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Dinner, donations help rural villagers in Nicaragua

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 | Posted by

Student volunteers from Sonoma Valley High School work on a learning center in rural Nicaragua through the Seeds of Learning program. (Photo courtesy of Seeds of Learning)

A group of Sonoma Valley High School students is looking for a little help so they can help others.

A benefit dinner is planned for Thursday (Feb. 28) at the Community Café, 875 W. Napa St., to raise funds for a Seeds of Learning humanitarian trip to Nicaragua.

Seatings are at 6, 6:30 and 7 p.m.

Volunteers take a break from construction to pose for a photo.

The donation for the Nicaraguan-theme dinner is $25 at the door.

In addition, Anna Robles is collecting school supplies and hygiene items to bring to impoverished Nicaraguans as part of her senior project.

Crayons, coloring books, pencils, sharpeners and other school supplies are needed, along with toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, Band-Aids and other personal hygiene products.

Donations can be dropped off at Broadway Market, 20511 Broadway, from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily or to St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 16290 Arnold Drive, between 8:30 a.m. and noon on Sundays.

Students will spend spring break in a small village in rural Nicaragua working on the construction of a school. Robles traveled last year with Seeds of Learning and decided to focus her senior project on her efforts to help Nicaraguans.

“Last year we started the construction of a learning center in a small village called Asiento Viejo. I made Nicaraguan friends that I still am in contact with via Facebook and talk to often,” Robles said.

“I loved the trip so much and wanted to help even more than I did last year so I decided to make my senior project about it.”

Robles plans to take photos to document the country’s struggles and its need for assistance.

Seeds of Learning is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving educational opportunities in rural Latin America. It works to build and equip schools in Nicaragua and El Salvador, educate children and adults and promote cross-cultural understanding.

Its U.S. office is located in Sonoma, with field offices in Ciudad Darío and Matagalpa, Nicaragua, as well as San Salvador, El Salvador.

Each year, Seeds of Learning sends ten to 16 volunteer work groups Central America. Volunteers spend between seven and 12 days working with communities in Nicaragua or El Salvador.

While there, volunteers partner with communities, form relationships, build bridges and explore each others’ cultures while erecting or improving a school building.

Since its inception in 1991, Seeds of Learning has constructed or remodeled 152 classrooms in 55 communities; built and repaired several thousand school desks and furnishings and developed three Learning Resource Centers.

More than 2,440 work group volunteers have assisted in Central America as part of Seeds of Learning.

For more information, call 939-0471.

 — Dianne Reber Hart

Writer Spotlight

Dianne Reber Hart is our Sonoma correspondent.

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