Ecuador Service Wrap-Up and What's Next
- Written by Jennifer Hays
In October 2013, Rotaract members Stephanie Graham and Janine Kolbeck traveled to Ecuador to volunteer with El Refugio de los Suenos, an after school program that serves children who live in the slums of Quito. For a recap of their trip, click.
Stephanie and Janine spent a week at the Refugio, playing with the kids and helping out around the Refugio in any way they were needed. One of the special activities they did with the children was bake chocolate chip cookies, which many of the kids got to try for the first time.
. In Year One, we plan an international service trip so our members can learn about the issue firsthand. While traveling overseas to volunteer can be very costly, it is a unique and transformational experience that will ultimately help our members to become better global citizens.
We strive to pick an issue that best reflects our membership's interest and through which our service efforts can have a measurable impact. In 2013-2014, Supporting Education was our area of focus. El Refugio provides a safe place for children who live in the slums of Quito to spend time after school. They receive meals, a safe place to do their homework, and vocational training.
Once we have selected an issue, we begin to look for a nonprofit organization that is working on the issue at the grassroots level. When selecting an organization to work with, it is important to find a group that has the capacity to host a small group of volunteers and has ties with a local Rotary chapter. El Refugio fit both of these criteria. They regularly host volunteer groups, so we knew our visit would not be disruptive to their work. Furthermore, El Refugio has ties with the Rotary Club of Quito, as well as Rotary clubs in the United States.
In early 2014, Janine and Stephanie gave a presentation to the Rotaract club on their trip and as a group we discussed how to best help El Refugio going forward. We decided to raise funds to support El Refugio's expansion efforts.
On May 30, 2014, we headed to AJ Bomber's to make drinks and sell raffle tickets. AJ's has amazing burgers, shakes, and a great Bloody Mary. They also have free all-you-can eat peanuts to complement their tasty menu items.
We took turns getting behind the bar to make the Quito Crush (vodka cranberry). Thanks to AJ Bomber's generosity, all the sales of the Quito Crush went directly to our cause! We also sold raffle tickets for some cool prizes!
Many thanks to AJ Bomber's and all the other organizations that donated items for our raffle! There were a lot of generous people at AJ Bomber's that night because we sold quite a few raffle tickets.
Our 2015 fundraiser will be at AJ Bombers on Friday, March 13, 2015. If you want to support our international service efforts, all you have to do is show up to AJ Bomber's for Happy Hour, order our drink special, and buy some raffle tickets for awesome prizes. Bring your friends!
Sporting our Campaign for Quito T-Shirts!
On June 6, 2014, we partnered with the
Zumbathon: Getting in shape to support the kids at El Refugio