Thursday, March 19, 2009

An education in the jungle

Have you met my friend Jen? Because really, you should. She's one of the first bloggers I started reading back when I started blogging nearly 2 years ago, and she's amazing. She has a one of the best hearts ever, and her posts about her work with the homeless never failed to open my eyes (which were usually filled with tears). I honestly see the world differently now. She's fun, too, and although I've never had the chance to kick back and drink a beer with her in person I hold out hope that someday I'll get to.

But probably not too soon. Because now she lives in the jungle. And if I thought her insights into working with the homeless were mind blowing, they were only a precursor to reading about her leap of faith into the jungle of Belize.

Her daughter M just started preschool in the jungle. The preschool where I work is full of books and games and crayons and Playdoh. Craft projects cover the walls and hang from the ceilings.

But supplies are harder to come by in the jungle. Supplies, maybe, but not love. M is clearly in a preschool where the children are loved and taken care of.

And now, due to this amazing community of bloggers, there has been an outpouring of offers to help Jen help this preschool in the jungle. To help the teachers and the students there.

The teacher at the school provided a list of things they could use. Shipping isn't cheap. I thought we might be able to better pool our resources if we sent out several large packages, as opposed to small individual packages from all over the world. I thought it might help to organize donations, to help ensure the school gets a variety of the things it needs, and not a million crayons but no paper. And so, as a way of saying thanks to Jen for taking me on this amazing journey with her, I have offered to help organize donations to the school. And Jen has honored me by accepting the offer.

So here's the deal. If you would like to help out M's school in the jungle, contact me at pntdmaypole AT yahoo DOT com. I'll provide you with a paypal account if you'd like to make a monetary donation, or an address if you'd like to ship supplies to me so that I can ship a larger package to the jungle. And don't worry. I'll let you know what gets sent (you can also ask me to use your funds to buy a specific item. I will honor those requests). And I'll let Jen know just how great you all are for helping out.

Here is the list of things, as quoted from Jen's post. Jen has told me that the official language is English, but that Spanish books, etc would be welcome as well.

In no particular order she's asked for:

Crayons: the kind you get at learning places where you can get a dozen or more of the same color, like 12 reds, 12 blues and so on. If not she'll take regular crayons but specifically asked for this.
Felt board cutouts for story time
Markers - washable
Puzzles (ages 4-5)
Construction Paper
Googly eyes
Pipe Cleaners
Story books (ages 4-5)
Play doh
Paints (washable)
Paint brushes
Coloring books
Laminated word cutouts. Not sure what this is but you preschool teachers probably will.
Basically anything educational or crafty

She has about 25 kids in her class and supplies are really hard to get here and what you can get costs a lot and is terrible quality


Mary G said...

I'm in -- she's an amazing writer. I think the best thing for my part is to send $ and have you buy the stuff you need to fill the blanks.

Anonymous said...

You know I am onboard with this. Thank you for volunteering to organize us. Please email the info to me. :)

Mad said...

I'm due to send her a package from my neck of the woods so I'll just mail it direct. Besides the double shipping CA to US would probably be equally prohibitive.

another good thing said...

what a cool thing to do for a friend- for those kids...
we just sent a bunch of supplies to schools in IRAN. The Dollar Tree cart was loaded, and I hope everything got there safely.
Maybe you need 2 blogging mommies to personally carry school supplies to BELIZE! Hello? Can you say mommy getaway?

Amanda said...

I've been hoping she'd send me the address. Can you?

Beck said...

That's so kind of you! I'll see how my paypal account is looking this week.

Kyla said...

This is great!

jen said...

i love you, PM. xo

alejna said...

That's so great that you are doing this. I've wanted to help, too. I'll be in touch!