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Spanish students at Bob Jones fill Shoeboxes for Guatemala

Children in Capellania Village, Guatemala celebrate upon receiving their shoeboxes (friendsofthechildrenal.org). (CONTRIBUTED)
Children in Capellania Village, Guatemala celebrate upon receiving their shoeboxes (friendsofthechildrenal.org). (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON- Spanish students at Bob Jones High School aren’t only learning a language but helping Central American families.

For Shoeboxes for Guatemala, these students collected hygiene items, school supplies, clothing and toys to place in 256 shoeboxes. In Guatemala, charitable organizations distribute boxes to orphanages, groups assisting impoverished youth in Guatemala City, the capital, and rural areas with indigenous populations, Lesa Clough said.

A National Board Certified Teacher, Clough chairs Bob Jones’ world languages department.

About 10 years ago, Shoeboxes for Guatemala founder Homer Wilson contacted Clough about the project. Bob Jones has participated ever since. Following Wilson’s death, Emylic Brown now runs the organization.

Each year, Brown visits Bob Jones and shows “images of the recipients and also conditions that they live in. Ms. Brown brings letters from some children who have received boxes,” Clough said.

Bob Jones students wrote letters in Spanish to children receiving the boxes. They also wrote the box’s contents on the outside in Spanish to bolster their vocabulary and writing skills.

Sophomore Kevon Davis “wanted to help others. I’ve had rough times in my life, and I would have liked to have someone help me out like that,” Davis said.

“I thought it was a great experience to help people,” junior Rachel Shockey said. “I had a lot of fun shopping for the little kids.”

Bob Jones students read these letters aloud, all written in Spanish. “This puts a tangible image in the students’ minds of the children that will receive these gifts. Even though a small token, most kids don’t receive any gifts for Christmas,” Clough said.

Madisonians “are very blessed. Poverty has an entirely different definition compared … to some areas of Guatemala. I want students to have an opportunity to help others around the world and to share some of (our) blessings in the United States,” Clough said.

“Honestly, our kids are rather spoiled. This (project) provides a learning opportunity for sharing our good fortunes,” Clough said.

For more information, visit friendsofthechildrenal.org.

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