Part of Safe Passage founder Hanley Denning's legacy is our strong relationship with many wonderful institutions in the United States, including her alma mater, Bowdoin College. Many both short- and long-term volunteers here in Guatemala are Bowdoin students or graduates. One superstar example from this year was the Bowdoin Student and Alumni team.
While Bowdoin has sent Alternative Spring Break student teams since 2003, this was the second time Bowdoin alums participated with current students. The alumni team was comprised of nine alumni ranging in graduating class from 1959 to 2009, from backgrounds in medicine, science, and special education (to name a few!). They brought with them some hands-on projects in physics and nutrition for our older students, teaching them to think critically and practice their math and science skills.
First, team members taught students to build different models of paper airplanes, test them, and modify their design for optimal flight. The next day, in their second experiment, the team showed the same students how to use graph paper to measure the fat content of different types of potato chips and compare their results. Students were challenged in their ability to create tables, take averages, and graph their results. The students learned a lot, but the biggest highlight for them, and for the team, was how much fun they had getting to know each other!
The Bowdoin Student and Alumni Team also spent a day assisting in the Escuelita, lending a hand to the needs of our youngest learners. It was the highest-energy day of the trip, full of giggles, paints, crayons, imaginary play, and piggy back rides. Team members played all day and helped our teachers spread their attention to the children's many needs.
The Bowdoin students and alums undoubtedly kept Hanley's spirit alive in their week at Safe Passage. They gave the students their all, and the students returned the gift with warm affection and a renewed understanding of the value of their education. Thank you, Bowdoin team members!
Support Team Coordinator