Wellington, Florida – More than a dozen JustWorld Ambassadors and supporters made the journey to Guatemala from November 12 through 19 to witness the life-changing work being done. As a result of their visit to Los Patojos, the not-for-profit’s project site in Guatemala, two Ambassadors pledged to help fund the school supplies program and the tutoring at Los Patojos.
One of those Ambassadors was Riley Newsome of Mendham, NJ, and her mother, Mei Mei. The
Newsome family is no stranger to supporting JustWorld; both Newsome and her older sister, Molly, are JustWorld Rider Ambassadors. Their father, Jim, is on the JustWorld International Advisory Committee.
“My sister had gone two years ago and when she came home and told us about it, I wanted to get on a plane and go the next day,” said Newsome, 16, of her visit to Guatemala. “Going to Los Patojos was nothing like I thought it was going to be – it was a hundred times better! Each and every child was happy. They are thrilled to be a part of Los Patojos. There were over 150 kids there during our visit and I can remember every single one.”
Newsome and her mother were so moved by the experience that in addition to making a donation to JustWorld’s ‘Adopt a Project’ campaign, they immediately became involved in JustWorld’s Holiday Giving campaign. The campaign allows people to give the gift of helping a child in need. When a donation is made in a recipient’s name, that person receives a certificate stating the amount of the donation and how it will change someone’s life.
“Going to Guatemala for eight days to see these happy, enthusiastic and loving kids was the best thing I have ever done,” said Newsome. “It was an amazing experience and has changed me as a person.”
Fellow Ambassador Madison Bradshaw of San Francisco, CA, was also changed by her experience at Los Patojos.
“The kids at the project are absolutely amazing,” said Bradshaw, 17, who is currently the Northern California Team Leader for JustWorld. “The first day of our visit, we were charged with painting a sign for the project. Our only guidelines were that it had to be original. It began slowly, with the JustWorld Ambassadors in one corner and the Los Patojos kids in another. The worlds of Los Patojos and JustWorld were neatly outlined. That quickly changed when I came up with the idea of putting handprints on the poster. Just like in pre-school, painted hands led to painted faces! My sides and face hurt by the end of the day from laughing so much.”
Bradshaw continued, “On another day during our visit, some Ambassadors and Los Patojos students climbed to the roof of the project site that overlooks Jocotenango. We talked about issues facing the city and all of our dreams for the future. Melly wants to be an actress, Frank wants to work in tourism and Angel wants to help educate the next generation. It was amazing to see how similar all of our hopes for the future were and, despite what these kids have to overcome, how optimistic they were. It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life.”
As a result of her latest visit to Los Patojos, her third since becoming an Ambassador just over three years ago, Bradshaw pledged funds to help support the school supplies program in Guatemala.
She was also inspired to become actively involved in the 2013 JustWorld Team Challenge, leading one of the three participating teams. Each team will represent a country JustWorld currently has projects in – Cambodia, Guatemala or Honduras – and will be comprised of Junior, Amateur and Professional Ambassadors. The Ambassadors will work together to raise funds for JustWorld’s innovative social development projects, with the goal for each team being $50,000. The Team Challenge officially kicks off on January 11, 2013, and will run until May.
The JustWorld International delegation to Guatemala was comprised of Carter, Madison and Cooper Bradshaw, Monica Carrera, Jill Mills, Titi Mills, Riley and Mei Mei Newsome, Matthew Pasquinilli, Denise and Katie Quirk, Alex Tienda, Rebecca Waterman, Caitlin and Sam Ziegler, and JustWorld staff members Jessica Newman and Naomi Spillane.
Founded in 2003 by Jessica Newman, JustWorld International is a not-for-profit, humanitarian organization which funds life-changing nutrition, health and hygiene, education, and leadership and cultural development programs for impoverished children in Cambodia, Honduras, Guatemala, and Brazil. There are currently more than 500 Rider and Technical Official Ambassadors representing 40 different countries, whose efforts to support JustWorld’s projects have raised in excess of $5.4 million to date.
For more information on JustWorld International, or how to support the ‘Adopt a Project’ campaign, please visit www.justworldinternational.org.