Celebrating a New Partnership in Panama
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Celebrating a New Partnership in Panama

Our team in Central America shows support for the San Carlos community with a day of community service

Last September, Grand Circle's team of associates, Trip Leaders, and Program Directors in Central America brought a new partnership one step further with a special community service event. The group visited the General Manuel Benigno Higuero School in the small fishing village of San Carlos, Panama, which officially became a Foundation partner earlier in the year.

Approximately 1,300 students attend the General Manuel Benigno Higuero School—yet when associates first visited the school in February and discussed its needs with Principal Modesto Garcia, it was clear that there was not enough classroom space to accommodate the growing population. An initial Foundation donation of $1000 provided the roof and floor for one new classroom—and between the generosity of OAT travelers and support from the San Carlos community, the school now has the addition $2000 required to complete two full classrooms. "The classrooms are currently being built," says Maury Peterson, Vice President of Grand Circle Foundation, who made a special trip from Grand Circle headquarters in Boston to participate in the community service event. "The school plans to use them for English classes and a science lab."

For their community service, the Central America team painted the walls of an existing classroom, which will eventually be used as the school's very first library. "This will be a future project for Grand Circle Foundation," says Maury. "In the next several months, I believe we can make it happen, thanks to our traveler's generous donations and the commitment of the entire San Carlos community."

Maury is always grateful to witness the Foundation's work firsthand—and she was especially moved by the visit to General Manuel Benigno Higuero School. "I loved being there in person and seeing the difference we're making," says Maury. "The gratitude of the students, parents, and faculty tells me that we really do change people's lives."

Principal Modesto Garcia shares in this gratitude—and looks forward to accomplishing his dreams of a bigger, better school with the Foundation's support. "Thanks to the generosity of the OAT travelers and Grand Circle Foundation, my dreams can become a reality."

Featured as part of our November 2010 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.