Castleton State College is opening its collective arms and big heart to more than the community surrounding it. This upcoming semester students will be making two trips to El Salvador to help a school there. Kim Turner came up with the idea when she visited there in June for 20 days with Spanish tutor Cecilia Rodriguez. While there, they came across a school located in La Liberated that had little supplies, an unsanitary environment and unsafe places for the children to play. Kids, for instance, were found playing with a bottle for fun, Turner said.
“This is not a luxury trip,” Tuner stressed.
Students who go will all be cramped together in a two- bedroom house, meaning many of them will be scattered around the floor. But they will be in a secure area where they will not need to get vaccinations. They will not be allowed to drink the water though, said Ana Alexander of the Spanish department who will be going on the trips.
“Charity like this is the only way to give back,” said senior leader Jessica Duncan.
Duncan sees this trip as the first major unselfish act that she has done in a while. She works three jobs and goes to school, but said she believes that these trips are the only way to really give back and make a difference.
There will be two different trips going to El Salvador, one during February break and the other during April break. Not all who are involved speak Spanish both trips will have entirely different students going.
Professor Chris Boettcher of the English department is also going on the trip. Even though he does not speak Spanish, he said he isn’t nervous aboout communicating with locals. He plans to just interact and learn from them — and help.
“We really want to learn from them,” Alexander said.
A goal of the trip is to see life through the children’s eyes. To do this they will be doing something called the 10 camera project. They will give cameras to the children to take pictures so students can see and study what they see every day.
Turner said that there are still some spots open in the April trip, but they will not be filled until proper funding has come through. As of November they have $3,000 towards the trip but they need a total of $25,000 to pay for all students’ needs and supplies for the school they are helping.
“Donations are welcome to help the cause,” Alexander said.
When giving a donation, you can purchase a small figurine sculpture that when you pull them apart they have a scene, made by the people in El Salvador.
Each person going on the trip is doing their own fundraising to help the cause. Professor Sanjukta Gosh, who is struggling to learn Spanish before the trip, is hosting a wine and chocolate tasting party to support the trip.
“Even if it’s only a little bit, it is still something toward the cause” she said..
For information on how to give a donation, help out or just get more information you can go to the group on facebook called “Project El Salvador.