By Winonna Saari Herald Writer
EVERETT — Children from Faith Lutheran Church helped build a retaining wall for a Guatemalan school in danger of sliding down a steep hillside in a remote village.
Although the children of the church didn’t travel to the Central American country, their efforts made a real difference there.
Each year the children raise money to donate to organizations. Last year Marco Tulio Maldonado, the Hands for Peacemaking Foundation’s director in Guatemala, traveled to Everett and shared some of the needs of village schools with the children of Faith Lutheran Church.
Maldonado makes an annual trip to Everett, which is headquarters of the Hands for Peacemaking Foundation.
The kids met with their leaders, Nancy Bolling and Janie May, to determine which cause to support. This year the Children of Faith raised money to help save the Guatemalan school. Pete Kinch, a former mayor of Everett, is a member of the church and also executive director of the Hands for Peacemaking Foundation. The nonprofit has staff that has worked near the small village of San Pedro Miador for more than 25 years.
The Everett children were so taken by stories about the children of San Pedro Miador that they chose to give their money to help the village, Kinch said.
During Maldonado’s visit to Everett this year they presented him a check for $1,349.90 for the school.
The congregation donated generously because the children were enthusiastic about the project.
The school in San Pedro Miador was built on a steep slope. Heavy rain eroded the foundation. Hands for Peacemaking Foundation volunteers from Everett and villagers helped build a retaining wall that helped keep the building from toppling. The project was completed about a month ago.
“The people live 14 hours from the nearest city. Fresh water is a problem for the villagers. Their earnings average from $1.50 to $3.50 (a day) by picking sugar cane or coffee crop,” Kinch said. “When the kids learned they could literally save the school, they worked harder.”
The donation was one of the largest collected by children at the Everett church. In the past they’ve raised money to help the Everett Animal Shelter. This year the children are donating their money to the Little Red School House, which helps developmentally disabled children.
Church leaders said the children are proud to see their efforts help mobilize a village to save the school.
Winonna Saari: 425-339-3437; firstname.lastname@example.org.