Clare Whitney of Schroon Lake and Brody Hooper of Elizabethtown-Lewis schools are planning a dinner to assist children in Nicaragua. A spaghetti dinner will be served Sunday, March 10, 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the Cobble Hill Inn in Elizabethtown to raise money to educate students in the third-world nation. Tickets are $10 a person and $30 for families of four or more people.
Students from Schroon Lake and Elizabethtown-Lewis schools are joining forces to assist children in Nicaragua.
A spaghetti dinner will be served Sunday, March 10, 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the Cobble Hill Inn in Elizabethtown to raise money to educate students in the third-world nation. Tickets are $10 a person and $30 for families of four or more people.
The dinner is sponsored by the National Honor Society chapters at Schroon Lake and Elizabethtown-Lewis schools along with the Cobble Hill Inn, which is providing the spaghetti and garlic bread.
The local students hope to raise $1,500 to be used to pay tuition costs for Nicaraguan students who have lost their sponsors. In Nicaragua students must pay to attend school. Those without the money must find sponsors.
“It is important to remember that this fundraiser is to cover the costs of these students’ tuitions just for this year,” explained Clare Whitney, a Schroon Lake student heading up the dinner with ELCS student Brody Hooper. “They will still need long-term sponsors to keep their education going. That’s why this event is also about education awareness. There is no overstating how crucial an education is to the future of Nicaragua.
“In addition to raising sufficient funds to support these students, we also aim to spark the flame of hope in people here to find it in their hearts, and in their wallets, to take on the sponsorship of a student and change a life forever,” she said. “For $140 a year, someone can sponsor a child to go to school and pay for their uniforms, shoes, books, and other school materials.”
Whitney and Hooper are both members of the North Country Mission of Hope leadership board. Whitney has twice been to Nicaragua and plans to go again in July. Hooper was there a week ago.
“The students are from various schools,” Whitney said. “Some are from the Chiquilistagua public school and some are from the local private schools — colegio niño jesus de praga and nejapa.
“Brody Hooper and I comprise the student portion of the board of leadership for the NCMOH and we are working together to put this event on,” she said. “Both of our NHS groups will be setting up, serving and cleaning up for the went as well as providing salad and baked goods.”
This is Whitney’s second major fund raising effort on behalf of Nicaraguan students. Last year she raised $10,000 by hosting a 5-kilometer run, a hike and a dinner. That money was used to buy lunches for more than 130 children for one school year.
Hunger is rampant in Nicaragua. It is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere; only Haiti has worse poverty.
School lunch is important, Whitney said, because it is often the only food a child receives in day.
“If they don’t get lunch at school during the day, odds are they won’t get fed every night when they go home,” she said. “It is so important that we sponsor these children to assure education and do what we can to assure better nutrition as well.
“I currently sponsor an 11 year-old girl attending Chiquilistagua Publico named Izayanna,” she said. “The lunch we can buy for the students will vary from meals such as tortilla bread and cheese, or soup, or oatmeal-like drinks. These meals are very simple and they emphasize fruit and protein, which is what most children lack most in their diets.”
A spiritually-based humanitarian organization, the North Country Mission of Hope is committed to fostering hope and empowering relationships with the people of Nicaragua through sustainable programs in education, health care, community and ecological development. It began in 1998 by responding to the devastating effects of Hurricane Mitch on the impoverished villages of Nicaragua.
“While we were in Nicaragua, we did a lot,” Whitney said. “To start, there was maintenance to be done at the Mission of Hope compound in Chiquilistagua, Nicaragua, such as painting, cleaning, etc. But what is at the heart of the mission is what occurs off compound. One main project the MOH conducts is ‘rice and beans’ in which groups of missioners go out into the poorest barrios and distribute bags of rice and beans to houses. It isn’t much, but it is incredible how long people can make that amount of food last.
“Another is ‘home shelter,’ where groups of missioners team up with Nicaraguans to build shelters,” she continued. “To be honest, the shelter we provide is much smaller than my own bedroom, but when a family receives one, the gratefulness in their eyes becomes understandable when you see what an improvement it is from their prior situation. These shelters are built from corrugated metal and wood.”
Mission of Hope also supports a disability center, a children’s hospital, medical clinics and a program to enroll students in schools.
“My favorite part was playing with the children from the neighborhood every day in the evening,” Whitney said. “I have made so many bonds with so many people from the mission — children, adults and, of course, fellow missioners.”
The North Country Mission of Hope is successful, Whitney said, because of the support it receives from Adirondack residents.
“Mission of Hope is so incredibly thankful for the people in the North Country for all of their support,” Whitney said. “We realize that, especially in today’s economy, there are people who suffer from hunger even here in the United States. However, we are fortunate enough to have numerous programs and organizations that are dedicated to help our people, like the Salvation Army and food pantries.
“In Nicaragua, they rely on people like you and me to help mitigate their hunger, their pain,” she added. “It’s difficult sometimes to remind ourselves that we don’t really need the new iPhone, or that a bad grade on a math test isn’t the end of the world. But when we remember what is really important, we can open our hearts with generosity and make an unimaginable difference in the lives of people all around the world.”