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Cape students prepare for mission to Guatemala

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Cape students prepare for mission to Guatemala

CAPE ELIZABETH — Middle School Spanish teacher Susan Dana will lead a group of Cape Elizabeth High School students and five adults to Guatemala to volunteer for Safe Passage on June 20.

Safe Passage is a non-profit organization that provides educational and medical support for children living in poverty in the Guatemala City dump. The 19 students are freshman, sophomores and juniors and will be accompanied by Cape Elizabeth community members and teachers.

Dana said the support team formed last summer, and has been working throughout the year to earn money to donate to Safe Passage. The team has also created projects to share with the children when they travel to Guatemala.

They will teach the children playground games such as Four Square and Hopscotch – fun activities that will not cost a lot of money to replicate, Dana said. The goal is to teach the children the games in English, teach them to count, and to play with others in a structured way.

"These games will teach the children about cooperation, how to lose and win, how to play with others," she said. "These are familiar qualities to us, but these children don't have strong family structures and are not taught to play structured games. We take it for granted."

The other project is to create a book called "Soy Yo," Dana said. The team will take pictures of each child, interview them, and have them illustrate each page as they tell a story about themselves. As the child reads the book to the volunteer, they learn English and receive individual instruction.

So far, Dana said the team has raised about $5,200 to donate to Safe Passage. They would like to raise $6,000. They have a Clynk bottle redemption account, Flatbread Pizza Co. hosted a fundraiser for the group, and the team had a Spanish-a-thon and held a babysitting fundraiser to raise the money.

Dana said the team will hold a bottle drive on Saturday, June 5, behind Town Hall from 9-11:30 a.m. and the Lions Club agreed to donate about $400 to the team for their help with Family Fun Day activities.

The group will be in Guatemala from June 20-28.

"The Cape community has been so supportive, I really want to thank everyone who has supported us and made donations," Dana said. "It is so important for our young people to have these experiences, to have an opportunity to see another side of life. It is difficult, it is emotional but it will be an experience that will shape who they become."

For more information, to donate or volunteer for the Safe Passage support team, contact Dana at susan_dana@cape.k12.me.us.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net