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Highlights from Adopt-A-School April 2015

Despite very high water this year, the 2015 Adopt-A-School deliveries and community service project went off without a hitch. With 19 volunteers for Week #1 and nine for Week #2--plus numerous CONAPAC, Detroit Zoo, and Explorama support personnel--our teams were able to deliver to 53 communities, representing 103 schools (53 primary, 38 Kindergarten, and 12 high school). Many communities were required to come to our central delivery site off the Amazon Queen riverboat, but everyone had the spirit of goodwill and cooperation in this extra effort. All the schools received classroom supplies and almost 3,000 students and teachers received personal packets of books and school supplies.  
Week #2 volunteers worked with community members in Nuevo San Juan del Amazonas. Earlier this year during dry season, concrete platforms were built. These platforms are the bases for a new community kitchen, school, bathrooms, and a rainwater catchment system. Due to the flooding, the water was right up to the front door and even entered the floorboards during our workdays. The team made a significant amount of progress on these improvements and finishing up will take place in the next few weeks. Special thanks to Adopt A Village International, a US non-profit of Colorado Springs, CO. This group funded the project and board member Karen Yuan and her husband Brad joined us for the building project. Members of the Brighton, Michigan Rotary Club and volunteers from around the country were part of the work team in Nuevo San Juan.
While the adults were working hard, the students were attending all-day sessions at the CONAPAC Amazon Library. Each morning, 24 students were picked up and transported across the river by open boat to the library. Their days were filled with reading time, crafts, games, movies, and other fun activities. Lunch was included each day and the kids really enjoyed the menu of juanes (leaf-wrapped rice and chicken), chips, fruit, and juice.

Help from an old friend

In February we told you the REACH for Books story and how Tom Payne was committed to visiting us again and helping our programs. It was great fun having him with us for a week the end of March. He's reconnecting with the libraries and the jungle. Last here in 3rd grade--he's now a junior in high school. He's planning a big promo once he returns home, with videos and other social media tools. He and our Peruvian helper team had great fun working together on making student and teacher packets for Adopt-A-School delivery weeks.

What our Rotary Scholar Andrea Asipali has to say about her year in the US.

My year in the US is awesome and it wouldn't be awesome without the help that CONAPAC is giving me. The experience I'm living now is such a great chance to know about a new culture and new people, also a new language. This is the year of my life. I felt comfortable since the day I got to Fremont and stayed with a host family. The place I like the most to spend my time was the school, going to school and studying was awesome. I say school was awesome because I got out of school today. When I was still in the school I could talk to people from my age and learn new things and practice the language. I'm open to everything, and when I say everything, that means that I try everything that my host family offers me.
I feel like this year is changing me. I mean it's changing me in a good way as a person. I'm more open to talk in public, and I feel proud when I talk about my country. That's the thing I like the most during this year in the US, representing my country and talking about its culture. Also, I talk about the small community where I grew up, and how the people are in the Amazon rainforest. I'm already 8 months here and it's getting closer to the time to return home. I couldn't describe this amazing experience which I'm living now. I'm so grateful to CONAPAC and  I hope they keep helping people and giving them the chance to experience new things in life. Thank you so much.

Andrea Asipali
GoFundMe Opportunity--Jhon Christian--Rotary Exchange Scholarship
Jhon is from the small rainforest village of Sapo Playa. He has been selected to participate in a Rotary International Exchange in Canada for the 2015-2016 school year. CONAPAC has started a campaign at to help Jhon realize this dream of studying abroad. Jhon graduated from high school in December 2014, first in his class. He is the second of six children. His family survives on subsistence farming and fishing. Jhon loves learning and takes advantage of every opportunity that comes his way. He enjoys playing the guitar and reading. He volunteers in the small local library, helping children learn to read. Jhon says that one of the most exciting things about studying abroad will be returning home to share all that he has learned with his family and his community.
After several flat years, Adopt A School donations were on the rise this year. Through the Detroit Zoo and direct donations to CONAPAC, over $90,000 has been received for the program. This will enable us to re-implement our annual community/educator workshops, as they were cancelled last year due to funding shortfalls. In fact, this year we are expanding from three days to four, including a full day for clean water education for teachers and communities leaders alike. Many other new topics and exciting teaching tools have been added to bring new ideas to these annual workshops.
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CONAPAC is a Peruvian non-profit organization whose mission is to promote conservation of the rainforest through education of its stewards, the people who live along the Amazon and Napo Rivers. Our centerpiece project is the Adopt-A-School program, which is strengthened by workshops and complemented by service and sustainable projects in river communities.
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