“Dots" trip to take on new emphasis this summer

Authored by Jim Langham on Feb 17, 2014

Students who travel to Haiti in June for this year’s “Dots in Blue Water” mission trip will have a new dimension in the outreach purpose.
In addition to installing more water purification systems, students will be joining with local workers to install computers and a wi-fi network at a local school which is part of the Ebeneezer Evangelical Mission complex.
“Kids will have access to the wi-fi; teachers will have access to the wi-fi,” said Myron Schwartz, local educator, who along with Mike Baer, will once again lead the effort.
Schwartz said that students at South Adams will be able to connect with the Haitian students through Skype to communicate and compare learning experiences.
“They will actually be able to share together by Skype,” said Schwartz. “Funding for all of this has come from the South Adams community.”
This past Saturday, community supporters came together for the annual coffee and concert fundraiser, featuring the South Adams Jazz Band and numerous talented local students.
Schwartz said that, as of Sunday afternoon, the event had raised an unofficial total of $2,500 toward this summer’s trip.
Schwartz said that there will be two trips pertaining to this year’s project, a little trip, involving an organizational trip with Baer and Alissa McMillan in March and then the “big trip” in June.
“They (Baer and McMillan) are going down to take a look at the work and make preparation for it,” said Schwartz. “Much of the money for the “Dots” effort over the past several years has actually come from many efforts planned by students to raise the money.
“Through today, from the very first trip until now, students have raised $175,000 to carry out this mission,” said Schwartz, who noted that money needed for each trip is approximately $50,000.
“The majority of that money has come from the community. It is amazing; we are not a wealthy area,” Schwartz said.
In addition to installing more water systems, the group will be taking a look at last year’s installations.
“Last year we put in a 1,200 gallon tank water purifier,” Schwartz said. “They’ve had good water there now for a whole year. This is the first time that we’ve installed computers. There are some kids who are going who are very interested and thinking of going into computer science. This is a hands on opportunity for them.”
Something new in this year’s trip is going to be the installation of a windmill, Amish size, that will churn clean water for the entire village of Derger. Schwartz said steps to providing clean water through the wind turbine involves capping the old well, established a source of pure water and then connecting that source with the windmill to be pumped to the village.
“Instead of taking a windmill down to them, we are going to build it out of their own materials down there; our students will be training them to do it. If we use local labor with their material, it helps their local economy,” Schwartz said.
Also at Saturday’s meeting, Dots officials introduced a fund-raising opportunity for both corporate and individual sponsorships.
Schwartz noted that the fund-raiser is based on four different giving levels; family, $100, $250, $500 and $1,000 and corporate, $1,000, $2,500, $5,000 and $10,000.
Schwartz noted that the highest corporate level, also referred to as the “life level,” will enable those business to have stickers representing their business installed on water purification parts as they are installed in Haiti.
Schwartz noted that for further information on the fundraising campaign, dial up dotsinbluewater.com, the organization’s website.
“The marketing class in high school is going to pick this up and do a whole marketing campaign with it,” observed Schwartz. “This will enable them to take on a real life situation project and work on it.
“This entire project is being used as a teaching tool in certain classes in South Adams,” said Schwartz.

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