Tis the Season to Give

Dr. Wilkerson and Dr. Wood with children at Santa Elena School in San Jose, Costa Rica
Dr. Wilkerson and Dr. Wood with children at Santa Elena School in San Jose, Costa Rica

This spring, the Baylor School of Education (SOE), through its annual Costa Rica Spring Break Service Trip, plans to bring a “library full of books” to the Santa Elena School in San Jose, Costa Rica. Dr. Randy Wood, professor in the SOE’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction, organizes the spring break trip each year and has been working closely with partners in the Waco community to help fund the project.

The overall goal is to raise $14,000 by Dec. 19. The money will be used to purchase, package and ship the textbooks through Follett to the Sana Elena School. Wood, along with SOE professor of Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Trena Wilkerson and 30 Baylor students, will distribute the textbooks during their weeklong service trip beginning March 6, 2015. Please donate by clicking HERE to support the fundraiser and provide high-quality textbooks to the children of Santa Elena School.

\Wood, Wilkerson and community leaders in San Jose saw a need to supply instruction and curriculum books for the children and teachers, because each classroom in the school has only one to two books. Wood has been going to Santa Elena twice a year over the past seven years and has met with elders like doctors, school administration and parents. After discussing how Baylor could help, Wood thought the next step in creating a successful school would be a library.

“Until we started coming, the school had little pride or support,” Wood said, “Now it’s a place for people to gather, and it is enjoyed by everyone in the community.”

While other schools in the community are well off and do not require extra assistance that Baylor provides, the Santa Elena School does. Wood said the school’s students are children of Nicaraguan refugees who are day farmers and laborers. Because many of the children live in poverty, the school has suffered from a social stigma, Wood said.

Over the past seven years, Wood and Baylor students have worked at the Santa Elena School — rebuilding the interior to foster a clean work environment and building a playground used by the school and the community. Baylor students have collected school supplies like paper, pencils, calculators and dry-erase boards to give to the children as gifts.

“You can’t put a price on this trip – you just can’t help falling in love with these kids,” Wood said.

About the School

Santa Elena School is located in tropical San Jose, Costa Rica, a popular destination place for many tourists, because the weather is warm and there are various tourist attractions.

Since there are no separate buildings for different grade levels nor enough classrooms for all students to be educated at one time, the school educates K-6th graders on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 7-12th graders on Tuesday and Thursday.

There are approximately 100 students. The school budgets $100 per month for school lunches, which means most meals consist of rice and beans.

Costa Rica Spring Break Trip

Each spring break, Wood and Wilkerson take 21 students and two adults on the weeklong trip to San Jose, Costa Rica. In the past, the Baylor group has worked two to three days inside the school, helping with teaching and refurbishing or providing school supplies for the school. They take the children on field trips to McDonald’s and the National Museum (Museo Nacional de Costa Rica). As a treat for the 6th graders before they enter high school, the Baylor group will take them to the Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfalls and Gardens, which are historically significant parts of Costa Rica.

If interested in attending the trip in spring 2015 or need more information please email Dr. Wood at randy_wood@baylor.edu

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Originally posted on Instant Impact

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