Posted on Dec 11, 2017

In 1822, freight operator William Becknell altered his route between Independence, Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico to find a trail more suitable for wagon trains.  He wanted a better route to carry goods in trade with the newly independent Mexico.  This route became known as the Santa Fe Trail which was later displaced by the railroad in 1880.  Sapello, New Mexico is located about 80 miles from Santa Fe and was a trading post along the trail.

The Rotary eClub of the Southwest USA has strong bond with this community located in northeast New Mexico.  Throughout the year, eClub members Carol and Tom Anderson periodically live in this community.  They had observed that most students at Mike Mateo Serna Elementary School did not have the basic school supplies.  With financial assistance from ReCSWUSA’s mini-grant program, Rotary District Grants, and Pendaries Lot Owner's Association, Carol and Tom have spearheaded the effort to outfit these young minds with the basic supplies.

In addition to helping to fund the project, the Pendaries Lot Owner's Association helps in meeting with the teachers to determine the student needs at each grade level.  After identifying the needs, Rotarians and Association members obtain the needed resources for teaching Reading and Math.  This group volunteers handles the transportation, sorting, and delivery of these indispensable supplies.

Like many other projects that Rotary Clubs do worldwide, there are successive rings of direct and indirect beneficiaries of this service work.  The 95 students are at the center receiving the greatest direct benefit.  Aside from having the critical supplies to aid learning, the students are given the opportunity to learn pride of ownership and gain confidence in what they can do.  The 12 teachers and staff in the school are the next ring of beneficiaries.  Here, like schools across the country, teachers and staff have over the years purchased supplies for their students.  The next ring of beneficiaries are the students’ parents.  As adults, we know the financial struggles of daily lives which grow exponentially as income decreases.  We can imagine the guilt and shame felt because they are unable provide for a better life for their children.  The outermost ring is the community.  As Rotarians, we know the feeling of sharing our time, talents, and treasury in the service of others.  Projects like this allow us to impart that feeling on others.

The group of volunteers were invited to the school to look over some equipment that had been purchased.  When the group arrived for the meeting, they were greeted by the students and staff expressing their gratitude.  These photos were taken at this surprise event.  Thank you to the ReCSWUSA members and guests for your financial support of our Club.  Without you, needs like this will go unmet.