Four years ago, the Elmbrook Rotary Club from Brookfield, Wisconsin, decided that they wanted to participate in an international project and they were looking to do more than just write a check. They wanted Rotarian boots on the ground, actively participating in a project that would also help them meet the Rotary’s goals. After scouting several different organizations in Guatemala, Erik Moeser, Tom Pyne, and two other members of the Rotary’s International Service Committee agreed that Common Hope was the organization they wanted to partner with. Due to its well-established strategic goals, they were particularly interested in working with our Partner School Program. The program is well laid out, well organized, and the Elmbrook Rotary could easily see how they fit into the program’s overall plan. “The idea of the Partner School Program appeals to us because every year we can help to make each one of those schools better,” said Erik.
This February, the Elmbrook Rotary Club and their friends in the Port Washington Saukville Rotary returned to Guatemala. During their time here, the team visited our Partner School in San Miguel Milpas Altas and delivered over 200 donated books. This was an incredible gift to the school, and it also helped the Rotary accomplish their goal of promoting literacy on an international level. Team Leader Erik Moeser said, “It’s nice to know that the kids will have access to those books,” many of which are books the children would’ve never had the opportunity to read otherwise.
The Elmbrook Rotary Club’s first Vision Team was in 2012 and their team grows larger each year. This year they had to turn several people down. Erik says they intend to return to Guatemala every year, and seven people have already signed up for next year’s trip. “I can imagine this continuing for a number of years,” he said. Erik added that their partnership with Common Hope has become the signature project for their club and they’ve become known for it amongst many other Rotaries. “The ball is rolling and we want to keep pushing it so it goes faster and farther.”
To have such a generous and enthusiastic Vision Team return each year is a wonderful asset to Common Hope. Members of their club also sponsor 17 children, who they got to visit on their recent trip. Erik wants to encourage other Rotary Clubs to consider this partnership.
“I tell people they could go on vacation for a week, spend approximately the same amount of money, and go home sunburned. Or you can come to Guatemala on a Vision Team with Common Hope and go home knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life.” -Erik Moeser
Common Hope extends our gratitude to the Elmbrook Rotary Club and to all of our Vision Teams who have helped us to carry out our mission. To quote Executive Director Shari Blindt, “The gifts you share bring sunshine to the children and families we serve every day.”
If you are considering organizing a Vision Team, contact Brianna Jensen at 651-287-0716 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There are still a number of Fall 2014 openings, and we are also scheduling for 2015! Check our Vision Team Trip Calendar to see open dates!