Newsletter of the Needham Rotary Club for November 9th, 2021
Recent and Upcoming Community Service and Social Activities:
  • Thanksgiving Dinner was delivered to 306 shut ins, up by nearly 100 meals from last year.
  • Needham Rotary Club Virtual Holiday Party: Tuesday December 14th at 6:30pm. (There will be no regular meeting that day. Please RSVP by 12/7)
Our Speaker: Kate Curran (photo below), CEO, School the World: Solving Extreme Poverty through the Power of Education
Kate founded School the World in 2009, rethinking her previous career as an attorney at GE after losing three family members in quick succession. In the following years, School the World has built and staffed 106 schools and 56 playgrounds in rural areas of Guatemala, Honduras and Panama. To accomplish that, School the World signed agreements with 7,600 parents, trained 5,300 teachers and enrolled 12,400 students. Its mission: solving extreme poverty through the power of education. School closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the crisis: while 262mm children were out of school pre-pandemic and 617mm are not proficient in reading or math; now, 1.6 billion children are missing out on in-person schooling.
School the World (STW) has a five-pillar, community school model to address the crisis. They partner with communities to create a culture centered around education and ensuring access to education from pre-school through 9th grade:
  1. Infrastructure: STW typically builds a three classroom, model school with the local community responsible to provide 50% of the cost. STW provides the remaining 50% through corporate sponsors, individual donors and fund-raising by high school students participating in STW's Global Citizenship Program.
  2.  Parent Empowerment Training: builds the skills and confidence of parents, who may not have an education, to support their child's learning in school and at home. Parents learn about goals, activities and outcomes; their rights and responsibilities; this empowers parents to hold unmotivated and delinquent teachers accountable.
  3. Teacher Training: STW seeks to inspire and upskill teachers to improve the school environment and outcomes.
  4. School Libraries:promote literacy. Over 40,000 books have been distributed to the STW schools.
  5. Power of Play: STW equips their schools with playgrounds to promote social-emotional learning.
STW has pre-school programs that get young students ready for school and they have middle school programs that address the sharp decline in enrollment that often occurs after primary school, particularly for girls. These include scholarships that include funding for supplies, uniforms and transportation. For young people that must work to support their families, STW has individual study programs with teaching and evaluation one day per week.
Through their Global Citizenship Program, STW has sent 884 high school students to Central America on service trips (with volunteer chaperones and nurses). Needham High School has sent 117 students on these missions.After a hiatus caused by the pandemic, missions will resume in Spring '22. Typically, each student group is challenged to raise 50% of the cost to build a school, playground and programming. Then, they travel to Central America to help complete construction of a school. 
There are many ways to participate in and support STW's programs. High School students, families, and corporate groups can fund-raise and travel to Central American to help complete schools under construction in the Global Citizenship Program. Volunteer nurses and chaperones are needed to support the student participants. Corporations and individuals can support STW programs using the "Donate" tab in their website: http://www.schooltheworld.org.
Our Next (Zoom) Meeting: Tuesday December 7th at noon. Our Speaker will be: Tom Day, "Ice at the North Pole"