building schools in honduras

I didn’t know how to make cement from scratch, it’s not exactly a New Yorker type of activity, even though I’m surrounded by concrete.


I never really thought about making it, until I saw my daughter Sydney hauling rocks last week, as she joined a group of American and Honduran kids and mixed them into a pile that became a sidewalk and classroom floor.


I then saw my son Jack with some other kids painting a mural on a kindergarten classroom wall…the mom in me checking to make sure the ladders were stable.




 

We were in Honduras, with my friend and former business partner Allison, two of her kids who I’d could call my own, and a group of high school students from all over the country.

We had joined School the World, a nonprofit where I am privileged to sit on the advisory board. School the World has built 109 schools in Guatemala and is now making headway for children’s education in Panama and Honduras.

We don’t just drop in, build a school, and leave.


Each school that is built and funded by School the World is also built and funded by the community, ensuring its sustainability. That translates into years of follow up including parent education, teacher training, and all the aspects of keeping a school safe and inviting, for kids to learn and grow.


 



 

While I was there, I had lunch with my friend Mark, who is now the head of UNICEF in Honduras. I’m still thinking about something he said, which smacks of why the work of School the World is so important.


He said that if he could wave a magic wand to help kids return to – and stay in – school post-pandemic, one of the priorities would be to build more play and sports programs in schools.


Just like us adults, without moments of play, kids will lose interest quickly.


Unlike most adults however, kids will find any way they can to play.

I can’t count how many times I’ve seen kids make soccer balls out of trash or twine in my travels with UNICEF.


So here I am again making my way back to play.


That’s my schtick.




 

But I want to keep reminding you that you too need play to balance your life, your energy, and your mood.


It’s no different for kids, and no different in Honduras.


In just over a week, we installed 4 swing sets, 2 slides, 2 seesaws, a 4-square area, hopscotch, and a basketball court.


From scratch.


Remember the hauling rocks and sand to mix cement.


For the kids involved in this incredible mission, it was a ‘roll up your sleeves, get ready to sweat, learn new things, get out of your comfort zone, speak Spanish, eat taquitos and chips all day long, and work hard’ kind of trip.


BUT…we break up all that work with play.


 



 

Our breaks included bubbles, soccer, tag, jumprope…it’s hard to capture the smiles on the kids in those playful moments.


You can see it in this short video recap we made for our supporters here.


It was hard to say goodbye to the kids, a farewell made easier knowing they have a new classroom, playground, and new areas to play.


If there is one thing that can get a kid excited about going to school, it’s recess.


Just ask my son Jack.


Who is still asking questions about the mural he painted and what I think the kids we met are doing right now at school…I know they will be with him for life.


With fierce love,
Alison

Share this Entry