It takes a lot of drops to fill a bucket of water. Volunteer Groups are a huge part of Holy Cross Anglican School, we are so lucky to have so many great people come help fill our bucket in so many ways.
Thanks goes out to Volunteer Mission Teams from:
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Durham
North Carolina Christ Church in Easton
Maryland St. Matthew's, Pacific Palisades
CaliforniaSt. Peter’s by the Sea, Swansboro
NC Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Spokane
Duke University Holy Trinity Yellowknife, Canada
St. Michael's, Bon Air, Virginia
St. John's, Lynchburg, VA
All Saint's, Fort Worth, TX
Christ Church, Dallas, Texas
Trinity Church, Columbus, GA
St. Andrew's, Newport News, VA
Each group has contributed to the construction process volunteered in the classroom and assisted with the Feeding Program. In addition they have brought much needed school supplies, children’s books, many smiles and countless hugs. Thank you one and all.
Here are some bits from some of the volunteer’s stories about their experience at Holy Cross Anglican School.
Ralph Schmidt from the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Spokane.
This morning at 8 am we departed for San Pedro via water taxi, a nice ride. Weather is in the mid 70s. We arrived at Holy Cross School just as they were having a snack of orange slices. The school serves breakfast, a snack and lunch. Many of the children would have only one meal or less if it were not for the school. Francis Wilson, school founder, administrator, and fund raiser, had us go to all of the classrooms where we were introduced and had the children greet us. There is a real mixture of ages in a class because they are assigned based upon ability rather than age. For example, there was a 12 year old in the first grade. Yesterday was a rainy day and only 10 students out of an enrolment of 148 showed up for class. It is expected that activity will come to a drastic slowdown on a rainy day. It is hard to believe that anything gets done as it rains constantly this time of year. However, many locals say they cannot remember such a wet year. Most of the students are from immigrant families from other Central American countries who serve a thriving tourist industry constructing buildings, filling service positions and other grunt labor. Some of the housing is the worst that I have ever seen; dilapidated housing on stilts in a yard full of water. In other words, they live in a swamp with discarded boards for sidewalks. It is these people who serve the tourists. Catherine said that she has never seen anything this bad in the Philippines or other Caribbean countries she has visited. Historically, San Pedro has been a sleepy fishing village. Today it rapidly becoming a world class destination resort area, as it is less than a mile from North America's barrier reef with its prime underwater sights.
The following reflection written by the Rev. Julie Bryant from St. Matthew's, Pacific Palisades, California.
Throughout the school, the children were curious about the video camera I was using to record their comings and goings, and their lessons. I would film for a bit, then turn the screen around and replay the tape so they could delight in themselves. Many of them wanted to audition for ‘American Idol,’ and a number of the others stuck poses a la Wrestle mania. The rest were shy, barely allowing me to catch them on film. When I took the camera into the Special Education classroom, a curious thing happened. Emily stood up from the desk as I came in, holding out a small palm tree for me to admire, then noticed the camera. She stepped around to my side and saw her familiar classroom on the screen. Without hesitation, she stepped around in front of me again, and began showing the palm tree to the camera rather than to me. I flipped the screen so she could see herself, and watched as she learned a new thing. It took her just a few seconds to notice that the lens and screen were separate, and to place herself in the camera’s sightline, while watching herself on the screen out of the corner of her eye. She tried a few facial expressions, then began to move her hands and arms in a beautiful dance, finally turning her whole body away, then her head only back around to gaze at herself from behind.
Margaret - St. Peter's by the Sea in Swansboro, North Carolina.
I wish I could relay every person’s individual experiences because I know we all had our “aha” moments. These kids have so little, but they always come to school cleanly scrubbed, with clean uniforms, bright smiles and eager expressions. One of our team members, Rose, pretty much said it for us all. “…the children blessed me. We went there to bless them and the reverse happened. I want to go back.” Speaking of one child in particular, Yosselin, she said, “…she stole my heart. They all did – all 175 of them. I am missing those tender hugs and kisses and smiles!!” We look forward to next year.
Mrs. Wilson, My name is Madeleine and I was privileged enough to travel as a youth representative with John McHenry and the rest of the St. Michael's Mission team to San Pedro this past April. I know this email is far overdue, but better late than never, right? I wanted to write to tell you what a life-changing experience working with the Holy Cross children was. They are the most beautiful, loving, hilariously funny, inspiring children I have ever met. Each day at Vacation Bible School I was continually amazed at the things they did. They instilled a change in me that I'm sure will last forever. My eyes were opened to a whole new world, outside of high school stress and friends back home. I feel blessed to have experienced this at 15 years old. I would love nothing more than to return to San Pedro next year for Spring Break! You are a true inspiration to me and the other four teens, Ellen, Hannah, David, and John. Your perseverance throughout the process of starting the Holy Cross School was amazing. The lives you have saved and hearts you have healed are countless. Hopefully, I will be able to bring a positive change to the world as much as you and Mr. Wilson have. I wear the cross you gave us everyday and it reminds me of the children. It also reminds me that there is so much in the world and even as a teenager, I have the power to help repair what is damaged. I can be a grain of sand that makes up the beach.
P.S.- I plan on sending some great pictures we took, as soon as I can find my camera