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Rotary helps foreign students pay for school

Lou Cloninger (left) and David Wulfhorst (right), Denver/Lake Norman Rotary members, look over some of the pictures they took on the trip.
Jenny Walling/ Lincoln Times-News

David Wulfhorst and Lou Cloninger glance over the pictures of their recent trip to Guatemala.
Each goes over the details of their time in the foreign country, the people they met and the goals they are hoping to achieve.
They are anxious to help the children by working to keep them in school. In Guatemala, children have to pay to go to school.
Wulfhorst and Cloninger spent a week in Guatemala as members of the Denver/Lake Norman Rotary Club.
This year a group of junior high school students from the community of San Juan, Department of El Progresso, Guatemala have been making note cards and the Denver/Lake Norman Rotary club has been selling them.
The cards were sold in packs of five for $5.
The money received from the note cards was presented to the Junior Achievement club in Guatemala when Wulfhorst and Cloninger went in February. The project raised $1,000.
“Every dime went to the kids,” Wulfhorst said. “Nobody takes anything out of it.”
The money given to the kids will help those students who cannot afford to be in school.
San Juan is considered one of the poorest communities of Guatemala. Their main source of income is agriculture.
Junior Achievement clubs in Guatemala help children learn the important steps to running a business. Many also become real businesses as they reach success.
The children made the note cards from typing paper acquired from schools nearby.
Flower petals and tree leaves were mixed in a blender with water. The mixture was applied to the paper to give it color.
The cards were then placed on a screen to lay in the sun to dry.
The two rotary club members thought it was important to go to Guatemala to meet the children they had been working with.
Wulfhorst said it was a wonderful experience.
“My favorite part was the kids,” he said. “They were so proud of what they were doing.”
Wulfhorst hopes to get other rotary clubs involved with some of the other Junior Achievement clubs in Guatemala.
While they were there they had the opportunity to meet some of the other clubs and see what they were making.
Creations included everything from soap to chocolate to jewelry.
“We really want to get other rotary clubs to start selling some of the other products we saw,” Cloninger said.
Wulfhorst said it is very important what these children are learning from these projects.
“Everyone down there has to find a way to survive,” he said. “They need a business plan, a marketing program in order to sell a product.”
In Guatemala there are no manufacturing businesses, therefore learning how to run a company is that much more important.
A presentation will be made at the Rotary District meeting April 23-25 in an attempt to introduce others to these projects.
“It does not cost Rotary anything to get involved except time,” he said. “For these kids it is sometimes the difference between life and death.” by Amy Wadsworth

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