By: Kathleen Ware
School: St. Augustine SS
Grades/Subjects Taught: Chaplain
Years teaching: 32
# of times travelled to Nicaragua: 6
The Global Education program run by Casa - Pueblito is amazing! I have looked at other programs that other schools go on and I don’t see anything better out there. These kids change when they go on this trip. Some of it sticks and some of it will come back to them as they mature and grow.
The whole school benefits from the experiences the few go on, because they come back and share. Our community and our world benefit because ultimately these students find their niche and take up a cause and make the world a better place!
I firmly believe in the social justice aspect of the trip as well. It makes no sense to go to Nicaragua, and do an act of charity, and then leave. There is nothing lasting in this type of endeavor. Students help build a building, dig a community garden, or plant a crop. They experience life as lived by the Nicaraguan people and develop a relationship with the people in the community. This is what solidarity is all about. Then there is hope for an education, or community development, or self-sufficiency in a community’s ability to feeding their families.
I like the low key nature of Casa - Pueblito as well. It is not glitz and glamour like some other non-profits but I do understand that this means that funding is often hard to come by.
I went on my first service trip when I was 47 years old. It was to Haiti just 6 months before going to Nicaragua with the students. It changed my life completely. I wish I had been given the chance in high school to do a trip like the one to Nicaragua. I wouldn’t have wasted so many years of my life in the consumer culture.
My advice for other teachers who want to take their students in a Global Education trip, is to partner up with another school on your first trip. Go with someone who has been already, someone who shares your philosophy on charity, social justice and solidarity. Prepare the kids. This is not a vacation - it is hard work for everyone.