Brigette J Hurst

Costa Rica July 2019

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 “Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.” –Kathy Calvin

Dear Family and Friends,

In this time of my life, I have found myself searching for solace in seeking out things I can do to create a positive change in the world around me. After the life-changing opportunity I had traveling with a team of teachers from my school district to South Africa two summers ago and traveling to Costa Rica last summer, I cannot wait to jump back into another opportunity to share my professional work and experience with another group of educators around the world. This summer, I have the opportunity to work in urban San Jose, Costa Rica where families struggle with daily hardships attributed to living in poverty, such as the lack of access to a quality education. This will be my second trip to this area and I greatly look forward to extending our work from last summer with the amazing community of leaders and educators.

Children growing up in this area face unique challenges and the teachers often do not have the training to address their academic or social/emotional needs. We will be preparing and presenting professional development workshops for teachers who work with students from schools located in the township. This area of extreme need is beset with families who struggle with daily hardships from lack of running water in their homes to lack of access to quality employment. Our visit is also timely as the country’s curriculum and public education has required the inclusion of students with special needs for the very first time. As a team, we will help facilitate awareness and teaching tools to help the educators within San Jose prepare and implement special education strategies in their daily practices.

As a team, we are also studying Eric Jensen’s book, "Teaching with Poverty in Mind" to help us prepare appropriate materials to adequately address the needs described by the teachers. As we spend time with educators and community leaders we will also gain an understanding of the challenges they face and learn from their experiences.  I am sure the learning will be mutual and many relationships will be established that will continue to foster our global initiative. 

Since we will be learning about the history and culture of the community in which we will work, I will also be looking for ways that I can bring this experience back into my own classroom and develop connections within my curriculum where possible. Poverty, culture dissonance and hardships affect each of our schools in various ways. Upon return, I will be sharing our experiences in Costa Rica with the Grove Elementary staff. I will also be providing strategies that Barrington 220 teachers can implement to engage diverse learners effectively. I am so excited for this opportunity to be of service, sharing my passion for teaching and helping children.

Each team member has been asked to raise funds to cover the expenses and resources for this service opportunity.  I am wondering if you would like to be a part of my support team and help me raise these funds? This is a volunteer service trip facilitated by the non-profit organization INGAGE UNLIMITED. All contributions are 501(c)3 tax deductible donations, and they can be made online at Just select the project, Costa Rica, and then you can put your donation amount in the field next to my name. Your donation will assist with our travel and provide support for the teachers, families, and students with whom we engage along the way. I will also be sending out Tweets, pictures, and video updates following the trip to share about our experience.  Please let me know if you have any questions!

Thank you so much for your consideration.

With gratitude,

Brigette Hurst

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