Head of School Blog

Guest Bloggers: The Eighth Grade Class Prepares for Ecuador

8th Grade Class Volume: 4 Issue: 11 November 25, 2014
Guest Bloggers: The Eighth Grade Class Prepares for Ecuador

This year is the fourth annual Eighth Grade trip to Ecuador, and we are very excited to go on our trip. The exchange program is one of our most popular trips in the Middle School. There are many benefits of international travel for students, such as making friends around the world, trying new foods, experiencing different environments, and becoming inspired by what we view on the trip. About 67% of students from ages 12-18 who travel abroad earn a college degree or higher, compared to only 34% who do not earn their degrees. There are many cultural benefits, like being immersed in foreign languages, learning about different historical landmarks, and learning about other ways of life. To fund our trip to Ecuador, we are hosting many different fundraisers. We are off to a very solid start thanks to your participation in Parents Night Out and the Bake Sale and Raffle.

We have a busy itinerary for our trip to Ecuador. We visit the equator, go to an open-air craft market in the mountains, tour an indigenous community, explore historic downtown Quito including the Church of Gold, and tour the home and museum of a famous Ecuadorian artist, Oswaldo Guyasamin. We will be having many amazing experiences, but perhaps as one student said, the most important part of our trip is helping other people. Service is a very important aspect of our education at All Saints, and we extend our service not only to our own school and the Hoboken community, but we will also bring our service to Ecuador. While we are there, we will visit an after-school program called Amigo Guia, where we will introduce ourselves and dance and play games with the kids. Though we homestay with very wealthy families of the upper class in Ecuador, not all kids in Ecuador are so lucky. Did you know that over 300,000 kids have to work and live on the street in Ecuador? Also, over half of Ecuador's total population lives in poverty (www.freethechildren.com). Amigo Guia, meaning "Guiding Friend," helps provide a variety of resources to the children who attend, such as after-school childcare, homework, and enrichment classes. The facility also offers adult workshops such as parenting classes to those who are in the program.

Our next fundraising event will take place at the school play, and the money earned from this event will be specifically dedicated to our service project at Amigo Guia. During the school plays, on December 5th and 6th, we will be selling flowers and dove ornaments. The money we raise from sales at the play will be used to support our service project in Ecuador by buying Spanish books and videos for Amigo Guia. After last year's class brought school supplies, the director of the program asked if we could help them get more learning resources. To share with Amigo Guia something that is special in our community, we have decided to collect books and videos around the theme of animals and the environment. Purchasing flowers and ornaments will help us serve Amigo Guia so please consider buying a bouquet from us for your little actor or actress. Order forms are attached to the Mid-Week Memo and available at the front desk. If you would like, you can also donate books and videos to help the kids in the Amigo Guia program. Thank you for your continued support.

We are so grateful for all that our community does to support our exchange program. It truly is a highlight of our Eighth Grade experience. We are proud to be part of a community that puts so much value on helping others. Just as you are helping us raise enough money for our trip, we have enjoyed the many service projects we have participated in at All Saints and look forward to our service project in Ecuador. We look forward to sharing our love of animals and appreciation of the environment, and giving the gift of the joy of reading. There are other ways you can help us with this project. Consider adding these items onto your holiday wish list, or if you have any educational Spanish items, and you don't use them anymore, we would be very grateful to donate them to the children in Ecuador. If there is any other way you would like to help please let us know. Thank very much for your ongoing support.

Sincerely,

The Eighth Grade Class
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