In December we announced the first UBELONG Fund Holiday Drive to collect funds and materials to be donated to our caregiving and education projects in South America. The reception we received far exceeded our expectations; people from throughout the United States kindly supported the drive.
Highlights of our drive, stemming from either material or financial donations, included:
- Over 25 children’s books in English and Spanish ranging from coloring books for toddlers to short stories for young adults.
- Interactive educational workbooks with DVDs for children of all ages.
- Children’s board games, dolls and toys.
- A suitcase full of children and adult clothes.
- English books, which will be used in adult education programs.
- Boxes of coloring pens and crayons, as well as other arts and crafts supplies.
- Educational flash cards, posters, maps and other miscellaneous materials.
In January UBELONG Founder Cedric Hodgeman was in Peru and personally delivered some of the materials to our projects in Lima and Cusco. Cedric will deliver more materials in Quito, Ecuador in March and, as tentatively planned, in Huancayo, Peru in May.
The contributors came from many backgrounds. There were students and young professionals from Washington, DC and New York City, as well as older individuals from various other parts of the United States. Most were former, current or future UBELONG volunteers, although a few were simply inspired by our mission. We had the opportunity to speak to one of these individuals, Doris Kan, a young entrepreneur from New York City and a former school classmate of Cedric. We asked Doris about her motivations in donating to the drive. She explained that while she has not joined a UBELONG program, “I have travelled to many of the locations where UBELONG offers projects and wanted to keep the spirit of my being there alive by making a contribution that would support UBELONG’s activities there.” Reflecting our commitment to work on a grassroots level, she noted, “It’s important that it was hand-delivered by the UBELONG co-founders so that the kids could get the materials directly from them. I knew my donation was ending up in the right hands.”
To those of you who who donated to the drive, from all of us at UBELONG and on behalf of all of those who are benefiting from your donations, we want to thank you. You inspire us and provide us with the support we need to fulfill our mission.