In March, the world becomes Irish for a day, March Madness dominates the sports pages, daffodils stretch sunward and Deb Stuart of Waxhaw heads for the mountains of Guatemala to take the gift of learning to children.
Stuart is the proprietor of Thunderbay Horseback Riding Academy. She began her personal mission in 2009, raising funds initially to buy food for the remote communities she had adopted. On that first trip, she discovered that their minds were in even more need of nurture than their stomachs. So since 2010, she has worked to take school equipment to remote villages in the highlands of Guatemala.
I learned about Stuart and her quest in 2010 from a second-grade teacher whose class had raised money for the efforts and become pen pals with children in one of the schools.
That year, Stuart used the money collected in Union County to buy textbooks and then delivered the books to the schools.
In 2011, she added computers to her contributions.
“With one laptop and one projector, a school can have access to hundreds of books” and movies, Stuart said.
In 2012, she took 10 donated, refurbished laptops and equipped one school with the first virtual library. In 2013 and 2014, she duplicated her effort.
Stuart will return to Guatemala in March.
She hopes to collect more computers and donations of Amazon gift cards to build the library of educational DVDs. Monetary contributions will go toward the purchase of a projector.
“This is not an organization, not a charity. Just a few ordinary people who would like to do something extraordinary,” Stuart said. “(All) donations go directly to the project. No salaries, no expenses, no fundraising expenses, no overhead. This gives your contribution the ability to make a big impact.”
“Waxhaw Goes Green” is the theme of Waxhaw’s March First Friday celebration.
On March 6, 5-8 p.m., you are invited to wear your green and come to downtown Waxhaw for a celebration that embraces both meanings of the “Going Green” phrase.
If you wear green and bring in your old batteries to Black Chicken Fine Wine and Craft Beer, you will receive a St. Patrick’s Day treat and 15 percent off retail.
Also that Friday, Eight Legs Gallery will have Bonita Somers on-site to sign her book, “Ms. B’s Art on a Cart.” In addition, the gallery will have Shaklee demonstrations of green products by Pat Dussinger and an opportunity to create mosaic art with colored pencils. You can also learn how to recycle Christmas cards.
At Created in the Carolinas, you can learn how to turn old shirts into a no-sewing-required quilt, or another easy projects.
John Anderson is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for John? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.