Local Rotarians aid Nicaragua’s ‘Children of the Dump’: West Shore Chatter

Estelle Sidler

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio — Members of the Rotary Club of Lakewood and Rocky River joined Rotarians across the country Aug. 26 by participating in an international service project known as “Children of the Dump.” Shoe boxes for the Children of the Dump in Chinandega, Nicaragua, were filled with personal […]

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio — Members of the Rotary Club of Lakewood and Rocky River joined Rotarians across the country Aug. 26 by participating in an international service project known as “Children of the Dump.”

Shoe boxes for the Children of the Dump in Chinandega, Nicaragua, were filled with personal care items, clothing, school supplies and age-appropriate games or toys.

Club members also donated money, shopped and purchased needed supplies for the children, as well as preparing and filling the boxes for shipment. Club member Vicki Foster led this year’s initiative. She was supported by 22 club members.

Fifteen shoes boxes were filled for young boys and 20 for young girls. They contained items like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, comb, underwear, flip flops, one outfit of top and pants for girls or an outfit of shirt and pants or shorts for boys, a baseball cap, a doll and toys for girls and toys such as a yo-yo and matchbox cars for boys, card games, coloring book with crayons and markers, notebook, three pencils, pencil sharpener and a pocket folder.

Each year, Rotarians travel to Nicaragua to witness and participate in the work being done there, as well as to help deliver supplies to the children. The recently filled shoe boxes will be delivered to an area collection facility, where they will be picked up and transported with other clubs’ boxes to Nicaragua.

The shoe boxes are used as incentive for children to remain in school. In order to receive one of the boxes, the child must be attending school on a regular basis and earning satisfactory grades. The goal is to break the cycle of poverty by providing food, education and programs to encourage good health. Rotarians said the ultimate goal is to relocate the children from the dump to a life of dignity.

They estimate that there are 800 children 5 or younger in Chinandega who are fending for themselves, often competing with dogs, cattle and goats for food.

Young men climb aboard the trucks and wagons loaded with overflowing garbage headed for the dump hoping to find items of value, such as plastic bottles, aluminum cans or even food. Women rake the sides of the loads with sticks fitted with hooks, pulling the debris loose and onto the ground. At that point, the rotten mess comes in reach of the young children.

The Chinandega dump began in 1998 in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, which dropped more than 60 inches of rain on the area. A 30-foot wall of water flowed down the volcano, picking up trees and boulders before smashing into a village, destroying everything in its path. Before the mudslide, the town had about 4,500 residents. Twenty-eight hundred remain buried from the disaster.

Nicaragua is the poorest nation In the Western Hemisphere, second only to Haiti. About the size of Alabama, it has a population of 5.3 million with about 4 million living in poverty. There is a 33 percent illiteracy rate among adults; 50 percent of the children drop out of school before completing fifth grade, usually because their parents cannot afford the needed school supplies.

Gold award: Three Bay Village Girl Scouts earned the Gold Award, the highest distinction a Girl Scout can earn, on July 19. They were among 40 Girl Scouts who received the award during a ceremony at the John S. Knight Center in Akron.

The local winners and their service projects are:

1/4 u00b7 Abigail Donahue, Bay High School senior, made classroom first aid kits after realizing that BHS teachers didn’t have proper access to first aid supplies in their classrooms. She raised funds to provide a kit to each classroom, and also taught first aid skills to preschoolers and a Brownie troop.

1/4 u00b7 Elizabeth Holup, BHS graduate and a freshman at The Ohio State University, organized a Middle School Poetry Slam. She planned a fun-filled night of literature and food to show the community the importance of poetry.

1/4 u00b7 Kendall Thomas, BHS senior, created Math Backpacks. She wanted to show that math isn’t only hard work, it also can be fun. She raised funds to create a set of the backpacks filled with math games that Normandy Elementary School students can borrow.

Hausmann makes the list: The National School Public Relations Association recently released its list of 2020 Superintendents to Watch.

Jodie Hausmann, superintendent of the Bay Village City Schools, is among the 24 district leaders who were selected for their use of communication technology in innovative and effective ways. The honorees, who have less than five years of experience as a superintendent of schools in a school district/school board system, were recognized for engaging and informing their school communities with new communication technology tools combined with tried-and-true techniques.

NSPRA will highlight each Superintendent to Watch in its NSPRA This Week member e-newsletter in the upcoming months. Honorees received a recognition certificate and will receive a special discount to the NSPRA 2021 National Seminar in New Orleans.

Rescheduled: Junk in the Trunk will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 12) in the Rocky River Senior Center parking lot, 21014 Hilliard Blvd., Rocky River — rain or shine. Attendees are asked to wear a face mask and practice social distancing.

Donations needed: The Westlake Historical Society is accepting donations for its next yard sale. Call 216-848-0680 for more information about the sale or making a donation.

Information, please: Readers are invited to share information about themselves, their families and friends, organizations, church events, etc. from Bay Village, Rocky River and Westlake for the West Shore Chatter column, which I write on a freelance basis. Awards, honors, milestone birthdays or anniversaries and other items are welcome. Submit information at least 10 days before the requested publication date to [email protected]

Read more from the West Shore Sun.


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