January 23, 2012
My wife and I spent two days this fall at St. Bonaventure Mission and School--a charity we have contributed to for many years. We spent most of our time in the school. We are both professional educators and can attest to the high quality of education provided in the school. All of the children are provided with free breakfast and lunch as well as school supplies and transportation door-to-door from their homes. Door-to-door transportation is very important to assuring that these children are able to attend school regularly. We rode the school bus to take students home and we can personally attest to the level of need in the region. However, we also observed that this is a close-knit community. A number of the staff at the school are members of this community, so the school also provides much-needed employment opportunities (e.g. teachers, aides, fund raising staff, drivers, cooks) in an area of high unemployment. Thanks to donors, the school is generally well equipped, however many things considered as givens in schools in more prosperous areas are considered to be luxuries at St. Bonaventure. For example, we found that the middle school science classroom was well equipped with microscopes, but many were in need of repair and no funds were available. Science texts had to be shared and could not be taken home for study because of a shortage of books which are only funded by the state every few years. Supplies and equipment for special needs children are also in short supply. The school is very efficient getting the most benefit from every dollar contributed. We believe our donations are put to very good use at St. Benaventure.
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