Our San Rafael staff had a goal this year to get young people involved in their community. That goal was met in a big way earlier this month, when 18 kids joined three community leaders to plant a whopping 800 trees in the village. Community leaders suggested planting trees since they would provide relief from the heat and reduce damage from heavy rains, which can cause mudslides and damage roads and crops.
Generous donation makes planting possible
The group of volunteers also contributed in choosing the location for their planting: a hill above a trail frequently traveled by families. Before they could begin, though, they had to find someone who could donate the trees. Lesbia Marroquin, San Rafael coordinator, went to the Municipality of Antigua. Engineer Vitelio Contreras, Secretary of Environment in the Municipality, accepted the community’s request, donating 800 cypress trees from Florencia Farm.
The big planting day took place on September 1, when 650 trees were planted. To finish the last 150, each student took four home to plant on their property. Community leaders planted the rest around the town cemetery.
Team building, community service
Lesbia and Common Hope staff hoped to accomplish three things with the event: student participation, teamwork, and students donating time and energy to their community. “We accomplished all of this with the tree planting activity,” says Lesbia “plus everyone had fun and was very high energy during the whole event.”
Edgar Roberto Raxón, sixth grader, was the most energetic participant during the planting, despite being the smallest. At the beginning, the group joked that he had to plant 60 trees on his own. He didn’t plant 60, but he did plant the most trees of anyone—more than 30 trees. He was very talented, planting quickly and easily, and he had a great time.
Many ways of spurring kids on
As a side note, Edgar had been saying that he would quit school after he finished sixth grade. San Rafael staff has been working with a group of children including Edgar every other Friday to do reflection exercises and activities and get kids excited about continuing school after sixth grade. Recently, Edgar decided that he does want to stay in school next year. We hope to hear more from this rising community talent.
More photos of the event below!