Stanwich’s Faculty Humanitarian Grant program was instituted in the 2006-07 school year to provide grants to support the faculty’s charitable work abroad.
2017 - Paula Brock - Kindergarten Teacher - Sri Lanka
In the summer of 2017, Paula spent two weeks in Kandy, Sri Lanka working as a volunteer at a local preschool through the organization, International Voluteers Headquarters. During her time at the Pubudu First Friend Pre-School, Paula applied her teaching experience and knowledge of early childhood education to teach English to twenty-five students between the ages of 3 and 5 years old. “The school contained one room and had few modern amenities and educational materials; however, the teachers’ resourcefulness and commitment to their students was very admirable,” says Paula. “After school each day, I also conducted small group lessons for local village kids seeking help in English. I worked with students ranging from 5 to 13 years old on grammar, writing, and conversation skills. The students’ enthusiasm and gratitude for learning as much as they could from me was truly inspiring. I left Sri Lanka with a full heart, and a tremendous sense of joy and eagerness to continue volunteering.”
2013 - Chris Hughes - Upper School History Teacher - Northern Ireland
Chris spent two weeks during the summer volunteering in integrated Protestant and Catholic schools in Northern Ireland assisting in conflict resolution programs.
Chris shares, “Northern Ireland today is a divided society, with 90% or more of students attending segregated schools. Many people, both in urban and rural areas, live in segregated neighborhoods. Over the course of two weeks in June, I worked with Peace Players International. Most of my work was related to their primary school twinnings program that matches classes of students ages 8-11 from neighboring Protestant and Catholic schools. These schools come together for eight weeks of basketball and community relations in mixed groups. Children play in integrated teams in a “game of three halves” in which they get coaching in Gaelic football, rugby, and soccer and then play games. Basketball is seen as a neutral sport there while Gaelic football is associated with the Catholic community and rugby with the Protestant community. The students get to work with each other in learning new sports and competing. After the competitions, all of the kids are brought together to talk about stereotypes, conflict, and what they learned.”
2012 - Cristin Robb- Grade 4 Teacher - Thailand
In the summer of 2012, Cristin headed to Surin, Thailand to work with Starfish Ventures, a growing non-profit organization that provides volunteer projects in the areas of health, childcare, wildlife conservation, community development and teaching. Cristin volunteered in an elephant sanctuary and also took part in community work including planting crops and creating vegetable gardens, which allowed her to make many connections that she brought back to share with our community.
2010 - Kate Galiani - Upper School English Teacher - Peru
In the summer of 2010, Kate spent two weeks in Lima, Peru working as a volunteer with the organization, Cross-Cultural Solutions. During her trip, Kate taught conversational English in the local elementary and secondary schools.
2009 - Beth Ramaley - Grade 1 Teacher - Peru
Beth spent three weeks in Chimbote, Peru working as a volunteer with the Incarnate Word Missionaries. During her trip, she used her Stanwich School experience to perform speech, reading and writing evaluations with school age children. In addition, Ramaley worked with handicapped children and adults, as well as visited hospice patients and orphaned children. I knew this experience was going to be mind opening, but I never expected to walk away with such a sense of joy knowing how much of an impact I made in such a short time.
2008 - In honor of the school's 10th anniversary, the Board awarded two grants to different faculty members, each of whom had proposed trips to Rwanda.
Shaun Fletcher, Upper School Science Teacher - Rwanda
Shaun traveled to Rwanda, searching for a project that Stanwich could support on a long-term basis. In Cyabatanzi, a rural Rwandan village that was in dire need, he found it. Working with village leaders, a plan was established, and named “Project Blessing.” Since then, Shaun has returned each year with teams of students and alumni, building a well, classrooms and a playground. Today, "Project Blessing" is its own charitable organization, supported by Stanwich families and the students who continue to work with Shaun each summer.
Elizabeth Crawford, Primary House Music and Drama Teacher - Rwanda
For Stanwich teacher Elizabeth Crawford, a trip to Rwanda was the culmination of a dream to travel to Africa to teach elementary-age children. Crawford spent two weeks at the Kaguga School in Rwanda, a school of 3,300 students in grades 1 to 6. Through the International Education Exchange, non-profit organization aimed at improving the primary education system in Rwanda through four initiatives: Teacher Training Program, Pen Pal Program, Social Enterprise Initiative, and Infrastructure Assessment, Crawford taught English, music and dance at the Kaguga School. "The children love to greet and touch you. They just want to be close to you," said Crawford. "The highlight of my trip was getting to meet the child that I sponsor through World Vision. I instantly knew it was her when I saw her wearing the green flip-flops that I had mailed to her. It was a special moment." With funds from a Stanwich School fundraiser, Crawford was able to donate instruments and a sound system to the school, where 20 percent of children are the heads of their household because their parents were killed in the Rwandan genocide
2007 - Jane Graham, Art Teacher - Ghana
Stanwich School art teacher Jane Graham spent three weeks in the summer of 2007 teaching children in Ghana, a coastal country in western Africa, but she needed less than a day to feel at home. I felt completely welcomed from that very first day, said Graham. Thanks to the school's new Board of Trustees' Humanitarian Grant, Graham was sponsored to travel with the Global Volunteers organization to teach English and arts and crafts to middle school children. Graham was sent in late July with supplies donated by Stanwich's Intermediate House students. Graham taught a class of 45 teenagers, a rather daunting thing, but she said the experience was unforgettable." The kids were so enthusiastic and so eager to learn. It's inspiring because they have to work so hard with so little ... They had this whole separate life they had to take care of," Graham said. Graham said she didn't know much about Ghana before she went, but has since come to appreciate the country, which has a population of about 23 million. "I love the community spirit," Graham said. While in Africa, Graham came across Global Mamma's a fair trade organization in Cape Coast, Rwanda - area size of Oregon with 21 million people. Graham stopped in a store that sells Batik prints made by local artists last year and was compelled to return to Rwanda to work with local woman making Batik fabrics. In the summer of 2008, Graham helped to design patterns that were used to make fabric for clothing and tablecloths. "I was wearing a dress from Target, and the women there produced a duplicate with fabric they created," Graham said.