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Union County Early College students help abandoned children of Peru

Freshmen students, Andrew Giles and Joshua Dieguez, both part of Walbruch’s class, speak to the students about the first opportunity to help children in Peru – a class penny war.

“They come without birth certificates bearing their name, just a brief story of tragedy and neglect. Burned in a crib, left on a doorstep, or nearly drowned by a mentally unstable mother, all of the children at Hogar Belen carry their horrific nightmares as their only credentials.”

These comments were made by Neale Bayly, a photojournalist who travels extensively around the world as part of his job. He was talking about orphans in Peru. Bayly spoke to Union County Early College students Wednesday, April 25, 2012. He was introduced to a class of Early College students last school year through teacher Melissa Cook. The students heard how Bayly’s life was changed during a motorcycle adventure ride through Peru in 1996.

Bayly met Father Gio and learned of his work with the poor and needy in some of the more remote parts of the country. After Father Gio’s death in 2001, Bayly stayed in touch with the work through Father Gio’s sister, Maria Fitzgerald. In 2008 the pair traveled to Peru to provide medical care to the orphaned children.

This trip resulted in the formation of Wellspring International Outreach, a non-profit organization whose mission, according to their website, is to help support sister Loretta and the children of Hogar Belen Orphanage in Moquegua, Peru.

This year the students of Nathan Walbruch’s Global Awareness class, consisting of 14 students, wanted to do something tangible for the children in Peru. Bayly spoke to the class earlier in the year and the students have organized several events to help support the orphaned children in Peru.

“The kids really wanted to help with Bayly’s work. They chose the project and they really got on fire and they came up with a bunch of different ideas,” Walbruch said.

Bayly recently returned to the school to speak to the entire student body and staff. “My job is cool, what I do is great, but I think what is the most important thing is you guys. You’re the next generation of people that will be making decisions in this country. Your morals, values and judgments will shape the way this country is going,” he said.

“One of the most exciting things to me is watching you guys, seeing how excited you are…and the efforts that you are putting forward to help us raise money for them,” he added.

Freshmen students, Andrew Giles and Joshua Dieguez, both part of Walbruch’s class, spoke to the students about the first opportunity to help – a class penny war.

“These kids are practically living off the minimal amount they need to survive. One of the stats that really surprised me was that it takes little to give a child food for a day. It only takes 35 cents to feed a child for one day,” Dieguez told the students.

Whichever class collects the most money will receive a prize from the school. The Global Awareness class has set a goal of $800. This will feed 100 children for approximately 23 days.

In another activity, organized by Walbruch’s class to help the children in Peru, there will be a special photography day. Bayly is returning to the school later in May and since he is a professional photographer, students will be able to have a portrait made for a small donation of only $2.

Giles said, “You are going to get all of your pictures and he is really good at photography. All of these are going to be professional quality.”

“This rising generation yearns for more than reality TV and instant gratification. They yearn for something more than just being American; they yearn for being citizens of the world,” Walbruch added.

At the end of the assembly, Walbruch challenged the grades to sacrifice a snack, French fries at lunch, something today and donate to the penny jars for their class and the penny wars began. Students of all grades began to empty their pockets of spare change and bills to help fill the jars.

“I think the primary message is that we can do a lot with so little. We can give a little of our money and a little of our time and make a lot of difference, and I think the ultimate beneficiaries can be ourselves, because there is a lot of joy in giving,” Bayly said.

For more information about Wellspring International Outreach and to learn how you can help the children in Moquegua, visit their website. To have Bayly come speak to your school, you may contact him through the “Contact Us” link on their website.

The following video is from Wellspring International Outreach.

Written by: Don Mace, UCPS Web Communications Coordinator
Posted: Apr 27, 2012 by Don Mace

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