For almost 2 decades he has worked with us developing tour program to Kuelap and Chachapoyas. Now he lives in Boston and is a teacher at Wayland Middle School. He brings to Peru, each year a group of children and some parents to be part of "the change"
Last week we shared Wayland Middle School Principal's Message and here we continue with Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" :
The Civil Rights Movement was a multi-year, national campaign involving thousands of Americans in a pursuit of change and equality. In the spirit of activism, however, making waves for change does not have to happen on a national scale. Even a single middle schooler can make a positive difference and work to improve an inequitable situation, casting his or her own pebble to affect change.
For example, back in 2010, Matthew Hereema was a seventh grader at Wayland Middle School who was inspired by stories from our Loose Change Campaign, an annual town-wide Wayland Community initiative, which will begin again next week, that aims to collect money to supply impoverished schools in remote villages in Peru. Learning of the troubling conditions in Peru and the children there who longed for an education, yet had no access to even the most basic supplies, Matt was moved to help. He began a mission to collect the dropped pencils he found daily in the hallways of Wayland Middle School and repurpose them.
For a whole year he quietly gathered the forgotten writing implements ultimately filling two drawers in Mr. Fernandez's classroom. But most impressive is that his act of kindness, endurance and motivation in what he truly believed could make a difference in Peru, Matt inspired others to ask and get involved, to inquire and to feel that they also needed to do something about it. When Mr. Fernandez and his team made his annual trek to the villages he brought 3,000 pencils Matt and his classmates had collected. For students who had none this was a transformative gift, and the waves created by this act had long lasting effects for both the helpers and the recipients of this kindness. Classmate Jason Mai who assisted Matt in gathering and bundling the pencils that year went on to raise money towards freeing enslaved children in Africa. Mr. Fernandez wonders, "Was Jason recruited by Matt's inspirational ideas? Did Matt's unintended ripple effects of kindness touch Jason's heart in 7th grade? I will never know, but I bet helping Matt started a new spark of kindness on Jason's soul, and those kind of sparks, fortunately for the world, only lead to large bonfires of compassion and love." Are there issues or passions that compel you to act or speak out and create some ripples of your own towards positive change?
Change can happen on a smaller scale, right here at home. This morning, through our community service slide show, we will celebrate the many ways you, the students of Wayland Middle School, have found ways to take an active approach to making a positive difference in our community. Through fund raising efforts, TAG activities, house block experiences and club offerings like Community Service Club, Gardening Club and Composting you have given back to our school and to our town. You will also hear from three eighth graders Kara Whitesell, Kathryn Malnight and Maya Anand who are moved enough to speak to you today about the work of activists they admire. Whether or not you agree or disagree with the positions of these activists, please join me in making space for their work to be heard. Bringing voice to their causes gives these three girls a chance to raise awareness and create ripples of their own. As we commemorate the inspirational work of Dr. King, activists and Wayland Middle Schoolstudents, think hard about opportunities for activism and how you can make a positive difference in the world. Where will you cast your pebble? Thank you.
Team leader Antonia Heironymus takes you through the new school room in Atuen.
Many more proyects to come, many more lives to change!!!
Every year since 2007, Daniel Fernandez and his team of students from Wayland Middle School, have been providing school supplies to Atuen and the other thirteen isolated villages of the Chachapoyas surroundings.
"We are building one library at a time" -Daniel Fernandez
Changes taking place - photos by Nicolae CIOROGAN - 2014 Photos
Atuen Library in 2014
Atuen in 2014
Check for the Peru experience in My Teacher