Friday, November 2, 2007

Thank you

I've been so busy getting ready for Brazil, but I wanted to take a minute to thank all the groups that have invited me to speak during the last six weeks. I feel so privileged to be able to come back to Maine and give my time to some of the schools, organizations, and individuals that have done so much for me over the years.

Camden Public Library
Liz Dailey and her Human Rights class, Camden Hills Regional High School
Cindy Allen and AP English, CHRHS
Lynne Taylor's Spanish 4 classes, CHRHS
Noreen Clark, Quarry Hill Activities
Sheila Caldwell, Sophomore English, CHRHS
Dr. Thom Buescher and his Anthropology class
Nohora Estes and the students of Riley School
Union Senior Citizens Group

Six weeks later....

During the last six weeks in Camden, I've had the opportunity to speak to a number of students, organizations, and individuals about my work in Latin America and have been deeply inspired by the encouragement and support I've received in this community and elsewhere.
With the support of many people, I am in the process of starting a non-profit organization called Global Opportunity Garden whose mission is to provide a common ground that connects people in need with people who want to make a difference one way or another. I will be using my broad network of contacts in Colombia and my experience working with all types of projects and Non Governmental Organizations in order to help people find ways of contributing to the world by donating time, money, and/or energy.
It's remarkable to me the number of people who wish to do something to make the world more fair and equitable but simply don't know how to go about it. Last week, a had the great pleasure of giving a presentation to students at Riley School in Rockland. I showed them pictures from my travels in Colombia and El Salvador and spoke about the horrendous living conditions of so many people in the developing world and was astounded by the maturity, intelligence, and eagerness to help that they demonstrated. They listened attentively and asked thoughtful questions about global poverty and Latin American culture.
They asked about everything from environmental policy in Colombia to strategies for reducing hunger in Latin America, but my favorite question came from a girl who couldn't have been older that 11:

"Is there anything kids our age can do to help reduce poverty around the world?"

She seemed honestly excited when I told her "yes" and at the end of the presentation I was swarmed by other students who wanted to learn more.