Now and again, you get the chance to peek into another person’s world, contribute to their needs, and rediscover how fortunate so many of us are. As part of a recent Ingram Micro leadership retreat, several executives and 40 representatives from key Ingram Micro vendor and top solution provider partners volunteered for a day at a school in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. The Palo Escopeta School provides an elementary education for the children of the local ranchers and migrant workers that live too far away from town for their children to attend school. In an email home, one executive shared the emotions of the day, and the touching response of the school’s principal.
“There was not a dry eye at dinner last night when Paul Bay (EVP, Ingram Micro North America) announced the amount that was personally donated by executives and attendees on the trip totaled $27,500. The next morning Paul announced that the original donation had been generously matched by Microsoft, bringing the total to $56,200. So while we would have given the school 10 years of operating capital with our donation, the new total provides them with 20 years of funding. It is going to truly transform the lives of not only the kids we met while we were at the school, but children who will attend this school for the next two decades.
It was an amazing experience to visit the Palo Escopeta School and meet the children there. The school was in the middle of the desert – at least 10 degrees hotter than the temperature at the beach resorts. It is a school for the children of migrant farm workers who move from farm to farm in the course of a week. They drop their kids off on Monday and pick them up on Friday, and the kids – nearly 50 of them – stay in a dorm room the size of most of our kids’ bedrooms. While we were there, we painted the school inside and out, and the advance group who came the day before wired the school for electric fans and built cubbies where the kids can keep their belongings (before it was a suitcase or bag sitting next to their bed), among other improvements.
The education that these kids receive can change their lives and break the cycle of poverty by giving them a chance to go to college. Paul shared with us that as we rolled away, comfortable in high-end, air-conditioned vans, the principal of the school broke down in tears. They had never seen so many people willing to help and do so much for children they didn’t even know.
This was the highlight of this event for many of us, and life altering for everyone who was there.”