Refugio


November 13, 2016 | Melissa Weissenberger

Since the school year started back in August, I’ve been in a continual process of evaluating all of my responsibilities. I’ve prayed through the needs of our school and whether or not some of my responsibilities can be delegated to other people who are more capable or available at the moment.

Essentially, I’ve been learning how to say “no”.

All of that being said, as I’ve refocused myself on my core responsibilities and have begun to create healthy margin in my life, a new opportunity has popped up which I’m surprisingly excited about.

The Refugio

One of my seniors came in contact with a local dog rescue named Refugio Esperanza (literally translated as Hope Refuge). They actively rescue abused or neglected dogs, especially street dogs, and rehabilitate them for adoption. Street dogs are an epidemic here–you can’t drive through a neighborhood without having at least five dogs jumping out into the street.

I supervised a team of students who went to the Refugio on our Servant Day at the end of October.

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We spent the day helping to clean their property so that they can eventually have a better environment to host and care for more dogs.

The next week, I accepted my student’s offer to become the teacher sponsor for the club she wanted to start, and yesterday Chris and I drove a couple of the club members out to the Refugio.

Catharsis

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We spent a few hours helping to repair and clean a portion of one of their larger gated compounds. We also leashed a few dogs and walked them over to some volunteers who were administering vaccines. By the time Chris and I came home last night, we were fairly physically exhausted, but I felt emotionally rejuvenated.

Watching my students grow an appreciation for a local organization and willingly spend their free time performing manual labor to help that local organization brings me an immense amount of joy. I love being able to facilitate the emotional growth of my students as they develop into world citizens.

Aside from the fact that animals are a kind of emotional therapy for me.

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How can you not emotionally heal from a hard week while looking at this face?

Our club will be hosting a fundraiser at school tomorrow morning, selling cinnamon rolls and coffee before school, in order to purchase needed supplies for the Refugio. My club president, who started this whole thing, is feeling a bit discouraged as she has not seen a passionate interest or response from her club constituents.

Would you pray for them? Around 15 students in total have expressed interest so far, but only a few have shown true commitment. This is one opportunity that they have to explore the world around them and to see themselves as change makers. They need the motivation and the discipline to give up some of their free time, but I know that it will be rewarding to all who choose to participate. I am excited to see how this group of students grows and bonds over time and I will attempt to keep you all updated as we continue on this special journey.


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