A picture says a thousand words & my little friend Francis Alexander and his friends summed it up perfectly for me.
My 2nd RetailROI trip to Honduras was at the end of June and I am thrilled to share that all donations of health and beauty care supplies, school supplies, clothing, money and shoes were ALL a hit. In all, I traveled with 8 full suitcases and came home with two. Even the suitcases were left there to be used as closets for the kids at Plan Escalon.
On this trip we went to another mountain village where I met Francis Alexander and a sweet little girl named Mavis. Both were thrilled to receive a simple string backpack with 2 pencils, erasers, a sheet of stickers, a few pages of a coloring book and 3 crayons. Their moms/grandmothers lined up for staples of rice and food supplies. The big moment of the day was to deliver the boxes of Tom’s Shoes that had been sent in a different donation campaign. Every child in the village went home that day with a new pair of shoes, a school backpack and a toy of some sort (stuffed animal, toy car, hair ribbons).
Our second stop that day was Nueva Esperanza – a homeless village that, just one year earlier, was nothing but a shanty town – no running water, no sewers, no schools; just hungry, desperate people. One year later, Plan Escalon had helped build a community of small brick homes, a water tower and had run plumbing to the town. They had also donated 3 full-time teachers, built a small elementary school, and transformed a homeless village into a functioning town with electricity and water. At this stop, we again delivered toys and food supplies.
Back at the school, we had a full day of training sessions with the students. Representatives from the industry taught courses on the “4 P’s of Marketing”, work was done on the computer lab, and there was a US Certified Food Safety course taught. I also participated in a group Panel in front of the 600 school students with executives from Genesco, NRF, Epicor, SAP, PWC, Xerox and Gartner. We discussed the skills needed in the workforce of the future, the importance of integrity, networking, education and hard work. There was also an impactful session on interview preparation and skills, we did some role playing on the appropriate behaviors, and even had a very brave volunteer from the audience come up and go though a mock interview. The young man was articulate, bright and eager – I’d certainly have hired him!!
In a country where 75% unemployment is the norm, every opportunity to improve themselves and their positions in the world are jumped on by the kids of Plan Escalon. They are some of the most motivated students I’ve ever met and I’m inspired by their hard work and dedication to improving their own lives.
Thanks again to all those who donated to this very worthy cause! For more information please go to http://www.tolm.org/ministry-needs.