by Paul Haliburton
SchoolBOX volunteers held the 9th edition of their annual Latin Fiesta on Friday, October 3, 2014, at the Almonte Civitan Hall.
By all accounts the event was a huge success with over 200 supporters on hand and over $17,000 raised from tickets sales, donations and the proceeds of a huge silent auction featuring genuine Central American arts and crafts. The amount raised is enough to construct a classroom in Nicaragua. To-date, SchoolBOX has constructed 60 schools in Nicaragua.
Suspense ensued as attendees competed for valuable items during a live auction.
This year, SchoolBOX also intends to deliver 10 new mini-libraries to partner schools and distribute 16,078 educational packages to students and teachers in 84 communities across Nicaragua. In Nicaragua, school libraries are very rare and teachers crave books in order to communicate to students in fun and creative ways. Nicaraguan children love reading books and the books unleash their imaginations and serve as a way to inspire them!
Ronald Chavarria, SchoolBOX’s Nicaraguan Director of Operations made a special appearance at the event. He travelled all the way from Nicaraugua to personally thank all the supporters in the Almonte area for their continued support. He was emotional as he spoke to the attendees from the area who helped launch SchoolBOX. Tom Affleck, founder of SchoolBOX and Sarah Kerr, SchoolBOX’s Executive Director were also in attendance. Fern Martin did an amazing job in her role as the master of ceremonies.
The evening featured song, dance and great food; all with a Latin-theme. The Civitan Hall resembled an outdoor Nicaraguan café with candle lit tables set up around a central dance floor where attendees could sip wine, dance and mingle with friends. The walls were decorated with photos featuring Nicaraguan students, artifacts, Latin memorabilia and items available at the silent auction.
Salsa lessons were provided by Tania & Rick’s Dance Studio and SchoolBOX supporters were all smiles as they danced the night away to the Latin sounds and rhythms of the band Azucar Jam.
Almonte is considered by many to be the home of SchoolBOX and SchoolBOX’s on-going success is directly attributable to the support of the people of Almonte.
Plans for next year’s Latin Fiesta are already underway and organizers are confident they can once again transport everyone to Central America, even if only for a few hours. Stay tuned to Millstone for details on the next Latin Fiesta. We can’t wait to see you there!