Tuesday, March 11, 2008

From the Heart...

My name is Daniel, I moved to Douglas, AZ for a job August of 2006. After a few months of getting situated as an administrator in the local school district, I was looking to get involved in the community or a charity. I was unsure of what I wanted to get involved in and came across an article about The Starfish Difference in the local paper.

The article talked about a group of senior citizens that were taking the time to help the very needy in the border town next to Douglas called Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico. Having been to "AP" and seeing some of the poverty, I read the article. I read about what they were
doing to make a difference in people's lives. I was intrigued about the man who had climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro at the age of 79, so I called him and made an appt. to meet with him.

I met Carl and the other man with him, Nile. They were more than happy to meet with me at my school. After talking with them, I decided to go with them one day as they made their "rounds" in AP. All it took was one trip and I was hooked. I am convinced that anyone that takes
the time will be hooked after just one trip. I met many needy people that day as we rounds giving out food and candy here and there to the young ones. Each of them were humble and very grateful. I was offered tortillas, which I knew was all some of them had, but to turn it down would have been disrespectful.

After this one trip, I have become very involved in helping these people. I was very impressed that the goal was not to give them things but to help those who were trying to help themselves. There is not a week that goes by that I do not go across at least once or twice a week. I don't go just to take things but to see how the people we come across are doing. I have made many friends and although the language barrier is tough at times, I know we understand each other. They have given me just as much as we have given them.

As the Assistant Principal at a local high school I had put many pictures of the people that I met on my trips in my office. There were pictures of Angel, the young boy born with no legs and one arm but a great outlook and smile. Gabriella, Narciso and family (pictured in the previous paragraph), who help their neighbors as much as we help them. Rosa who has been diagnosed with cancer (pictured below), her daughters (one of whom is pictured at the beginning of this post) and so many more. Many questions were asked about the charity and soon I had many students who wanted to help. I formed a club and the high school students have been an integral part of helping The Starfish Difference. These are students who have family or friends and have been to AP many times but have not seen the poverty. They helped put on the thanksgiving feast and the Christmas caravan. They have helped raise money to help with resources.

The bottom line for me is we are making a difference one family at a time. The more we help the more we come across more families in need of help. It seems sometimes it is a never ending process but seeing the smiles, the appreciation from people and knowing that they we have
made a little difference makes it all worthwhile.

We say we help make a difference in people's lives but in all honesty, these people have made a difference in my life.