Welcome Water for South Sudan to Global Read Aloud Gives Back #GRA17

I am so excited to give more details on the charity that I have chosen as this year’s partner for Global Read Aloud.  Much like last year, this is a voluntary part of the GRA, where you can choose to raise money for this charity if you would like as part of your experience.

To learn more about WFSS, please read this:

Water for South Sudan was founded in 2003 by former “Lost Boy” of Sudan, Salva Dut in Rochester, NY.  WFSS has been drilling wells in South Sudan since 2005 and has drilled 304 wells as of May, 2017. We have an Operations Center in Wau, South Sudan, managed by our local team. Our Country Directors are also former “Lost Boys” of Sudan, and, like Salva, are dual US-South Sudanese citizens. Our local leadership in South Sudan supports our mission and enables our success in the country.

WFSS currently has four teams in South Sudan – a drilling team, a well rehabilitation team and two hygiene education teams, and owns all of our own drilling equipment and vehicles.WFSS drills new wells in remote rural villages and involves local villagers at every step. WFSS

WFSS drills new wells in remote rural villages and involves local villagers at every step. WFSS aims for sustainability in all we do and empowers local leaders to take ownership of the well and establish local management of the well. We train villagers to maintain the wells, leave spare parts for simple repairs and connect them to supply chains (usually county governments and UNICEF) for larger repairs.

Our new well rehabilitation team, started in 2017, goes back to our older wells to repair cement platforms that have eroded over time. New well platform design and stronger concrete are now leading to longer life and greater sustainability for all of our wells.
Each village that we visit to drill or repair a well also receives hygiene training. Our hygiene education consists of training eight men in each village (four men and four women) to identify hygiene practices in need of improvement. Trainers are educated and can then train others, helping to expand the impact of clean water.

You can learn more at http://www.waterforsouthsudan.org, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Upcoming Events:

Livestream Conversation with Salva & Linda Sue ParkWed, Oct. 11, 10:30 am EST. Sign up with link to livestream will be on our Upcoming Events page soon.
2017-18 Iron Giraffe Challenge – WFSS challenges schools to each raise $1,000 by March 30 to be entered into a drawing to win a visit from Salva Dut. Other prizes include Skype calls with Salva, Linda Sue Park and our Country Directors in South Sudan.
Well sponsorship information for schools can be found here.
Welcome Water for South Sudan!
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Win a Signed Copy of A Long Walk to Water #GRA17

While it is never expected, it is always exciting to me when the authors of the selected books ask how they can be a part of the Global Read Aloud.  This year is doubly exciting, as both Linda Sue Park and Victoria Coe are coming up with wonderful ways that they can connect with all of you (in manageable ways, of course, as we have about two million students signed up this year).

Last year marked the first time, that the Global Read Aloud partnered with a chosen non-profit to direct some GRA good will their way.  Lasy year’s partner, Palms and Souls, ended up receiving more than $8,000 in books to build a community center library for more than 60 kids in Guatemala, it was incredible to see the kids and their smiles as all of their new books were revealed to them.  When choosing a non-profit I wanted to make it meaningful, I wanted any help they received to truly make a huge difference, and I wanted the nonprofit to share a similar story of the GRA; someone saw a problem and decided to do something about it.   And so I am proud to announce that this year’s partner is Water for South Sudan, the nonprofit started by Salva Dut, the man whose story is told in A Long Walk for Water.

While more details will be forthcoming, we are celebrating this partnership with the author of the book, the incredible Linda Sue Park.  She has graciously donated, along with her publisher, twenty-five signed copies of A Long Walk to Water for me to give away.  This contest is open to the world, all you have to do to enter is to leave a comment below.  I will pull twenty-five random winners on the 19th of August and then notify the winners.

So good luck, happy reading, and may this year’s Global Read Aloud once again make a difference to you and to others.

 

Update on the Global Read Aloud Gives Back 2016

2016 marked several milestones for the Global read Aloud; we had more than 1,000,000 students participate and we created The Global Read Aloud Gives Back as a way for students to do service learning.  The very first non-profit we chose to give back to was Palms & Souls, a micro non-profit that focuses on sustaining a communicty center in Jocotenango called the El Buen Samaritano Community Center.  One of the major needs was for books for the sixtythree kids that regularly use the community center and we thought this was a perfect mission for the Global Read Aloud community.

Throughout our six weeks, students raised money for the book drive and in order for a small library to be built at the community center.  I am now so happy to reveal how it went as Reidun and Ryan Bures just returned from their trip.  So how did we do?

As Reidun wrote in her newsletter:

“On March 31, students entered the El Buen Samaritano library for the first time. Initially, they went towards the chairs in the corner and just looked with wide eyes. But once Ryan said “You can touch them,” the floodgates opened. There was pointing, sharing, touching, and READING. Little hands grasped onto brand-new covers and the smiles were endless. Some students even hugged the books. It looked like they had never seen so many books in one place. Honestly, I’m not sure if many of them had ever seen a new book before. This brought tears to my eyes, not only because I knew these stories were going to be educationally and emotionally empowering to these students, but I also knew that each of these books contained such a tangible expression of your long-distance love. These books were sent from schools all across the world, from our family, friends, and strangers. They were sent with notes from the University of Wisconsin medical students, and from friends in Florida and Georgia. Words can’t describe the power of that moment. We have been motivated by believing in the potential of these 958 books to truly impact our 63 kids, and it is so gratifying to see it come to fruition. So we thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. Your gift has provided these kids with an invaluable tool for enhancing their academic achievement while opening their minds to the innumerable joys of literature.  “

And what does this look like?  Here are a few images from their trip, see if you can spot your favorite books.

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Thank you to each and everyone one of you for making a difference in the lives of these 63 children.

 

GRA Gives Back – Meet Estephania #GRA16

With the news that over $2,000 worth of books have been purchased so far for the community center El Buen Samaritano we are so grateful for the Global read Aloud.  From penny drives to business days, we love what so many kids are doing to support this community center and truly make a difference in the lives of these 60 kids.

Every week, we will feature one of the children that the GRA Gives Back campaign is trying to help with its partnership with Palms & Souls.  We hope that these stories will show you the very real impact that our project can have for these children in Guatemala.  If you missed the partnership announcement or need ideas for how you can help, please see this post. 

 

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Hi! My name is Esthephania A. Luis Quintanilla.

Age: 9 years

Grade: 2nd

What I like most about school:  I like learning in all the classes.

Favorite books: Sleeping Beauty or stories in English

Future Job: International Chef

Favorite Sport or Pastime: Basketball.

What I like to do most: Play with my friends.

What I like most of the El Buen Samaritano: Spending time with the volunteers.

Esthephania can’t wait to have books at the community center! Her dream is to travel the world and eat food from different places, so she would love books that are set in different countries.

All the students are counting down the days until the books arrive. The support so far has been amazing! You are flooding this community with love and hope through your book donations! Thank you so much.

GRA Gives Back – Meet Ricardo #gra16

With the news that over $2,000 worth of books have been purchased so far for the community center El Buen Samaritano we are so grateful for the Global read Aloud.  From penny drives to business days, we love what so many kids are doing to support this community center and truly make a difference in the lives of these 60 kids.

Every week, we will feature one of the children that the GRA Gives Back campaign is trying to help with its partnership with Palms & Souls.  We hope that these stories will show you the very real impact that our project can have for these children in Guatemala.  If you missed the partnership announcement or need ideas for how you can help, please see this post. 

Hi, my name is Marlon Ricardo López.

Age: 10 years

Grade: 4th

What I like most about school: Free time to play with my friends!

Favorite books: Histories and legends

Future Job: Architect

Favorite pastime: Soccer

What I like most of the El Buen Samaritano: Reading legends with the volunteers.

Ricardo and his family

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Ricardo’s family all live together in this room.

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The alley that connects Ricardo’s family’s room to other families’ rooms.

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Ricardo’s whole family shares a one-bedroom apartment. They sleep together on the two beds and cook on a camp stove in the corner of the room. Ricardo’s youngest brother has lung problems which are irritated by the smoke from their stove. We asked Ricardo’s parents about their hopes and dreams for their children, and they both responded “We want opportunities for them to continue their education and go to University. If they don’t, they will probably have the same life as they do now.”

Ricardo loves to learn and is hoping for books about history or myths. He and his brothers also love soccer and would enjoy reading about sports. By purchasing books you are helping Ricardo’s parents give these kids a chance at a different life. He is so lucky to have a supportive mother and father at home; many kids don’t. Thank you so much for believing in Ricardo and participating in this book drive!  

Global Read Aloud Gives Back – Meet Fernanda #GRA16

Every week, we will feature one of the children that the GRA Gives Back campaign is trying to help with its partnership with Palms & Souls.  We hope that these stories will show you the very real impact that our project can have for these children in Guatemala.  If you missed the partnership announcement or need ideas for how you can help,please see this post. 

Meet Fernanda!

Hi, my name is  Fernanda Abigail Luis Quintanilla.

Age: 10 years

Grade: 4th

What I like most about school: Playing with friends.

Favorite books: Stories of princesses

Future Job: Secretary

Favorite pastime: Soccer

What I like most of the El Buen Samaritano: Being with Mr. Magda and the volunteers.

Fernanda with her family at home

Fernanda with her family at home

Fernanda in her kitchen

Fernanda in her kitchen

Fernanda is hoping for princess and fantasy books to read herself and with her sisters. Your donation will directly impact all three girls. Thank you so much for caring about these kids.

GRA Gives Back – Meet Dulce #GRA16

Every week, we will feature one of the children that the GRA Gives Back campaign is trying to help with its partnership with Palms & Souls.  We hope that these stories will show you the very real impact that our project can have for these children in Guatemala.  If you missed the partnership announcement or need ideas for how you can help, please see this post. 

Meet Dulce!

Hi, my name is  Katherine Dulce María Castellanos Martínez.

Age: 12 years

Grade: 6th

What I like most about school: Music classes

Favorite Book: I love all books and stories.

Future Job: Teacher

Favorite sport or pastime: Reading and helping with the smaller children

What I like to do most: Reading stories to other students at the center.

What I like most of the El Buen Samaritano: I like everything, but especially the volunteers!

Dulce is really hoping for books to read to the smaller children at El Buen Samaritano. She is a great helper and loves to tutor younger students in the afternoon.

We can’t thank you enough for supporting this project!

GRA Gives Back: Meet Jeferson #GRA16

Every week, we will feature one of the children that the GRA Gives Back campaign is trying to help with its partnership with Palms & Souls.  We hope that these stories will show you the very real impact that our project can have for these children in Guatemala.  If you missed the partnership announcement or need ideas for how you can help, please see this post.  

Jeferson at El Buen Samaritano Community Center

 

 

 

Jeferson at El Buen Samaritano Community Center

 

 

Hi, My name is Jeferson Ariel Enrique Castellanos Martínez.

Age: 8 years

Grade: 2nd

Favorite Book: I like a lot of different books

What I like most about school: Spending free time with friends

Future job: Police

Favorite pastime: Soccer

What I like to do most: Playing sports with my friends

What I like most of the El Buen Samaritano: Being with the fun volunteers and Mr.

Magda, the classes, and food

Jeferson and his brother at home

Jeferson and his brother at home

Jeferson's sister in his kitchen at home

Jeferson’s sister in his kitchen at home

Jeferson's home­­­­

 

Jeferson’s home­­­­

Jeferson is so excited about the potential of having a library at the community center. He

likes to read, but doesn’t get an opportunity to read books very often. He is usually limited

to one page stories printed off the internet. This book drive could be a life-changer for

him. Thank you for believing and investing in Jeferson!

To see the book drive, go here.