Standing up for Education

Today we held the first of many Student Ties activities today at the LDS Academy. This is a group of homeschooled children who have been partnered with an LDS community school in Abundancia, Paraguay.
We talked about what it means to be a humanitarian and why it is important to learn about other people around the world. One of the kids noted that we need to know about each other in order to learn. Brilliant! We found Paraguay on the map and talked about what it might be like to live there. One of the kids I helped showed me that he had lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina for several years. That’s right next door to Paraguay. To finished, we tied on friendship bracelets in a pledge to be kind, help those around us, and reach out to kids around the world in support of education!


Aftermath of an Earthquake

These students are making due with classes held in tents and surviving buildings left after the earthquake in April. Even in the midst of a devastating experience, students remain dedicated to the one thing that can change and improve their lives: education!
They even have their friendship bracelets made and ready to share with others!
We can’t wait to find them the perfect partner school!


Contacts in Columbia


A few days ago, I met with our wonderful school in Columbia on Skype! It was really great to meet with them “face to face” and talk about the Student Ties project with them. They have a wonderful team there with great desires to help the children that attend school. Most of the kids are not able to pay for all of the school supplies they need. The school does a lot to help them and Student Ties hopes to aid in this effort. We are excited to get to know them better and make education possible for every child!

God’s Awesome Army Ministries!

Here we are being silly with the ladies from God’s Awesome Army Ministries! We spent a wonderful evening with them sharing the School Ties project and stories from our experiences. We also took some bracelets from Kenya and Haiti to share and the ladies gave generous donations to support education! It was a really great time reading scripture and speaking from the heart.

This all happened because of our wonderful dental hygienist MJ! The girls actually look forward to getting their teeth clean because of her! The girls shared our project with her at our last appointment and she invited us to come tell her group about it! It’s pretty amazing what can happen while simply sitting in a dental chair!

Haude to Haiti

The talented group at Haude elementary wrapped up School Ties with a bang! The club sent home a donation letter for kids and families to buy friendship bracelets to support the students in Haiti. The response was wonderful! The sale raise close to $400!!! Wow! Many generous people making an effort to help students around the world! Thanks to everyone involved! Kids, with a little help from their teachers, can make a huge impact for good! Power to the Kid!
The school staff in Haiti is currently working on creating a Bon Lavi line of bracelets! We hope to sell these in stores and online. If you have any connections give us a shout!


(Showing the kids pictures of their friends from Haude Elementary)

In a previous post I mentioned some of the responses from students at our school after seeing pictures of students in Haiti. One brave student spoke the words that were probably on many minds, “They are sad because they don’t have any stuff like we have.” We had to take a minute to look back through the photos to see if the children in Haiti looked sad. We decided they did not!
I am happy to report that the old phrase, “Money can’t buy happiness” is after all, true! I think we all question that saying from time to time, as we smile over our new shoes and clean furniture. Sure, we don’t need a room full of stuffed animals to be happy, but buying a cold ice cream on a hot day, does create a certain amount of satisfaction, does it not?
As I visited school after school of children learning without pencils and paper, without text books, and even without a pair of matching shoes, I noticed one overriding feeling in the classroom; JOY! These kids were happy kids. They had almost nothing that they needed and yet, they could sing and dance the day away. Without any stuff involved, there was happiness.
My few short days in Haiti filled me with happiness as I looked into the eyes of the children and saw a desire to learn, create, and grow. All that I saw made me ask myself, “What about stuff?” Why do we need our things and our shoes and our furniture so desperately that we would choose to care about things more than people? Are our own collections and trinkets more important than dreams? Do we really need a closet full of clothes so much that we can’t part with some of it in order to change a life for the better?

While the kids of Haiti and I danced the Hokey Pokey, we all learned a little bit more about where happiness comes from.