'Spreading the Spirit' from Penn Kidder to Kenya
VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Bearing the handprints of 90 students and staff of Penn Kidder Elementary School, this banner will be traveling to Kenya along with a missionary team from Pocono Lake United Methodist Church which will include Penn Kidder substitute teacher Mary Blay and her daughter. Each handprint on the banner has a number that will be matched with a picture in a photo album. Pictured with the banner are front, left to right : Kimberlee George, Jada Mahmde, Cecelia Benincasa, Mason Farnell, Salvatore Capria, Consuello Macareno, and Jimmy Mills. Rear standing, from left : Mrs. Nancy Fields, teacher; Mr. Randy Engle, assistant principal; Ciara Miranda; Sophie Monboussin; Tyler Benson; Nicholas Wilkins; Mrs. Sue Coughlin; and Mary Blay.
The students and staff of Penn Kidder Elementary School are spreading their spirit to the residents and students of the African Church School of Kenya through a 14 day mission trip to that nation by members of Pocono Lake United Methodist Church.
One church member, Mary Blay is also a substitute teacher at the school and she's always had a passion for teaching, and she's always had a passion for going to Africa and see the country, see the children, and do something for Kenya.
Along with other team members, she will also be accompanied by her daughter who now lives in Costa Rica.
The trip and the group of 13 will be under the leadership of Carolyn Verlaik, a native of and a former Mrs. Kenya.
The team will be witnessing the first well drilling outside of the the city of Ngong where they have no water,
The Youth Group of the Pocono Lake United Methodist Church donated $5,000 toward the drilling of the well which can cost as much as $15,000.
They will be visiting an orphanage at Lake Victoria, visiting two hospitals, distributing dental supplies to children, and baby supplies to mothers, and set up the first native community soup kitchen.
They will also spend two days building a library and distributing books and school supplies to the Kenya Learning Center of the Anglican Church.
A "dress down" day will be sponsored for the Pen Kidder staff with all donations going towards Kenya school supplies.
Teachers also have donated books, the bulk of which will going in a container separate from Mary's trip, but smaller paperback books can go in one suitcase where she's allowed 50 pounds.
Mrs. Blay said, "I'm taking the spirit of Penn Kidder in the form of a hand-printed banner of 90 students and staff that will be given to the Kenyan school and each handprint has a number that will be matched with a picture in a photo album."
She expressed her appreciation for "the help of two wonderful people, Sarah Keiper and Kathy Saxon".
The team leaves for Kenya Sunday and Carolyn said that "it's going to be a life-changing experience."