of great things to bid on, including Packer tickets, language lessons, week long stays at homes on Isla, art, bead jewelry, pure maple syrup and much more! We also look forward to adding a raffle to our event this year. Tickets are $15 each or 2/$25 and include a free drink, salsa food, music and dancing. This benefit is sure to be a lot of fun again this year, as lots of Isla lovers and supporters of the school come and have a good time. Kids are welcome too. Our goal is to raise $10,000 for the evening. We hope to see everyone there!
On a personal note, Tom and I will be going to Isla in mid-August for 8 days, to orient the new teachers and say hello to old friends. We love Wisconsin and feel very fortunate that we have 2 great places to live. We return to Isla for the winter in early November.
Life on Isla – December 1, 2006
Tom and I have been on Isla for a month, but it feels longer. We are
settled in and life is going along nicely.
The school has been holding classes since mid-September. Our teachers,
Deb and Lisa are excellent. I sit in the office with my work and
listen to English at all hours of the day and evening. Most of the
class hours are spent with students speaking in English, either
repeating new words or responding to the teacher’s questions, all in
English. This is a very challenging way to teach, but we have found it
the most effective. Reading and writing skills are not the top
priority and can seriously bog down the classes. Students need to
learn confidence to speak English first. I am extremely pleased with
our current style of teaching.
I think the school is slowly turning a corner, and our students are
less and less afraid to try their English in non-structured situations. The other change is that the teachers are not leaving for another 6
months. When we first opened our doors, we asked for a commitment of
only 8 weeks. This change will significantly reduce my work and stress,
as hiring and orienting new teachers every 8 weeks was not easy! We
have also reduced our staff from 3 part-time teachers to 2 full-time
teachers, and are paying them a bit more. All of these changes are
signs of the school’s increasing stability and maturity.
Regarding our current needs, we have several, in case anyone reading
this is coming to Isla in the next month or 2. We are in need of
containers for the office. Because we have limited space, we are
constantly reorganizing the office and school supplies, to have them
both accessible and orderly. If we had more plastic boxes at least the
size of large shoe boxes or bigger, we could label and stack them for
better storage. Of course donations in pesos or dollars are always
appreciated. We are also still selling the Douglas and Cynthia DVD of
Isla for a minimum $10 donation. The proceeds are divided 50-50 to
help both our school and the Little Yellow School for children with
disabilities. The DVD will put you right back on Isla Mujeres on a
cold winter night, and it will also sell Isla to anyone nervous about
traveling to Mexico.
Our ongoing need for good used clothing is still there, and deeply
appreciated. We are asked on a regular basis when we will have the
next clothing sale. People in the neighborhood look forward to them,
and it is also a great way to promote the school. We can also use
non-violent coloring books, but have plenty of crayons right now. We
also have plenty of books in English and have no room for any more. We
can always use more books in Spanish. We appreciate your good
intentions but please remember when you bring donations that we have no
apparatus to play DVDs or video tapes. Please don’t donate these
things to us, we have no use nor room for them.
With the start of new classes in early January, reams of copy paper,
spiral bound notebooks, simple pocket folders, masking tape, white out
and name tags will be needed, as well as more printer ink. It is #56,
for an HP1210. We have color, but need black ink right now.
The school is about to complete 3 years of existence, and it is
important that we take a moment to say thank you for all the support we
have received from everyone who has taken an interest in the school.
Although Tom and I built it, there is no way it could have survived
this long without your generous help. In spite of some serious
set-backs for Isla (Hurricane Wilma in 2005), and the school (our work
visa problems last summer) we are have become established in the
community and are doing well. This idea of giving back just a little
(and sometimes a lot) has been what has sustained the school from the
We have been able to distribute clothing, school supplies and food in
the community in addition to offering English classes at affordable
prices. You may never know how many lives you have touched. For all
you have done, Thank you so much!
October 25, 2006 - Salsa Fiesta success
The school is in session, with 9 classes and about 80 students
registered and coming to school. Deb and Lisa are getting rave
reviews as great teachers. They will be there until the middle
of May at least, so some of you might meet them if you are coming
to the school
in early 2007.
Here in Wisconsin, we have just put on our 3rd annual Salsa Fiesta
fundraiser. This year it was held at the Club Tavern in Middleton,
and I think everyone had a great time. We were able to raise about
$9,000 including donations from people who couldnft make it to
the event. This is about half of our annual budget for the U.S.
non-profit. Needless to say, we are delighted with the outcome,
as it is more than double from last yearfs! The Club Tavern has
agreed to host it again, so you can look forward to it next year
if you missed this one.
We also had a great article in the local newspaper, The Capital
Times. You can read it on line here.
Tom and I are heading back to Isla in less than a week. Given
that we had 2.5 inches of snow on the evening of the Salsa Fiesta,
we are ready for some warmer, friendlier weather! In case anyone
is interested, we have filled out our absentee ballots and returned
them to city hall. Thank you once again to all of you who support
the school. This is a labor of love and a small bit to do in this
messed up world, but we are making a difference in peoplefs lives.
September 17, 2006 - We are on our way!
It has been a long summer for the school! After we were forced
to cancel the June-July session of classes, we promised students
they would be automatically registered in classes for the August
session. Lisa and Debra arrived in mid-August and immediately
applied for their volunteer-work visas in Cancun. Unfortunately
we were told that just having all paperwork provided was not enough.
They would have to wait for the actual Visas to be handed to them
before they could do anything but act like tourists. Since we
felt we were still being watched closely after the June closing,
there was no way they could do much of anything! In previous years
we have taught whole courses flying under the radar so to speak,
on tourist visas, but no more.
The good news is that it has taken only one month. Often it is
a 2 or 3-month process to get a work visa. We have gotten exceptional
help from some attorneys in Cancun who specialize in getting work
visas, and with their help we are now ready to start teaching
This set of classes will be extended 11 weeks instead of the usual
8, as a bonus to the students who have stayed loyal to the school
during this crisis.
What will be hardest to recover from is the financial blow all
of this has caused. We usually take in tuition from students for
each course they take. Although it isn't much per student - the
equivalent of about $20 USD by the time all scholarships are averaged
in - it does add up and is enough to keep the doors open, paying
the overhead for the school and the staff who work in the office.
This year we will not have 2/5ths of that income, as 2 of the
5 courses were essentially canceled. At this time we are delighted
to just have the doors open and classes starting, but some time
before the end of the year we are going to feel the pinch. Any
donations in pesos to the school will help us overcome this setback.
Your caring and support for the school has been incredible, and
we are deeply grateful for all of it!
June 30, 2006 - some bumps in the road -
The school has had a very successful spring, and our classes
for the June-July session were set up, filled up and begun when
we were hit with a blow we didnft see coming.
Since the school was established, most of the teachers taught
for just 8 weeks. Getting a work visa took 6 to 12 weeks and cost
$200 USD per teacher, so we had not gone through this process
for each teacher. For the last several years most of our teachers
taught while holding a tourist visa. It should be noted that in
Mexico, it is illegal to volunteer in any capacity while on a
tourist visa. In the past this has rarely if ever been enforced.
Isla Mujeres has hosted hundreds of volunteers who have done everything
from pulling teeth to neutering dogs to painting buildings to
teaching kids to play the violin, play tennis and of course to
learn English, all on tourist visas.
On the 13th of June, Immigration officers from Cancun came to
Isla Mujeres, specifically to check the visas of the teachers
at our school. Someone must have specifically filed a complaint
that we were not 'legal.' My suspicion is that it was not a Mexican,
but a North
American who was not in a good mood that day, and happened to
be going through immigration. In any case, our 3 teachers were
rounded up and taken to immigration at the airport in Cancun,
with the intention to deport them immediately. Their tourist visas
were confiscated and they were in custody for about 24 hours and
although they were treated well, it was not a good experience!
The school does have friends in high places however, and instead
of deporting them immediately, they were released and told they
had 15 days to leave Mexico and return with another visa. Of course
if they were caught doing anything other than being a tourist,
they would be deported immediately, and possibly prohibited from
returning to Mexico for a year or more.
After hard discussion we decided that it would not make sense
to start the application process to get the work visas, because
it would take several weeks and by then they would have just a
couple of weeks left in the course. It would be an expense of
about $600 for just 2 weeks of teaching, if we could round up
the students again. So, our June-July classes were canceled. The
teachers will stay, but cannot hold classes at the school this
We have another session starting the 21st of August, with 2 new
teachers coming to the school. They will be applying for visas
immediately upon arrival, which will be valid for a full year.
These teachers will be at the school until at least mid-May 2007,
so the expense will be worth it.
The final blow to the school was when the teachers took the trip
to Belize, to leave the country and return ,as they were required.
It was the least expensive way to do it, or so we thought. The
travel costs were about $250 for the 3 of them, however the border
officials would not let them return to Mexico unless they stayed
in Belize for at least 72 hours or paid a hefty bribe. In the
end it was quite expensive.
The school has absorbed most of these costs, so we are hoping
that donations to the school continue to come in, as this financial
hit will be paid from the same fund source that we use to give
scholarships to students who couldn't otherwise afford the tuition.
The bottom line is that we are alive and well and getting wonderful
support from the community and our tourist friends. The school
will continue, with only the loss of one set of classes. We now
plan to offer the exact same set of courses in August. We are
smarter and stronger for the experience!
Classes started on the 9th of January with only 25 people registered.
Wilma has continued to disrupt peoplefs lives. But by the end
of the first week of classes we had 90 students registered, and
have been going strong ever since! The main difference is that
of the 90 students registered, only 39 could afford to pay the
full price. At least 9 of them were sponsored in full by Mark
Howe, a generous benefactor of the school from Michigan , who
lives here part time.
The donations coming to the school have been very generous this
year, and it looks like we will have enough to sustain us through
the year. This is excellent. In the past, the financial stress
of not having enough money to pay utilities or the office help
made running the school even more challenging. I will be going
over the finances soon to get a better picture.
Guadalupe has been working in the office for almost a year, and
her help has become indispensable to us. Recently another woman
from the community, Maria de los Angeles (Angeles for short) has
started volunteering at the school. Keeping the donations and
office materials organized has become a part time job in itself,
and she has been extremely helpful. We also have a couple of long
term volunteers from Wisconsin, namely Doris and Eric. Doris was
here for 6 weeks and able to help in the classroom as well in
the office. I think some people on this island stole her heart,
and she will be back next year! Eric is here for a total of 5
months, and has become a part of the school. In his quiet way
he has made a huge difference.
We will start registering new students for the next session of
classes soon. The contract for all 3 teachers ends with this session,
so the school will again change its personality with 2 new teachers
We are again doing well.
Sunday November 6th, 2005
Tom and I have arrived on Isla Mujeres on Friday the 4th of November,
after waiting a week until transportation was available and safe.
The island looks and feels a little different after Hurricane
Wilma. It sat over this area from Friday morning early until Sunday
afternoon, and dumped 65 inches of rain in 36 hours, a new record.
I don't think Wisconsin averages that much in a year! But the
attitude here is very upbeat, everyone happy that no one died
in it. The cement block houses all survived, with just some windows
out. But the poorer tar paper shacks were basically all destroyed.
Every electrical pole on the island was knocked down and the downtown
had 5 feet of sand washed into the streets. The center of the
island, where there were already 2 salinas (inland body of salt
water), the rain flooded them until there was one big salina,
including a lot of people's homes. It was up to 6 feet deep in
places, effectively cutting the island in two. There was no potable
water to the island for a couple of days because it is pumped
from Cancun and needs electricity from Cancun. But the Mexican
government got right on it and had helicopters coming one after
another bringing water and food to the islanders, got pumps working
to pump the water out and everyone pitched in to shovel sand away.
Soon the ferries were working again, bringing semi loads of water
and food. Electricians have come from all over Mexico (license
plates from as far away as Nuevo Leon) and have already replaced
every light pole and line on the island, and the whole island
is again lit, and also has water, except of course, us. When we
built, we had to purchase our own transformer for the pole in
front of our house, to get electricity. We lost the transformer
when the pole went down, but when the electricians came through,
they didn't put a new transformer up. We have pointed it out,
asking if we will get one, and have been reassured. It is the
weekend though, so we will see when. Until then we are camping
out at the school, not bad, but not home.
Overall, I have been extremely impressed at how rapidly the help
came, how organized it is and how calm and optimistic everyone
is. People who lost half or all of their homes are just happy
to be alive. There is also a group of extranjeros - foreigners
- mostly American and Canadian, who have all pitched in and are
buying lamina so the tar paper shacks can be rebuilt rapidly.
One house costs about $600, vs a cement home which is about $6,000
People have no money because the tourism is non-existent. Everyone
has been laid off, so there is no money on the island, and none
coming in. The aluminum window man has work. Some men have work
cleaning and building, but the clerks and restaurant workers are
all laid off. Everyone is planning that there will be a lot of
tourists for Christmas and things will be back to normal after
What has impressed me more than anything is how relaxed they are.
Even though there is no work and no money, people know that they
will eat somehow, and so don't seem worried about it. They are
doing what they can and want to work or help if they can, and
are patient about waiting, whether in line for purified water,
or for the tourists to come.
The school will not offer classes until January. Even though people
are not earning money, they are working to clean up their homes
and streets, and are not considering school at this time, as studying
is somewhat of a luxury. There is no attention for it during these
times. Of course the kids have returned to school, but most had
their school supplies either lost or destroyed, as everything
on isla got wet with all that rain. So our school will be helping
by handing out what we have to the local grade school - things
like pencils and paper. Those donations are MOST appreciated right
now. It is hoped that whoever comes down to Isla will bring them.
I think most hotels will be ready to receive guests within the
month, if not sooner.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Here is the latest update on Wilma and Isla Mujeres:
People are getting around the island even though there is still
some standing water and flooded areas. Buses, taxis and mopeds
are running. There is now telephone service to the entire island,
water is back on, and electricity is coming very soon, maybe by
the end of the week. The stores are open again with food to sell.
I am amazed and delighted with how quickly they have recovered!
The government was there immediately to restore the basics within
a week, which is fantastic! It seems there was no loss of life,
and the main damage was to the palapa (palm frond) roofs and the
wooden houses. There is a lot of sand in the streets in town,
it almost looks like piles of snow. They have some hard work ahead,
shoveling it back onto the beaches, which seem to have grown much
bigger! There is also a lot of rebuilding and cleaning to do.
Tom and I will be going back next week, as soon as we can get
tickets and finish packing and go. The school will not open for
classes until January 9th at the earliest, but the doors will
be open for activities for the kids, tutoring for those asking
for it, and to cook and serve meals for those who might not have
money to buy food.
We have some minor repairs to do on the building, like screen
windows and rebuilding the palapa in the back yard, but we and
others are counting our blessings!
Tuesday, October 25 Update
Many of you have asked to be kept updated about the current situation
on Isla Mujeres, after hurricane Wilma, and the damages to the
I received a cell phone call from my lead teacher, Daniela this
morning, and that combined with Spanish newspapers on line from
the Cancun area has given me a picture of the situation.
I have heard of no loss of life on Isla Mujeres, which seems like
a miracle. As we learn more, we may hear bad news in this regard,
but so far what we hear is that everyone survived.
We understand that the cement block structures NOT DIRECTLY HIT
by waves have survived intact, with only broken windows and water
damage to contents, nothing too serious. The school did sustain
flooding and I am sure things inside are water damaged, from books
and school supplies to the computers and other office equipment.
But the people living in carton houses, and they are the poorest,
have lost absolutely everything.
Isla Mujeres gets its electricity and water supply from a huge
underground/underwater pipe from Cancun. Because the power is
still out in Cancun, there is no way of knowing if it is still
operational or not, but at this time they think that this underwater
pipe might have been damaged by the force of the water during
the hurricane. In any case, when the power is restored to Cancun,
they will learn what the situation is. This may take anywhere
from a week to several months to get this service restored.
As long as there is no water or electricity, there will be severe
shortages on Isla Mujeres. Most of the poorer indigenous Mayans
drink the tap water, but now only bottled water will be available
to them, creating severe shortages. Food and water were being
airlifted via helicopter, but as you can imagine, each delivery
quickly disappears. There are more than 10,000 people still on
the island, and many of them were already in the middle of the
hungry time of the year, and literally did not have enough money
to stock up on food or water at all in the days before Wilma.
I know they are getting desperate now.
The ferry service to the island has been restored. This is good
news, as hopefully more food and water can be transported, assuming
it is available in Cancun.
In Cancun, the roads were blocked by fallen trees and power lines,
we have heard of extensive looting and general chaos there, as
those hungry folks look to any source available for their basic
needs. Needs of those on Isla Mujeres probably can't be seriously
addressed until Cancun order has been restored.
Daniela, our teacher, is planning to go to Merida and wait all
of this out, assuming she can get out of Cancun and roads are
clear to Merida.
We have decided that it makes no sense for us to try to get down
there until we know there is a water supply and electricity to
the island. We would quickly become a part of the problem ourselves.
As you can imagine, I am very anxious to get there and get involved
with the clean-up and restoration of not only the school, but
also the La Gloria community. I have many friends there!
When we do get there, the school will be helping in the community
any way we can. This includes giving food and clothing to people
as they need it and we have it, but we will not be able to help
anyone rebuild their homes from the school funds. Tom and I plan
to help on a personal basis, as we can afford to, and as people
give us discretionary money for this specifically.
I will try to update you as we get more information, and as things
- hopefully - improve!
September 2005 update
We will be holding our second annual Salsa Party
to raise funds for the school. This year, it will be hosted by
the Middleton High School Key Club and Spanish Club, at Middleton
High School in Middleton, Wisconsin (near Madison).
We will have a silent auction with many exciting things to bid
on, including one week accommodations on Isla Mujeres, as guests
of Tom and Maggie Washa!
We hope that all of you in the Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois
areas will consider coming to this event. We look forward to a
great gathering of Isla lovers and school supporters. Here are
Middleton High School Key Club and Spanish Club present a
Benefit for La Gloria English School
Sunday, October 23rd, 4-7 pm
Middleton High School*
Free salsa and chips donated by Pedro's Restaurant in Madison,
Free orange drink donated by McDonalds in Middleton
Free bilingual Bingo Games
A great silent auction with many great items to bid on,
Presentation by Maggie Washa about
La Gloria English School
*Directions to the school:
From Madison go west on University Ave into Middleton. Turn Right
on Bristol St. and go 2 blocks, the school is on the left.
From outside of Madison, Follow Hwy 12 & 14 to Middleton.
At the Hwy 14 west exit towards Cross Plains, exit and go EAST
into Middleton on University Avenue. Turn left on Bristol Street
and go 2 blocks to Middleton High School.
We hope to see you there!
Computer essay contest report - by Daniela at the school
As you know, La Gloria English School depends on generous donations
from people like you in order to offer our students resources
not otherwise available. This includes everything from pencils,
crayons and notebooks to learning to speak English and a chance
to win a laptop computer. Our students cherish their school and
teachers. Here we offer them a friendly place where the learning
is accessible and reliable. There is nothing like the reward of
a smiling student who has just won stickers or a new notebook
for good work done. Thanks to the organized communication system
used by Maggie Washa and your generosity, we have a steady flow
of volunteers and donations.
We have been requesting the donation of laptop computers to La
Gloria English school, knowing that they could offer new learning
opportunities to students and adults. In the spring of 2005 we
received a donation of 4 laptops, and after changing the operating
system to Spanish we were ready to donate them. But to be fair,
we needed criteria for choosing the lucky recipients. Students
were chosen from the pool of those with the best attendance in
their English classes. Then they were asked to write an essay
on "Why I want to learn English". The winners were randomly
chosen from these participants. We were able to give one computer
to a contestant at each of four levels: Children, Young Adult,
and Adults I, and Adults II.
The best part of the competition was to watch the students take
ownership of their learning. Culturally, school is not a priority,
and usually comes second to daily life responsibilities. Absences
are common at all the island schools, but last semester we noticed
an increase in attendance. We saw that they were motivated by
the possibility of winning a computer. Also they were required
to write essays, which is something most of them had never done.
For some of our adults, this was the only academic work since
elementary school. So you can see why we are proud of our students!
Below are some excerpts from the essays. All of the essays expressed
gratitude towards the school and its donors who are offering them
this wonderful opportunity to learn another language.
Viviana Aurora Martinez Chan is long time friend
of Maggie Washa and La Gloria English School. She is a housewife,
housecleaner, mother of four, and overall problem solver. If you
need something on the island, she's the one to ask. As her essay
illustrates, Viviana knows the importance of English and is very
grateful for the opportunity to learn English. Here is a translation
of her essay:
I want to learn English because it is fun and besides
being fun, I really like it.
La Gloria English School is one of THE centers of energy on Isla
this summer. We had more than 90 people register for classes in
June, and it is going well, with good attendance and lots of activities
between the classes. People are coming through the door daily, asking
when the next course will start. The school is getting a great reputation
on Isla. Thanks to your donations, we will be giving away 4 laptop
computers to the winners of a written essay on the last day of classes
later this month. The students are extremely excited about this.
This summer we have 2 volunteer teachers, Linda and Susan, who have
done an incredible job of teaching. Daniela is becoming a permanent
teacher there, and loved by all. Lupe and Viviana, who both work
there are taking English classes and finally overcoming their fear
of what they thought was impossible – speaking in English!
There were several volunteers including 3 young men, Matt, Caleb
and Jeremy, who spent a month on Isla this summer, volunteering
at the school. Needless to say, they had their hearts stolen.
I just spoke with Linda, and she gave me the school’s current
wish list. If you are going to Isla and wish to donate something
to the school, please take a look at this list first. Thanks so
much to all of you for your generosity in the past. This school
could not have survived this long without your help. Sad but true,
learning English is key to a better life for Isleños ...
Here is the list, not necessarily in order of need...
small spiral notebooks (suitable for teen boys)
small stuffed animals (clean used are fine)
frisbees (for those teen boys!)
art supplies, like paints
simple pocket folders
rain ware, all sizes (not umbrellas)
large size women’s clothing
good used clothing in general
decks of cards
dollar store stuff for prizes
The big ticket items we need are:
laminator (we have the ”paper”, but the machine died)
many copies of “Ingles Para Latinos” book 1 and book
Good quality English-Spanish dictionaries
We are also in dire need of financial donations. Although Linda
and Susan were able to donate their time, others live on Isla and
must be paid. Their dedication to the school is incredible, but
it doesn’t put food on their tables! We now have officially
been designated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in the US, so if your
employer can give matching funds to your donation, please take advantage
of that! Some friends of the school are collecting donations from
other Isla lovers and giving it through their employer matching
fund program, doubling the donation. Any way you can help, you will
make a difference.
Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom, I look forward to
seeing you on Isla, I’ll be there in late October until May!