While many kids spend summer taking a much-deserved break, immersing themselves in swimming and reading and Pokemon Go, some Mackintosh Littleton students found the time to give back to the larger community. Here are some highlights that students shared with us about their service experiences last summer in the U.S. and abroad.
Lila, an 8th grader, completed Outward Bound Costa Rica’s Scuba & Sea Turtle Adventure Destination. On this 14-day course, she volunteered in Panama in conservation efforts to protect endangered sea turtles and explored coral reefs while learning to scuba dive. Lila participated in a multi-day service project in the wetlands on the Caribbean coast of Panama to help the endangered leatherback sea turtle population. Her group then traveled to the remote island of Solarte, located in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, where they learned about the local ecology and marine life and scuba dived. After completing and passing the NAUI Open Water Certification training, Lila and her course mates are all now scuba certified. “My best memory of this course was drinking coconut water (cut by a machete and from the coconut) while laughing with friends on the beach late at night,” Lila said.
Fiona, a third grader, decided that she wanted to support a clean water project in Kenya. She gave a presentation at an adult Sunday school on the challenges people can face in accessing clean water and how that can impact the ability of girls to attend school. Fiona’s original goal was to earn $10, which would have raised enough money for one clean water kit – but through her presentation and by selling her drawings over social media and at an outdoor stand, she raised enough to buy a whole well. This well supports 159 students and their teachers in Kenya in having access to clean, safe drinking water in their school. Fiona said, “My two favorite parts were drawing the pictures and hearing how many people I gave clean water. When I heard how many people I helped, I felt proud of what I did.”
7th grader B. traveled with his church to a work in the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma for a week. Oklahoma is one of the hungriest states in the nation, and the food banks distribute 68.6 million pounds of food per year. B. and his companions packed, labeled and weighed 27 pound boxes for distribution to families. They also bagged potatoes and worked in the food bank’s gardens. B. was willing to get his hands dirty for the cause! He said, “The first day there were hundreds of bags of leaves that had been stored for a year. We had to put into piles for compost. Some of the leaves were wet and rotted. When you opened the bags, you would get wet and gross. Once I was wet, I just decided to get really gross.” As a large operation, the Regional Food Bank brings in thousands of volunteers each year; B.’s church group was selected as top volunteer group for the quarter.
7th grader Aidan traveled to Costa Rica with Education First to volunteer. While in Costa Rica, Aidan’s group of 17 Denver area middle schoolers visited a school and gave them some much needed supplies and spent some time with the students. They also helped plant trees in the mountains to help with the deforestation issue. Before leaving for Costa Rica, the group served at a local horse rescue facility, cleaning stables. Aidan said, “To help pay for the trip, I walked dogs, did yard work and chores around the house, asked for donations in place of presents for Christmas from family. I also held a garage sale and made over $300 selling my stuff. Letting go of my stuff was the hardest part.”
Mackintosh students are never at a loss for ideas on how they can contribute to their community. Whether on or off campus, Mack students embody the profile of open-minded, caring, principled global citizens.
~ by Kristi Holmes Espineira, Director of Advancement, Mack Littleton