Where’s TASK Been?

Posted December 18, 2010 by carrollairey
Categories: TASK

First day of Christmas holidays!! My goal is to get back on track with posting TASK information. Although I haven’t posted anything for a long time, I have been very busy with many activities to raise funds and promote TASK. During the next couple of weeks, I will attempt to bring you up to date with all the activities that have happened over the past months.



Fundraising Dinner for the Sta. Rosa Preschool

Posted April 11, 2010 by carrollairey
Categories: TASK

About a week ago, I sent out an invitation to all my Northern BC contacts to come to a turkey dinner fundraiser for Take A Stand for Kids, organized by the Houston Early Childhood Educators, to help support the preschool in Santa Rosa del Peñon, Nicaragua.

Last night was the big event!

First of all, I would like to give a HUGE THANK YOU to Catherine and Eva, for initiating the idea, to Marlee and Sara who joined in to support the idea, to Lois and all the others who volunteered to help make it such a success! In addition, I would like to THANK all those who attended. In spite of a number of other events going on last night in Houston, BC, it was an amazing success with almost all the tables filled, and other participants, who couldn’t come to the dinner, receiving a take-out. The participants were graciously presented with a DELICIOUS turkey dinner and all the trimmings, hot and ready to serve precisely at the posted time of 6 PM. Everything about it was expertly accomplished! At the end of the evening, after my photo presentation, with the expenses taken care of, the organizers presented me with an envelope containing $920.00!!!! It was truly unbelievable and I can hardly wait to tell the Santa Rosa del Peñon committee that I work with, about this good news.

One of my favourite quotes certainly applies here:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

This “small group of thoughtful, committed citizens” will change the world of the preschool children who attend the nutrition program in Santa Rosa del Peñon,Nicaragua.

There were whispers at the end of the night that they might think about making this an annual event, and if that comes to pass, I encourage all of those in the vicinity to come another time and enjoy the superb talents of these expert hostesses, and at the same time support the activities of TASK.

(L to R) Sara, preschool assistant for teacher Marlee, and teacher Catherine with her assistant Eva, ready to serve the dinner.

Packed and Ready to Go!

Posted February 5, 2010 by carrollairey
Categories: TASK

Where did three weeks go?? All of a sudden we’re leaving from home in 30 minutes. I have been very busy with all the preparations for this trip. I now have all our travel and accommodations reserved. Last week, I inquired about the luggage restrictions and was delighted to find out that things are no different than last year, except for where the cabin baggage is stored. To get to Seattle, we may have our bigger cabin bag stored in with the checked luggage but can recover it there and take it with us on the remainder of our trip. The media hasn’t told the whole story on cabin luggage!

Parker and I can take 4-50 pound pieces of luggage with us so for the past week or more, my living room has looked as if a tornado whirled through. My family has been peaking at the TV over the piles of donated items that I am organizing into two big boxes and 2 big duffle bags.

Everything to be packed, takes up space in our living room

Packing is an exacting job. It’s important to make sure all breakables are packed tightly with cushioning materials. Baby and children’s clothes work very well to tuck in, around, and between items that could be damaged. Each bag must be carefully weighed to maximize the luggage space. Luckily we have a commercial scale so I can fill each piece of luggage to 49.5 pounds. Maximizing the allowable weight is always one of my goals.

In a game box, I managed to pack 6 pairs of scissors and 5 pieces of children's clothes

One box is for medical supplies for the Casa Materna as recommend by Bertha-stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, glucose meter and accessories, thermometers, condoms—all donated. I have a collection of small soaps, shampoos and conditioners donated from various friends’ hotel stays. These are available for the mothers who spend time at the Casa Materna. My friend Shirley, who travelled with me in March 2009, came across a fantastic supply of high-quality reading glasses, 107 pairs, in all strengths, with price tags from $9.99 to $28.99, all for $1 each. She purchased all that the store had and delivered them to me last summer. What an amazing donation that is for the people of Santa Rosa.  So many people in the area need reading glasses but have no money to buy them at full cost.  My dentist donated toothbrushes and toothpaste. I donated three mosquito nets to protect the newborn babies. By coincidence, a local friend was able to deliver them to me from Prince George this week. In addition, I have a variety of other donated medical supplies that may be useful at the Casa Materna or at the local health clinic.

The second box contains educational supplies for the playschool, which includes pencils, crayons, scissors, art and music supplies, board games, educational toys and games, and professional books for the teacher on activities for play school-aged children. Part of my work this time will be to introduce the teacher to new ideas to use with the children from the books. The staff at Topley Elementary School donated $25 for me to purchase a box of paper for the playschool and the children are doing a coin drive to raise funds for plastic bins to store the various supplies.

One duffle bag contains fabrics and notions donated from many people around the province. Thank you to all those people. Included are 11 different bolts of beautiful dress fabrics ranging in lengths from 1.5 m to 13 m. In calculating the retail cost, this trip’s fabric donations are worth over $1200. Several years ago, a friend in Burns Lake had to close her fabric store and at the end of her sale donated two huge boxes of bolts of fabrics. I have been taking a selection of them with me to the sewing school each trip. A huge thank you is again extended to Eileen, for thinking about Take A Stand for Kids. Your donation is continuing to benefit the women and girls at the school. This bag also contains children’s clothes donated by Pauline in Smithers. She has been a regular donor for the past few years, Thanks Pauline!

The last duffle bag is filling with the flow-over from the other luggage and gifts for friends, my translator’s family and children I meet along the way.

Although I have mentioned a few donors, at this time I would like to extend a HUGE THANK YOU to ALL the generous people who have made material, as well as monetary donations, to Take A Stand for Kids. Your interest in and support for the people of Santa Rosa del Peñon, Nicaragua is most gratefully acknowledged.

Santa Rosa, Here We Come!

Posted January 17, 2010 by carrollairey
Categories: TASK

Sundays in Santa Rosa bring many people into town to shop and to socialize. Their horses stand patiently in the shade of the tree-lined streets.

We’re on the countdown now–three weeks today, we’ll be sweltering in Santa Rosa! It was 35 C in Managua today and Santa Rosa is usually HOTTER!!

My neighbour’s 20-year old son Parker will be accompanying me on this trip. We’re physically getting ready for any challenge we might encounter in Nicaragua by going out snowshoeing as often as possible–Saturday we put in 4 hours, and more than 9 km (5 miles), of which at least 1.5 km (1 mile) was slogging a new trail to create another circle tour. Today in our glorious -3 C  sunny winter weather, we put in another 3 hours–we’re going to be in FANTASTIC shape by the time we leave from Smithers for Nicaragua on February 5. Bertha, my good friend, advisor and colleague in Santa Rosa, sent an email to tell us we need to be ready to hike into the mountains to visit some families in the rural communities, so with that message we got started on getting fit. It feels REALLY GREAT!!

Last year on my annual visit to Santa Rosa in March, I had ignored my physical health on the lead-up to my trip and paid the price. I caught a cold from Tania, my translator, as soon as I arrived and “picked up” other undesirable bugs in the following two weeks. I was feeling so rough that I actually came home a week early and missed the opportunity for a new adventure, including a 6-hour ride in the back of a truck by primitive roads to the Rio Coco to visit relatives of Tania’s family. What a disappointment that was!! I’m hoping the roads are passable this early in the dry season, so maybe we can go this time. After this weekend’s boot camp of physical activity, I can tell I’m ready!

As of this afternoon, my living room has now become a donation-packing storeroom. I have two big boxes and two big duffle bags anxiously awaiting their precious cargos of  medical, educational and sewing donations. With all the new luggage restrictions that now accompany travel through the USA, we may have to pack quite differently. From the media, I understand that nobody is allowed cabin baggage so all our personal luggage that we usually take on as cabin baggage, may now have to take up one of the four 50-pound checked bags allowed. Who suffers? The community of Santa Rosa del Peñon! They will receive one less bag of donations. Parker and I think we can manage with 25 pounds each for a month and stuff it all into one of those duffle bags. I’ll have to check with the airlines, to see if they have made changes since the restrictions imposed after the “Christmas Day Detroit” incident.

Tomorrow I am making two presentations to 4 classes at Twain Sullivan School on TASK’s work in Santa Rosa del Peñon, following up on last Monday’s presentation to the first two classes. I will finish presenting to the last three classes on Wednesday. The school is having a friendly coin collection competition to raise funds for furniture for the playschool at the Community Education Centre that TASK funded in 2008. According to rumour, one of the classes, that I presented to last Monday, has already filled their first plastic juice container. Congratulations Grade 4!!

I will keep you updated on packing progress this week. I have to go to my “storehouse” of donations that people have given me and prioritize what is most needed this year. Since students from West Vancouver Secondary will not be travelling to Nicaragua this year, I have much less space available. Without their most valuable help, my volume of donations is very much reduced.

Welcome to TASK and a HUGE Thank You!

Posted January 6, 2010 by carrollairey
Categories: TASK

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the new blog for Take A Stand for Kids (TASK). First, I must extend a HUGE THANK YOU to the Librarians Without Borders (LWB) Student Committee at the School of Library, Archival & Information Studies (SLAIS) at the University of British Columbia for taking an interest in helping TASK by creating this blog.

Carroll preparing for her presentation to Librarians Without Borders at UBC in February 2009

A very special thank you goes out to one of the students, Samantha Sinanan, who contacted me after CoDevelopment Canada’s 2008 annual fundraising dinner where I received their International Solidarity Award. Without her inquisitiveness and activism, I would never have had the fortune to learn about UBC’s Librarians Without Borders group and to be invited to make a presentation about Take A Stand for Kids for them February 23, 2009. In addition, I would especially like to thank Kate Sloan who developed the weblog, Will Engle who provided me with great instructions for using it, and all the other members of LWB who have taken an interest in TASK and are helping with the fundraising efforts. All your help is VERY MUCH appreciated.

I am now entering my 12th year of working for children and their families in Nicaragua. I am constantly amazed at the power of children—whether it be the students in my Grade 5 class who started me on this journey or the potential of the children I work for in Nicaragua. I have always believed that children need to be given the opportunity to grow, to learn, to express their ideas, to be given the chance to develop their creative talents, to follow their passions. These are still the beliefs I hold onto for the children of Santa Rosa del Peñon, Nicaragua.

From that first year following Hurricane Mitch in late 1998, in helping the children in my Grade 5 class who wanted to make a difference, I have never lost the drive they instilled in me to not just talk about a problem but to take action to try and do something.

Carroll and her Grade 5 class

I am constantly reminded of their enthusiasm and determination to help the child victims of that gigantic and destructive hurricane. I continue to work with that enthusiasm and determination to try to make a difference for the children and their families in Santa Rosa del Peñon, Nicaragua.

With THANKS once again to the Librarians Without Borders Student Committee at the University of British Columbia, I am now able to share my story and my work with a much wider audience.

I am looking forward to adding more pages to this weblog and will be submitting additional posts to keep you up to date on the activities of Take A Stand for Kids. I welcome any comments about this weblog and its content.

Welcome to Take A Stand For Kids

Posted May 13, 2009 by carrollairey
Categories: Uncategorized

My name is Carroll Airey and I am the founder of Take a Stand for Kids (aka TASK), a series of community development projects in the village of Santa Rosa del Penon, Nicaragua. I travel to Nicaragua to visit the community at least once a year. You can view the pages on this blog to learn more about TASK and keep abreast of current projects. Stay tuned for news on projects, fund raising and travelogues.