Archive for April, 2007

12 and counting

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

It’s Saturday night and it’s been a whirlwind week. Less than 12 hours to go and I’ll be on that plane, heading to Dallas and then changing planes to get to Guatemala City.

There’s good news from New Hampshire. A group of boy scouts will be having a garage sale on May 19th. The proceeds will be used to buy things for the boys at the orphanage… possibly new shoes. Kathleen, Wayne, Ryan and Shawn….thanks for organizing this and I hope it is extremely successful. And have fun doing it as well. We hope to have our Orphan’s Hope Project brochures complete by then.

The October 6th event is really coming together. There are about 12-13 people confirmed on the organizing committee and we have 5 or 6 more to hear from. We started out by wanting to plan a community walk/run and now it may become something much bigger. Many people & businesses are wanting to help. We’re going to have an organizational meeting/brainstorming session on the 23rd of May…. watch the sparks fly that night. I have a feeling there will be lots of energy in that room.

The Internet is down at the orphanage so… I’m not sure how often I will be able to update this blog once I’m there. It sure was nice to change my voice mail at the office this afternoon and say that I wouldn’t be available until May 11th….nor could I return phone calls until then. Ahhhh… I can just concentrate on the boys and the things that we’ll be doing.

OK… I’m signing off. Think of me in that sky…flying to bring great things to the boys.


Celebrate with me !

Friday, April 20th, 2007

In less than 48 hours I’ll be on a plane. Yes, it’s almost time to leave for Guatemala. And, I am celebrating today. Today is my 55th birthday. This is an easy birthday because I feel like I’m 32. Hey, how could that be? My son is 33! I guess I am really older but I certainly don’t feel like it. And part of the reason I feel so young and energetic is that I know we are helping Hogar Miguel Magone Orphanage in a big way. You and I are making a difference and that’s an excellent feeling. Seeing the smiles on the boys faces, feeling their hugs, knowing that we are funding projects and sustaining their budget is a good thing. It makes your heart sing. And we all need to find something that makes our hearts sing.

Our T-shirts have been selling. I’ve worn mine to the gym a couple of times and it sure starts conversations. I’ve shipped two shirts to the UK and one shirt to Canada. While I was in the post office talking to the clerk, a man overheard our conversation. He stopped me as I was leaving because he was interested in hearing more about the project and so of course, now he has a business card and will look at our web site. It’s easy. So many people are interested in hearing about the work we are doing. Speaking of shirts, here’s a picture of what they look like….. Have you ordered yours yet?

Click here to go straight to the Order Form

T-shirt small

So… on this BIG birthday, celebrate with me because we are doing something worthwhile with our time. We are certainly making a difference in the lives of many, many young boys. And that’s a good thing!

Guatemala es mi segundo paĆ­s. Guatemala, I’m on my way !


This is how we do it !

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

Hello readers,

OK… one week to go. It’s almost time to pack up that 18 gallon Rubbermaid bin, the big rolling suitcase that I’ll be checking and also my carry-on bag. I did start packing up the bin today. So far, it’s got 20 lbs. of ESL books in it, 13 potholders & an apron for the cook, the Oakland Raiders folders and stickers, two sets of the Oakland Raiders flag football games (along with two footballs), two pumps for balls, day timers for Nico and Karen and various other assorted items. I drilled holes in the snap lid and the lid will be secured with plastic zip ties. I used duct tape to tape extra zip ties on the outside of the bin as TSA might want to look inside of it. They’ll be confused by the variety of items that are in there. Hey… what can I say? It’s a multi-tasking bin! And the best part is, the bin doesn’t come back with me. The cook has already called dibs on this bin. She’ll get to keep it in the orphanage kitchen or the bodega for storage.

Yesterday was a fun day as I picked up the first printing of the Orphan’s Hope Project shirts. I hope to sell some of them before I go next week. Yes, next week. Sunday morning I’ll be on an airplane. Brian, the volunteer coming from Vermont, will arrive in Guatemala Aurora Airport one hour after I do. He should be able to spot me quite easily… I’ll be wearing my Orphan’s Hope Project shirt. Hey…. do YOU want one? Let me know and we’ll get one to you. They’re sharp!

Legal stuff…. we made progress on that this week also. The federal application papers are complete and they’re ready to go to IRS. UPS will deliver them to me on Monday. I’ll look them over, sign them and then they’ll be on their way. I expect the State to incorporate us as a non-profit around mid-May…. about the time I’ll be back in the US. Federal status might take until September or so. But we’ll do it.

RUN! Yes, I said run…. as in start running. Yes, we’re planning a fundraiser. A few of us have been brainstorming this week and we came up with the idea of a 5K (3 mile) walk, run, stroll event. It is tentatively set for October 6, 2007 and will be held in Pinole, CA. We hope to get corporate sponsors and we also hope to get the support of the City Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the Youth Commission and local businesses. There will be more on that later but it’s a good way to get our name our there, get some exercise and also make some money for the orphanage. And it’s a good way to get an Orphan’s Hope Project 5K T-Shirt. Maybe we’ll make it an annual event.

Who knows how to play flag football? Well, I don’t really remember so I contacted some organizations… looking for the rules in Spanish and in English. The IFFF (International Flag Football Federation) sent me the flag football rules… in Spanish, of course. I printed them out and made some copies to give to the older boys. I figured that the boys can read the rules, learn how to play flag football and teach the game to the younger boys. That was what I had in mind. Well, guess what? IFFF is interested in getting some of our boys (yes, the hogar boys) to the February 2008 IFFF World Cup Games in Costa Rica. They said they would look for sponsors and I guess we need to talk. I don’t know if anything will come of it but boy… wouldn’t that be something for the boys? Can you imagine taking 4 players (for 4 on 4 games) plus a few alternates on the trip of a lifetime to Costa Rica? Hey…. I would go to Costa Rica in a heartbeat. I guess I could go as one of the chaperones. Anyway, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this isn’t just a dream. It would be wonderful incentive for the boys… study hard and get good grades, get some exercise practicing a few times a week, play well, maintain good conduct and your reward is a 5 day trip to another country. Sweet! If I hear any more, I’ll let you know.

And so it goes and grows. Every contact, every mention, every talk, every t-shirt sold brings more awareness of our project and the things we’re trying to do for the boys. It’s fun to hand out my business card and have people ask me questions. They are really interested. You never know who that conversation will lead you to. We’re now at over 425 hits on the web site. And that’s in just 3 weeks time…. I say that’s pretty good.

This is how we do it !


Counting Down

Monday, April 9th, 2007

It’s Monday, April 9th. Easter is over and I’m really beginning to believe that I’m going back to the orphanage in Guatemala. On Friday, the shippers picked up a huge box filled with items… all for the boys. All of these items were donated in the past two months and it sure felt good to pack them in the box and have then sent on their way to Guatemala. The best part is I am able to get so many items to the orphanage, I don’t have to struggle with extra luggage and… now I have more storage space for newly donated items.

So, what’s in the box, you ask? Let’s see if I can remember most of the items. There are 13 hand crocheted blankets… those will go to the Peques… the boys that are the smallest. There are 151 brand new shirts for the boys, there are undershirts and underwear, 82 pairs of socks, 50 Beanie Baby toys, peanut butter, bedding supplies, 200 toothbrushes, 50 adult sized shirts, 3 balls, Sharpie pens, 47 brand new hats, approximately 75 ESL books and pamplets for teaching English to the boys, construction paper, some vegetarian food items (for me) and 50 beautiful canvas tote bags. It was so heavy and full that I couldn’t budge that box one inch. Now it’s on the way to Guatemala and will get there two days after I get there. There will be excitement in the air when the boys see that huge box.

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And what happened today? I got a Fed Ex shipment today…. 3 boxes. The Oakland Raiders did it again. They sent 8 flag football game sets… complete with 8 footballs, multi-colored flags, kicking stands and mesh bags to hold the sets. There were also 50 Raiders spiral notebooks, 50 sets of Raider stickers and 50 Raider folders. We’ll have to teach the boys how to play flag football. I need to translate the flag football rules into Spanish before I get there.

Donations received for this trip are just over $4,000. Checks are still coming in and the money will be put to good use at the orphanage. One of the projects this time is to add storage cabinets and shelves at the orphanage. We’ll also be looking at mattresses on this trip as we plan to refurbish the volunteer’s bedrooms in August. Good news ! There’s also an additional donation coming in which will allow me to purchase a top of the line computer for the admin office at the orphanage.

I also found out today that our first order of Orphan’s Hope Project shirts will be ready for pick up by the end of the week. Look at our web site in a few days and order yours right away. 100 shirts might get sold out very quickly. Don’t worry, we’ll order more if they sell as quickly as we think they will.

13 days to go….. counting down.

Diane Springer

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