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Spanish society helps change a life

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Thanks to the generosity of the students from the Coginchaug Regional High School Spanish Honor Society, Rodrigo Mesinas Pérez will be graduating in June with a teaching degree in special education.

Rodrigo’s relationship with the Durham/Middlefield community began in 2000 when he became the beneficiary of the sponsorship of the CRHS Spanish Honor Society via the non-profit Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots. The organization serves children living in extreme poverty in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Rodrigo had dropped out of primary school since his mother could no longer afford to purchase his school uniforms and supplies (a requirement of public schools in Mexico). At 11 he was able to return to primary school, and now some 13 years later is about to become his family’s first university graduate.

In fact, five years ago, he already became their first high school graduate. Many students from CRHS who traveled with me to Mexico on school trips visited the small village and the humble home where Rodrigo still lives with his mother and siblings. They were surprised by the lack of “creature comforts” we all take for granted — there is no running water in their rented house, which luckily does have an outhouse. There are packed dirt floors in the home which contains only a kitchen and rooms for sleeping.

Over the years I have watched Rodrigo mature, gain confidence in his abilities, and decide to pursue higher education. He will now give back to his community with his new skills as a teacher and enrich the lives of other children in this area of extreme poverty. The small amount of money (by United States standards) sent each year to cover his school expenses has totally changed this young man’s life. Thanks to all those who have supported Rodrigo and many other children in this program over the years. You have given these children the treasure of an education that would have been out of their reach.

To learn more about this program, visit our website: www.oaxacastreetchildrengrassroots.org.

Because of my involvement with and dedication to this program (as both a sponsor and a member of the U.S. board of directors), I am hosting a fundraiser to benefit Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots and our sister organization in Oaxaca, el Centro de Esperanza Infantil.

I am hosting a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta at Perk on Main in Durham, on May 5. A Mexican market and a silent auction will begin at 3 p.m. From 5 to 8 p.m, an admission fee will be charged at the door to cover the quesadilla dinner and a donation to Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots. There also will be a salsa bar, and wine and Mexican beer to taste. Please RSVP to Marilyn Horn (marilyncha13@gmail.com or (860) 349-8464 if you are coming to the dinner. There is no charge for your visit between 3 and 5 p.m.



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