About Me

My name is Molly Clesen and I currently work as a teacher of students with visual impairments in Springfield Public Schools. I interned for 5 weeks this summer with the Manuela Gandarillas Center for the Blind in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This was an opportunity to empower and contribute to an amazing program in this local community by working with the clients to help them complete tasks independently, teaching lessons on writing, Braille, and other techniques, and participating in games and exercises to stimulate other senses. My goal has been to keep all supporters informed with up to date information about my fundraising efforts and experiences abroad. Even though I have returned, the center for the blind continues to need support. If you would like to donate to a very worthwhile cause, please click on the "Donate" button below. Thank you and any support you can provide is very appreciated. --Molly

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Shirley, braille instructor, with a poster of the Spanish braille alphabet (left)
and a poster of the Perkins braille writer (right)
Pictures taken by Katrina Best

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Reflejos (Reflections)

I just arrived last night and am having a difficult time adjusting.  Even though it was sometimes difficult not to have the modern conveniences, it still made life much more simple.  Now being back I feel like I HAVE to have the conveniences but I know I don't need them.  I actually started to feel Bolivian and pride for the country when I was down there.  I love my country but I feel like my experience abroad has been life changing.  I thank all of you for taking this journey with me and I look forward to continuing this blog with information and updates about the Manuela Gandarillas Center for the Blind.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

I want to apologize to all the people who read my blog...it has been very disjointed and scattered (or so I feel).  This is because I typically only have about 20 minutes at the Internet Cafe to write so I am not able to write as much or as clearly as I typically would.  I´ll be able to fix and add a lot more when I return to the States so please keep following!  I plan to update my blog with information about resources regarding Spanish language Braille and the correspondance I plan to maintain with Manuela Gandarillas.

Now for the interesting stuff...
As many of you know, I celebrated my 27th birthday yesterday in Cochabamba.  It was definitely very memorable.  It started off with Katrina leaving her camera on the public taxi, her debit card not working, and neither of us had clean clothes because the laundromat closed early the night before.  When we arrived in the morning a told Sonia (the in house dentist) of our sad tale, she decided it would be a good idea to create a cuento (story) using pictures about the sad life of Katrina and I in Bolivia.  Please stay tuned for pictures when I return to the US.  It was HILARIOUS.  After our arrival, we immediately went to the orientation and mobility classroom to practice singing for this Saturday.  Right before we broke for lunch, the staff and students sang Happy Birthday to me in English AND Spanish.  It was awesome!  Then they all bum rushed me with hugs and well wishes.  I also met a very nice young lady from Japan, Anan is her name, and she speaks very little English and no Spanish.  She was there to learn about the center for the blind and also to study music with Nico.  It ended up that I have been translating between her and the Spanish speakers, which has led me to wonder if becoming a translator is something that I would like to work toward...

In the evening, Katrina and I went to dinner at Sonia´s house with the majority of the staff at MG.  We ate, we danced, and we sang, A LOT.  It was a blast!  Apparently people here eat tons when celebrating birthdays.  We had chicken, pork, rice, twice baked potatoes, vegetables, flan, and a cake also!  The food was amazing (as has been all of the delicious food we´ve gotten to try here) and the company was too. 

Just like my blog has illustrated, every day has been completely different.  Today I had the opportunity to work with the orienation and mobility instructor, Paola.  She is 28 and a ball of fire.  I really enjoy spending with her :)  We worked a lot on separating small objects and distinguishing textures because one student has issues with both fine and gross motor activities.  We also worked on marching in step and practiced the dance for the August 5th celebration at the center.  One of the activities that I thought was incredibly interesting was that Paola rolled the student with fine and gross motor issues into a bed and had her push and pull to work her way out of it to strengthen her muscles.  I was the one holding the poor kid down and I knew that if I was in the States, someone would´ve called Child Protective Services.  It´s amazing how things are different south of the equator.  Anyway, after our daily cocoa break, students from a local public school came to check out the rehab center, played music for the students, and shared a treat.  It was great because the MG students also were able to sing one of the songs that Nico wrote that talks about seeing with the eyes of their souls.  It´s really beautiful. 

Tonight we´re going to meet with the director of Sustainable Bolivia to discuss the time she spent in the Dominican Republic in the Peace Corps and also (hopefully) find out if we won the mini-grant that we applied for for MG.  The idea was to use the money to host a Capacities Clinic, where public school teachers would come to the rehab center to be taught by the staff and students about visual impairments and how they can best serve them in the public schools.  We were hoping that by making it free, more people would be likely to come.  That´s all for now!

¡Felicidades todos!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We Can Dance If We Want To...


To catch you all up on the AMAZING last few days we´ve had:

Sunday--I relaxed with my host family during the day and went to visit a man from Uruguay who makes ceramics and ask him to join us for lunch at our house.  Jhovana, my host sister, usually purchases ceramic pots, vases, etc. and paints them and then sells them at the shop she owns with her fiancé.  Again, in a time of emergency, I had to use the restroom outside.  This time, however, I had ants crawling all over me and boy was I glad that I stocked my luggage full of antibacterial hand sanitizer and tissues.  In the evening, I acted like a grown-up and went to see the 10:30pm show of Transformers with Sarah before she left on Monday.  For those of you who have not seen the movie, it may be long, but it´s GREAT!  Lots of action and great special effects.

Monday--I had the hardest time getting out of bed, as happens each and every morning, as we´re roaring into the winter in the southern hemisphere.  We arrived at work and I had the pleasure of working with the little ones, assisting the professor in calming a 3.5 year old with low vision and cerebral palsy who had a cold and who was really upset.  We ran around outside and played games with the remainder of the students in her class (4 in total).  In the latter part of the morning, we practiced singing a song that we will be recording with students and staff at a professional recording studio this Saturday.  After work, Katrina and I met Luxembourger Sarah at the archeological museum near downtown and checked out some of the excellent indigenous history Bolivia has to offer.  Next, the three amigas walked to the shop of Jhovana to look at and purchase jewelry that she makes as a hobby.  It´s amazing how inexpensive her hand-made jewelry is!  One thing that Katrina and have really tried to do while being here is support local artists, which includes the students and staff at MG (they make purses and bracelets).  In the evening, we returned home to find Pablo, Ruben, Lenny, and Linda making dinner.  We ate and had great conversations and decided to turn their living room into Discoteca Morató.  Ruben and Pablo taught Katrina and I how to do some dances and we attempted to teach them the Cha Cha Slide, haha.  I think we had more fun in the living room than we have had so far in a club.  It was free, and we didn´t have to worry about people putting ruffies in our Coke!

Tuesday (Today)--Katrina and I arrived at MG and everyone was called to practice the song that Nico wrote.  During practice, Katrina asked me to sing with her during her solo to help her with the words and tempo.  It was during that time that Nico decided that he wanted me to practice harmonizing with Cristian (the music teacher) so that Katrina and I might do a duet during two verses of the song.  The awesome thing is that I´ve never done anything like this before and am really humbled by this experience.  Not only that, we´ll be going to the best recording studio in Cochabamba to record the song and as it turns out, the boyfriend of the director of Sustainable Bolivia is the sound engineer who will be working with us!

This trip has been filled with divine appointments and the building of lasting relationships.  It is hoped that we can make a music video for the song we´ll be recording with photos that we take of the students, teachers, and additional staff who make MG the fantastic place it is.  Thanks for reading and for the continued support. You are all very near and dear to my heart and would not be here without your help.  Thanks again and thanks for watching, San Diego.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sábado de Sol (Saturday of Sun)


Today, Sarah, the Luxembourger and I, went to the Palacio Portales.  There they had an exposition of Bolivian authors with their books in Spanish.  Not only was the garden of the mansion grounds beautiful (and historical :)) but meeting the authors and talking to them about their works was so interesting!  I ended up buying 5 books (which may have been an over indulgence, haha) and having them all sign them.  After spending the better part of 2 hours at the garden/palace, I walked home and enjoyed a salteña and Fanta.  This food is similar to an empanada but has more liquid in it and is a bit messier to eat.   Upon returning home, I found our family eating lunch so we discussed my experience in the morning and Lenny and I read outside in the sun together.  I then took a power nap for 2.5 hours to prepare for a fun evening of festejar-ing (celebrating) the bon voyage of Sarah and the birthday of Carolina (a Cochabambina).   It´s been an all in all relaxing day and I´m trying to decide whether I want to scale a mountain tomorrow or go clean up outside of the Cristo de la Concordia...I guess I can always clean another weekend :)  Well this has been the latest installment of Bold Babes in Bolivia.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Integracion Escolar


This entire week we've been working diligently with the professors of school integration.  This has included transcribing Braille in Grade 2 in Spanish, teaching students how to use an abacus, and laying down the smack on kids that get out of line (KIDDING!).  The kids are a blast; they're friendly and sweet and we feel part of the MG family.  The staff are excited (as are we) to show us their resources and daily activities.  We've played goal ball, watched a socio-drama presented to the students' families about visual impairments and the need for fostering independence, and discussed upcoming festivities in the coming weeks.  Yesterday we were able to enter the public schools and see how the students are integrated into the regular education classroom.  The students looked at us like we were either white devils or white angels, touching our hair and complimenting us on our blue eyes.  They were so adorable and well mannered, rising from their chairs to say "Good Afternoon" and "good bye" when we left.  The students who are served at MG are integrated into the classrooms with almost no assistance from the itinerant teacher.  If something needs to be read or transcribed in print, then the teacher is there to help.  Otherwise, she pokes her head in to make sure everything is okay and then is off to the next classroom.  It is during the morning hours when students receive the bulk of the support/instruction from the specialists at MG.

Today we spent the majority of the day meeting with the director, Nico, to talk to him about some ideas we had for grant opportunities and how we can support MG after we return to the US.  One idea is that we would like to finance the opening of a store that sells products that the students and staff make at MG during their manual skills class.  They first have to create an inventory of products and then work with students on money and social skills.  This would be a student/staff run endeavor and it is hoped, would help earn money to create/support additional programs at the center for the blind.  In addition to this, we have also applied for a grant (Please pray that we get it!) to hold a "Capacities Clinic" that would bring as many staff as possible from the public schools to the MGCB for a one day seminar/practical experience with working with people with visual impairments.  Students and staff alike would teach the attendees how to cook, read braille, and travel while under blindfold.  It is meant to help open the eyes of the professionals who will work with the students with visual impairments so they can better assist them in the regular education classroom. As usual, time is flying, but we are creating lasting relationships with the people who live and work here and I hope to return in the future.

It's hard to believe that we only have one more week, but we are trying to make the most of it.  Tomorrow, I'll be spending time with a friend from Luxembourg who leaves on Monday and celebrating another friend's birthday.  It's really interesting how many volunteers travel here from the US and across the globe.  We also plan to see the sites of  Cochabamba before our last weekend here.

And I can't forget, next weekend, July 30, we'll be hitting the recording studio with the students and staff to record a song that Nico and Cristian wrote called Los Derechos Humanos (Human Rights), that will be played during their annual educational fair in September when representatives of blind centers across Bolivia come to share information.

That's all for now, peace and chicken grease!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Apoyo, apoyo, y más apoyo (support, support, and more support)

Thanks District #186 for supporting the trip and by spreading the news about the IT article by putting it on the district´s website.  I look forward to seeing you all this August!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Is someone at the door?

Today Katrina and I started working with students and helping to organize the classrooms of the profes.  We are known there as Profe Molly and Profe Katrina, which is really exciting.  We helped hang posters and create a poster containing all of the qualities that students graduating from MGCB should gain in order to be successful.  During this time, we met Daniela, Adriana, and Alejandra, three of the silliest, sweetest girls in the world.  Two are totally blind and one has low vision and all were working diligently on their homework to prepare for their integration into the public school later in the afternoon.  Each day works the same: they go to the blind center for instruction in the morning and then they join their same age peers in the public school for academics.  I was assigned to help Andrea draw a picture of the creation of the Earth and the baptism between John the Baptist and Jesus.  As a true 12 year old, she asked me what I would like to draw for HER assignment.  Profe Mari had to continually remind her that she was not going to fool me, that I was a teacher in the States.  This behavior quickly subsided.  After helping her draw her picture, she thought it would be funny to knock on the table and say that there was someone at the door.  Apparently trouble makers are not limited to adolescent American boys, haha.  Today was one of the best days we´ve had.  All of them have been great with something different to witness and experience but it´s when I´m able to connect with the kids and work with them that I feel most comfortable and like I´m fulfilling a purpose.

This experience has not gone without its challenges but we continue to take it all in stride.  I miss taking long, hot showers and no longer take for granted that bathrooms may not have an actual toilet to sit on or toilet paper and that sometimes, you have to pay to stand and pee into a hole in the ground.  I definitely appreciate more the luxuries that we experience in the US and am building great friendships with the people who live here and the travelers volunteering with Sustainable Bolivia who come from all over the world.

Saludos y abrazos,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Divine Appointments and Purple Monkeys

¡Hola Ladies and Germs!

It´s been a fun and exciting weekend.  Friday started with a morning of Goal Ball with the staff, where I was injured by the director after I tried to block the goal ball from passing and ended up with a gash on my shin.  He thought it was HILARIOUS to ask where someone was and then throw the ball at her.  Great guy :)  Anyway, in the afternoon, we went home and then went to see Harry Potter 7 Part 2.  AMAZING.  The next morning, we went met up for Chapare to go to Villa Tunari, a quiet tourist town in the jungle.  The drive there was so picturesque, it literally looked like something out of Jurassic Park.  The trees were beautiful and the clouds as we decended out of the valley into the lower elevation.  Upon arrival, we found a hostal and decided to go to a park to hike and look for a place to swim.  We jumped over rocks containing jumping man-eating spiders in order to enter the river.  It was cold but some of the clearest, cleanest water I´ve seen in awhile.  We hung out at the hotel, which was more like a nature preserve, until the evening and returned to our very inexpensive ($3.50 per night) hostal.  The next morning, we woke up and went to Parque Machia, which is a tried and true nature preserve.  We had to pay for entrance and to carry cameras, but the money goes to caring for the wildlife that live there.  This was one of the neatest experiences I´ve ever had.  It was extremely hot and lacking a cool breeze, but we trekked up and down the paths in the jungle and took in the sights of monkeys and army ants carrying pieces of leaves to their nests.  Sadly, one of our friends from Sustainable Bolivia had been bitten by a monkey during a previous trip so we were very cautious about how close we got to the wildlife.  It was amazing that so many parents and kids kept picking up the monkeys and walking down the trails with them, without fear.  Only in Bolivia I think...haha.

The adventure continued with a 2 hour wait to catch a trufi (public taxi) back to Cochabamba.  The return was beautiful until we experienced torrential downpours and saw cars parked on the side of the road.  People flagged down our vehicle and a woman opened our trunk and screamed, "Our friend is dying, our friend is dying!  Can you please take him and my son with you to the nearest hospital?"  Not sure what the expect, some people helped move the man into the front seat of the car and we crammed four adults and a very scared 8 year old into the back seat of our van.  I was really afraid at the start that the man was gushing blood or had severed a limb.  It turned out that he was okay, they suspected that he might have had a concussion.  Jay, a friend from Sustainable Bolivia, who came with us to Chapare, happened to be an EMT and kept close watch over the man in the front seat while Katrina and I tried to calm the little boy.  We asked him all types of questions to try to take his mind off of what was happening and in doing so, I accidentally asked him if he saw purple monkeys at Parque Machia.  It ended up being pretty good comic relief because amidst his wailing, he paused briefly to ask me if I had seriously seen purple monkeys.  I had meant to say "brown", but for some reason, I confuse the two words, haha.  We arrived at the hospital in Colomi and the man was rushed to the big hospital by ambulance in Cochabamba.  We continued to remainder of our very long trip and arrived at about 9pm Sunday night.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Los cerros

Hola gente!

Greetings from Cochabamba.  So life has been pretty interesting since we have spoken last.  We have officially worked at MG for over 1 week and still awaiting the arrival of the students after their "winter" vacation.  I am the tannest I have ever been in the winter time here in bolivia.  Haha.  Katrina and I have thrown ourselves into our work and after our day of work on the guide, we spoke with Armando and Mari about how we can implement this guide and make it appropriate for Manuela Gandarillas.  This was very difficult because we tried to understand and express our ideas in Spanish but this did not always work as effectively as we would have liked. The other thing is that we are the ONLY Spanish speaking vision professionals to work with the MGCB from the US, or so we were told.  We have gotten to share a lot about our experiences and learned a lot about the system of education here as well.  It is very interesting that students who ONLY have a visual impairment or who are blind are served in the public schools.  If they have multiple impairments, they are served at separate schools.  Sadly, I was out sick because of something I ate, serves me right for becoming complacent, so I didn not go to work.  Yesterday after work, Katrina and I visited FAPIZ, a semi-private center that serves people with multiple impairments and teaches teachers Braille, orientation and mobility, and activities of daily living.

Anyway, on to the cerros (tops of mountains)...today we went to the country with our coworkers for a day of relaxation.  This included taking 2 different trufis (public taxis) to the complete other side of the valley and up into the hills.  We rode on the scariest road I have ever been on in my entire life.  There was a bridge of wood that I thought we were going to fall through and with the crazy roads, I felt like I was on an episode of IRT Most Dangerous Roads.  Upon arrival, I had a serious need to use the baño.  To my dismay not only did it cost 1 Boliviano to use it, but there was no place to sit.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we I had to pay to STAND while going to the restroom.  So instead, I decided to go to the woods with my partner in crime and squat againt a tree.  I ended up with bark in my underroos and a scratchy derrierre.  After our game of spin the bottle (asked questions when the bottle pointed to you in order to get to know the staff), we walked from the top of the mountain down to the closest city with paved roads.  I think it ended up being about 7 kilometers or more.  Next time they ask me if I want to wait for the bus (which I thought we were going to catch later) I am going to give a resounding YES!  So tomorrow we will continuing our work and enjoying api and buñuelos and then after, a quick teeth cleaning from the dentist on staff at the blind center.  Just a regular day in Bolivia...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mucho Trabajo!


So we successfully shared in very broken Spanish everything we could about the education system in the US for people with visual impairments.  There was a lot of great information shared between the US teachers and Bolivia and it has been very interesting to learn about the way things work here.  After two very tiring days of sharing, we went to the blind center today and were given our next project.  The director has requested that Katrina and I create a "how to guide" for school integration to be used at the Manuela Gandarillas Center for the Blind.  We´re going to begin by making a table of contents and then flesh out the remaining part with two of the teachers who specialize in school integration.  It´s going to be a lot of work, but we have the time because apparently it´s too cold for kids to go to school here, even though it´s usually about 70-80 degrees each day.    It´s freezing in the morning and at night but it´s usually nice and sunny during the day.  Since we have the break, we´ll be going to the campo in order to "relax" with the other teachers. It sounds like  we´ll be  having a lot of fun and playing games and things before the students return next week.  Anyway, I will be posting pictures and a letter about what we´re doing soon.  Unfortunately, we are not supposed to upload pictures during work hours because it really slows down the internet connection.  This weekend we´re going to try and relax because it seems that we spend a lot of time hurrying from one place to another and enjoying time with the other volunteers from other countries.  Well I´ll update you all soon!


Illinois Times Article

Here's the website for the news article in the IT.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The 4th of July and other adventures...


Since I wrote last, Katrina and I have met the director of the Manuela Gandarillas Center for the Blind, gotten lost, almost set the host family´s house on fire, and played walleyball with some Bolivians.  Needless to say, the last 4 days have been eventful.  On July 2, Katrina and I decided to make dinner for our host family to celebrate the 4th of July.  In true American fashion, we figured we would make burgers, fries, and apple pie.  Well, while making the burgers and fries, I picked up the pan and accidentally spilled some oil into the flame of the GAS stove.   Huge flames rose and Boliviama (our host mom, Nancy) came to the rescue.  We had a nice laugh about it for the next few days.  Sunday was a fantastic day also.  We had a huge meal of chorizo and carrot salad.  We sat around outside drinking wine and playing music with Ruben and Pablo (the friends of Lenny, the youngest daughter).  Shortly after that, Katrina and I went to play walleyball at a gymnasium and then we returned home to eat and go to mass.  Yesterday, we literally worked all day on a presentation that the director, Nicodemes, asked us to complete and share with the teachers at the blind center about the system of education of the visually impaired in the US.  It has been an amazing experience in communicating in Spanish and also a great opportunity to build connections between the program here and the one in the US.  We present tomorrow and both Katrina and I are a bit nervous, but I´m sure all will go well.  I mean what´s the worst that could happen?  They kick us out of the country?  Anyway, Saludos y Abrazos, I miss you all very much!


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Estamos aquí!

¡Hola de Bolivia!

Day one was fantástico!  We arrived in Cochabamba at 7:30am and the director of Sustainable Bolivia picked us up at the airport, Michelle.  We hung out at the home office for the morning and met LOTS of international travelers who will be volunteering with the organization.  We've met people from all over the US, Luxembourg, and the UK.   So far everyone has been  very nice and the vibe here is great!  After resting and touring the house/office, we went to meet our host family.  It is comprised of a husband, wife, and 3 daughters.  We've eaten great food, including ápi (thick, hearty drink made of quineoa, corn, cinnamon, and a little sugar) and buñuelos (a pastry made of white flour) for dinner and potato soup for lunch.  Communication with the family has  been fairly easy and they are very understanding. Katrina and I share a very large room and are living in what we have lovingly named  El Jardín de Secreto (The Secret Garden).  When I post pictures, you will understand why we call it this :)  Tonight, we are going to a conference that was arranged by  our sister, Linda, and listen to a speaker talk about internet safety and security and the importance of protecting personal information that one might post on different sites (i.e.: Facebook).  Tomorrow we will have a tour of the city and then go to work at the M.G Center for the Blind.  I should be able to update and the site and call the US a few times a week as SB has a computer and phone that is free for use and there are plenty of places to pay for time on the internet.  That's all for now everyone, adios!                  

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bon Voyage!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) I leave for Bolivia from Chicago.  We'll be stopping off in Miami and then heading to La Paz on an overnight flight.  After that, we'll be going to Cochabamba and then heading to our host family's residence.  Talk to you all when I reach the other side of the world!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

IAER and the Illinois Times

T minus 5 days before lift off to Bolivia!  Sadly, amidst all the hubbub and excitement of the end of the school year, I neglected to mention that the Illinois Chapter of AER granted a stipend of $500 to the trip!  They only asked that I write an article to be posted in the IAER newsletter when I return.  Not a bad deal if you ask me...thank you to the Board of IAER!  

Also, I met with a reporter today from the Illinois Times and he is doing a story on the trip.  This should go to print (available in paper format and online) July 7th.  He will email me to let me know for certain and then I will be sure to post a link to the article.  

Well, I have just about everything packed.  My largest suitcase is already halfway filled with medicine, toiletries, books, and donated items.  I hardly have room for my clothes!  Maybe I should just forego the clothes and go for the birthday suit...it'd be easier when they do the cavity search in customs...

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I'm very excited to report that the American Printing House for the Blind is sending a package of materials to donate to the Bolivia center for the Blind!  I'm not sure what they are yet, so it'll be like Christmas in June!  This will help increase the distance of the $100 that supporters have given specifically for materials.  Ya-hooey!  I love this field and the giving nature of the people in it :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

There's no need to fear...

Katrina Best is going to be there!  Katrina is officially coming with me!  Lots of pics and postings to follow after we leave June 28.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

So far so good...

Travel Medications...Check
Plane tickets to and from Bolivia...Check
Bug spray...check

The grand total raised so far is $1700!  I am very excited but also a little nervous about taking this adventure.  This is the first time that I will be going to a foreign country without family or friends.  This will be the ultimate test of my wits, as I haven't spoken Spanish in some time.  Instead, I've been preoccupied with studying for my Orientation and Mobility certification test, which I take June 22.  God willing, everything will continue to go as well as it has and this will be the experience of a lifetime.

Stay tuned ladies and germs...

Giving til there's nothing left...

Thanks to all who gave and volunteered for the 50/50 raffle last night at the East Peoria Throwdown Mixed Martial Arts fights.  The original split was to be $206 for Bolivia, and $206 for the lucky ticket number drawn during the intermission.  As a great surprise, the winner, a doctor from OSF in Peoria on staff for the show, donated the money BACK to the pool, making the total to the cause $412!  THEN, my very caring boyfriend donated the money that he earned as a referee that evening, making the GRAND TOTAL $540!  

Also, I want to thank Seedlings Braille Books for Children for giving 6 children's books already adapted in braille.  These books have both Spanish and English print and Spanish and English braille.  They are an amazing organization, with a program that kids can sign up for to receive two free braille books each year.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Thank you very much to those of who you have been supportive of this endeavor financially and in prayer.  God is really helping to make all of the pieces come together!  So far you have given $1000!  You're awesome!

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Hey Everyone!

This is where I'll be keeping you updated on my fundraising progress and eventually, my weekly experiences in the beautiful country of Bolivia.  The estimated total cost for the trip is about $2800.  The breakdown is as follows:

$500  = Room and board and meals
$1600 = Airfare
$300 = Vaccinations
$130 = Traveler’s insurance
$200 = Essentials such as medicine, personal care items, laundry etc.
$135 = Bolivian Tourist Visa

Total = 2765

Anything you can provide would be greatly appreciated! Thanks and I look forward to taking this journey with you!