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Spotlight - January 2014

posted Jan 17, 2014, 11:33 AM by Susan Conley   [ updated Feb 2, 2015, 5:14 AM by Dawna Green ]

GHS students to Continue the Work of One Visionary Greely Alumna

GHS Sophomores Support Safe Passage

For the past several months, a group of Greely High School sophomores, Evan Carrell, Maegan Dougherty, Cat Maker, Erin Molloy, Colbi Munson, Meghan O’Donovan, Faith Price, Sarah Somes and Sophie Stickney have been busy making plans for a journey to Guatemala over the upcoming April vacation. Although they will be travelling to a tropical destination, this trip will not be a typical vacation --but rather a service trip to enable the young women to provide direct assistance to children who live in extreme poverty through the non-profit organization Safe Passage. Accompanied by chaperones Andrea Maker, Debbie Pepper Dougherty and Sally Somes, the students will lead an educational project they have prepared for the children, serve as English tutors, and assist with other services provided by Safe Passage. 

As a team, they are also working to bring much needed books to the students at Safe Passage and are raising $2500 to donate to the program. Inspired by others who have served before them, including Cat Maker’s sister who devoted five months to service to Guatemala, the young women share a desire to gain “the experience of helping others and making a difference.“ Although they certainly will make a positive impact upon the children of Guatemala, one of the chaperones Andrea Maker anticipates that the students themselves will benefit greatly, ”Based on my past experiences escorting service groups to Safe Passage, I believe this trip will greatly enrich the lives of both the children of Safe Passage, and of the girls volunteering there in April. The impacts are bound to be life changing and lifelong.” 

To accomplish these tasks the group has held several creative fundraisers including detailing cars, organizing a pre-holiday babysitting evening and will have a series of babysitting/dinner evenings at Pat’s Pizza in the Old Port. (Thanks to the generosity of the Tyll family.) On January 25th they will host a fundraising Karaoke Night at Pat’s Pizza. In addition they have established up a donation site on First Giving: https://www.firstgiving.com/2225/book-me-to-safe-passage. To follow their experiences, you may like them at www.Facebook.com/BookMEtoSafePassage.

Safe Passage provides services for children in Guatemala who confront living situations marked by extreme poverty, neglect and abuse. Known in Spanish as "Camino Seguro", this life-sustaining non-profit organization was founded in 1999 by one visionary young woman, a Greely High School and Bowdoin College graduate, Hanley Denning. After witnessing the painful scene of children who were forced to spend long days at a Guatemala City dump searching through the trash for food and goods to sell, Hanley sold her car and her computer and used her own savings to begin to provide tutoring, a healthy snack and appropriate care to 46 of the poorest children. 

Today, thanks to Hanley’s dream, Safe Passage provides approximately 550 children with education, social services, and resources to children to help break the cycle of poverty that has endured for generations. Tragically, Hanley Denning was killed in a car accident in Guatemala in January 2007, but her vision and and her spirit continue on through the hard work and dedication of the staff and volunteers who sustain this important program with passion and determination.

The Greely community extends best wishes and safe travels to these philanthropic and industrious young women!