More successful trips -- 2015, 2016, and now Pete White's 63rd trip to Nicaragua -- August 2017! There is still time to join!
From June 4-10, 2014, Friends' directors, members and veterans undertook another very successful working trip to Nicaragua. The trip focused on housebuilding and the Field of Dreams project, and travelers included many new Friends' members and their families. For details on that trip and photos, please have a look at our Facebook page!
From Apr. 8-15, 2013, led by veterans Pete White, Dick Wiltamuth, Kate Shreck and Bill Ofenloch, eight members of Friends made a successful trip to Nicaragua. They brought $32,000 with them, mostly from donations from Friends' contributors. These funds were used to construct nine much needed houses in Chacraseca, to purchase animals, and to continue the almost-completed clean water project in Nuevo Amanecer. The eight member group worked on construction of two of the nine houses, had important meetings with Conchita Ojeda and other Nicaraguan community leaders about the progress of Friends' many projects, and Dr. Andrew Longley, the water expert from Great Britain who is heading up the clean water effort, which involved bringing potable, arsenic-free water from half way up the volcano Telica, down to four towns where several hundred families in Nuevo Amanecer and surrounding towns will benefit. They also met with former Northporter John Coronna who gave them a tour of the Leon neighborhood of Subtiava where he built a beautiful park and ball field for the poor indigineous residents there. Friends hopes to use John's park as a model for one they're planning in Chacraseca. Thanks to all who contributed and remain interested in this important work.
Chacraseca Housing Initiative Project (CHIP)
Friends and Students have begun working toward our goal of building 100 homes to replace unsafe, unsanitary dwellings throughout the comarca of Chacraseca. These groups have been building dozens of homes in Chacraseca comarca for many years, but CHIP will greatly accelerate the process.
Beginning in 2010, the first 22 homes were built including those funded by a $6,000 matching grant provided by the S.G. Foundation of Buellton, California. During 2011 and 2012 an additional 35 houses were built. The homes currently cost about $2200 each with a latrine and a floor. During the spring of 2012, Friends received great news -- we had been approved for a $10,000 grant from SG Foundation in Buellton, CA. The purpose of the grant, authored by Friends' member Dick Wiltamuth, is to construct 11 new, sturdy houses in Chacraseca, Nicaragua that would replace unsafe, dilapidated houses, or provide decent shelter for homeless families.
The SG Foundation committed to provide matching funds of $10,000, contingent on Friends raising the initial $10,000. Friends is proud to announce that after communicating with a number of supporters and Northport High School’s Students for 60000, the task of raising that sum has been achieved. We salute the following extremely generous donors whose contributions will be matched by the SG Foundation:
Students for 60000 fundraising efforts, Bergman Family Foundation, Class of 2002 alumna Christine Dragone, Class of 1982 alumnus Peter Thomas, Class of 1982 alumnus Louise Millmann, Friends member Bill Ofenloch, Friends member Pete White, Friends members Millie and Morty Willen, Friends supporter Betsy Manning, Class of 1982 alumna Antoinette Knabl. Many thanks to all of you.
With the SG Foundation providing the $10,000 matching grant, the sum of $20,000is being put to work in Nicaragua. Each house, which will come with a latrine and floor, today costs approximately $2200. The families that receive houses will be required to pay a fixed sum a month for a period of four years, or about 25% of the total. The housing will be built and managed by Asociación San Isidro, the Nicaraguan Not-for-Profit group with whom both Friends and Students for 60000 have worked.
Latest news flash! Friends of SF60K was approved and successfullly raised funds for a THIRD matching ("challenge") grant from the SG Foundation for homebuilding in Chacraseca!! We were able to make this $12,000 matching grant a reality! Thanks to all who support our work to help the extremely poor.
FIELD OF DREAMS
Work has begun on the "Parque Hermana Juanita/Field of Dreams" recreational park for Chacrasecan children and young people in sore need of recreation! So far, we've accomplished a lot toward creating this multi-use recreational park/sports field: leveling over half of the 12 acres, packing down the land with steam rollers, building a system to carry rainwater off during heavy rainy seasons from the baseball and soccer fields to the roadway below, and the construction of a sturdy steel backstop.
The aims of this project are to provide a sorely-needed recreational venue for the youth of Chacraseca, Nicaragua, and to hold games to attract players and crowds from the nearby city of Leon. This project was the dream of Chacraseca community leader Paulino Martinez. In 2009, seven acres of land were purchased for $17,500 by Friends and Students near the Alberto Barrios School complex in Chacraseca for the development of a modern-style baseball field. The entire cost for the project, including field, backstop, bleachers, dugouts, etc. is estimated at $100,000. The park has been named in memory of Sister Joan and her lifelong contribution to the people of Chacraseca.
Friends is hopeful that this project will empower people to turn their dream of better recreational and commercial opportunities into reality.
Nuevo Amanecer Water Project
A longstanding project and dream is coming to fruition -- water for Nuevo Amanecer! This is Friends of Students for 60,000 largest ongoing project to date, and brings potable water for the first time to more than 300 families located in three isolated, impoverished communities. So far, Friends has funded more than $30,000 out of the $80,000 contributed to this water project.
Nuevo Amanecer is a 300-member community built entirely through the efforts of Students for 60,000. The challenge there has always been water, water for irrigation and most importantly, pure drinkable water for the community. A well was dug and built, through the efforts of Friends and Students. However, the well had to close due to arsenic contamination, and for several years water was trucked to the community as an emergency provision, a cumbersome and costly measure also provided by Friends and Students. Since prior to 2008, Friends' members George Pardo, Bill Ofenloch, Mike Cipoletti, Dick Wiltamuth, Pete White, Jim Zima, Shari Kornblatt, and many others have been working on the water issue.
Friends received a grant of $23,000 for water assistance from the lovino Family Foundation in 2007 and used a little more than half of it to upgrade Nuevo's water system, after many good but unsustainable attempts to improve the situation by student and alumni groups. Two storage tanks were erected, and wider pipes, necessary for bringing water to the houses most distant from the well, were installed, among other improvements. However, the problems of the diesel generator system failing and arsenic levels rising continued. With the remaining lovino funds of approximately $10,000, a grant from PECO, a Philadelphia utility company, and an additional $5,000 from a grant from Liquidnet Corp., Friends acquired $25,000 to use to solve these problems.
Finally, a new system is nearly in place, thanks to the joint efforts of Friends, the Municipality of Telica, and the British not-for-profit Nuevas Esperanzas. Nuevas Esperanzas, a Leon-based nonprofit led by English hydrologist Dr. Andrew Longley, is providing the technical expertise in this project. Phase 1 of this new system involves again providing water for washing, bathing and agriculture to Nuevo and adjoining communities including La Union. Friends provided $28,500 for Phase 1, including funding a $3000 feasibility study. Phase 2 involved attempts to filter arsenic and other contaminants from the water. Phase 3, which will be completed this spring 2013, involves bringing clean drinkable water from springs high atop the Telica volcano. Friends contributed $3000 from our Walkathon toward the final $10,000 required to complete this project. Students for 60000 and Friends NE provided additional sums to reach the Phase 3 goal, so that the brave, patient people of the town which we built together and their neighbors will finally have water!
"Project Hope" suppers for the local needy
Friends has been a generous contributor to Huntington's Project Hope's monthly Sunday suppers, organized by Friends' member Carol Werblin. The following is a letter from Carol regarding the March 17, 2013 Supper:
Dear Friends of HOPE-
Thanks to all of our dedicated friends and supporters, we were able to serve over 175 guests a wonderful St Patrick’s Day supper, sponsored by the Friends of Students for 60K, (who contributed time and funds from the Walkathon proceeds toward this evening and several additional dinners). Our chef, Alan Zox, cooked up a fabulous dinner of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots, and our soup chefs, Nanci and Jen, served split pea soup. We rounded out our dinner with delicious Irish soda bread, donated by Copenhagen Bakery. While our guests ate, they were entertained by dancers from the Petri School of Irish Step Dancing. Special thanks to our Temple Beth El kitchen staff and to the Students for 60K, who were our ‘volunteers of the day’!
Together we are making a difference!
Carol* and Sue
*See this article for a wonderful profile of member Carol Werblin and her humanitarian actions: http://www.northshoreoflongisland.com/Articles-News-i-2012-12-27-94735.112114-sub-Repairing-a-community-with-selfless-service.html
Walk for the Poor, Hungry and Homeless
October 2012 --- In the fall of 1968 a large group of Northport High School students, led and inspired by late Social Studies teacher and Chairperson Dick Streb,
walked 25 miles from the high school parking lot to Port Jefferson Village to raise funds for the starving of Biafra. Those efforts contributed to a world-wide campaign to help ease the suffering of millions. Many Northport students began their involvement in social issues that year. Friends of Students for 60,000, honoring that 1968 walk, sponsored a very successful Walk for the Poor, Hungry and Homeless from Port Jefferson Village to East Northport on October 28, 2012, to aid in our efforts to help the needy. Thanks to member and alumnus Bob Hodum, a participant in the original walk, for creating and organizing the walk project!
- Friends introduced our regularly-appearing online newsletters to connect with our supporters and raise awareness of our organization's goals and projects.
November 2011, 2012 - The Friends' holiday postcard campaign, begun in 2010, focused attention on the needs of the poor in Nicaragua, specifically for nutrition, education, and safe housing. The postcard campaign brought in over $4000 in donations for specific projects to help break the vicious cycle of poverty.
November 2011 - Friends presented the first annual Central American Film Festival at the Huntington Cinema Arts Centre, to raise awareness of poverty in Central America and issues facing migrants from poverty, along with publicizing Friends and its projects.
Fall 2011 - Friends provided a substantial donation to assist several families in upstate New York victim to post-Hurricane Irene devastating floods.
July 2011 - Friends raised and contributed a donation of $4000 toward the completion of the water project for Nuevo Amanecer, Nicaragua.
2010 - Among many other ongoing projects, Friends funded a wide-ranging study of sustainable agriculture and the Comedor project in Chacraseca, Nicaragua, with the goal of further improving childhood nutrition and agricultural yield.
August 2009 - Friends received a matching grant of $6,000 from the SG Foundation in Buellton, Calif., toward its housing initiative in Chacraseca. SG required that Friends raise $6,000 on its own to benefit the project. It was particularly heartwarming to see all the modest checks that went toward this matching grant challenge -- so many people giving hope to the poor. We honor the work that donors have been doing. In 2009, seven houses were built.
Spring 2009 - The inauguration of the Friends-sponsored annual Richard Streb Memorial Award given to deserving high school graduating seniors who best demonstrate citizen activism, scholarship, and "a good heart for the poor." The scholarship has been given annually since 2009 to outstanding young humanitarians.
In January 2009, Friends joined Students for 60,000 to contribute $5,000 toward completion of the historic clean-water project for the 9,000 residents of Chacraseca, Nicaragua. The half-million-dollar effort, mostly funded by civic and nonprofit organizations in Austria, ran short by approximately $50,000. Upon being notified of the deficit by Rev. Leslie Penrose of Just Hope in Tulsa, Okla., Friends and students paid 10% of the shortfall, with each group contributing $2,500. The project was completed and was inaugurated on Aug. 2, 2009.
In November 2008, we hosted the Friends Fall Fete, a dinner gala held at the Thatched Cottage in Centerport, N.Y. The event was attended by 50 people and, with auctions and other contributions, raised nearly $5,000. At the fete, Friends recognized and honored six local supermarkets with handsome plaques for their many years of cooperating with Students for 60,000s holiday Tootsie Roll fund-raising activities. Club alumna Kristi Lalor chaired the successful event. Students for 60,000 matched proceeds from the dinner and distributed the donations to outreach centers, food pantries, children with illnesses, and families of victims of hate crimes. Recipients include the Granger family of East Northport, Community Food Council in Huntington Station, Pronto in Huntington Station, Project Hope in Huntington Station, St. Anthony of Padua Parish Outreach in East Northport, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish Outreach in Centerport, the Tri-Community Youth Agency in Huntington Station and the family of slain immigrant Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue.
In August 2008, at the request of Friends member Marie Baldwin, Friends contributed $300 to the Backpacks for Success program in Huntington. The program provides backpacks and school supplies for needy children.
In February 2008, Friends collaborated with Students for 60,000 to bring electricity to remote Nuevo Amanecer, Nicaragua, for the first time. Solar panels were installed in the community center, which now has nine lights and two outlets for small appliances like radio and television. The center, or casa comunal, is the largest buildlng there, and the solar installation by a company based in Managua opens new possibilities after the sun goes down. These include reading, holding meetings and watching movies, something the children of Nuevo had never seen. In March 2008, Friends members Millie and Morty Willen traveled to Nicaragua and donated a television and DVD player, which the children and adults have been watching regularly. In February 2009, we learned that three teachers from Chacraseca, led by Rosa Ojeda, travel to Nuevo weekly (about one hour north by jeep) to conduct adult literacy lessons. A substantial number of young adults, most of whom were illiterate, participate and the program is very successful. They use the community center for these lessons. Friends member Shari Kornblatts group at James Madison University funded this literacy program.
In January 2008, Friends provided the Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative with $897 for buying coats, boots, gloves and underwear for area day laborers.