Teacher’s Ethiopia trip puts students in a giving mood

Gwen Kaiser

Gwen Kaiser

Gwen Kaiser poses with her fourth-grade students at Kyrene de la Colina Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. Kaiser’s students collected donations for her to bring to Ethiopia during her trip with WEEMA International.




Posted: Sunday, November 23, 2014 9:45 am

Teacher’s Ethiopia trip puts students in a giving mood

By Daniel Ochoa, Ahwatukee Foothills News

Ahwatukee Foothills News

Gwen Kaiser, a fourth-grade teacher at Kyrene de la Colina Elementary School, made the decision to pack her bags and leave to Ethiopia on Friday for a weeklong retreat to visit the country and assist the children’s education.

Her motivation to visit the country came about when Laura Gorzwcki, her best friend who adopted two Ethiopian children, decided to travel there so her children could meet their biological families.

Along with traveling with Gorzwcki, Kaiser will be joined by members of WEEMA International, a nongovernmental organization that focuses its efforts on providing a better life for people in southern Ethiopia.

During her weeklong stay, Kaiser will be a support system for her friend and her family, but also meet with different children around the community to teach a few lessons.

Kaiser’s students got wind that she was going to visit the children in Ethiopia, and began asking their teacher all sort of questions.

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She informed her students that most Ethiopian children aren’t as fortunate as they are and don’t have the types of blessings they enjoy at home or at school.

Her students made it their duty to try and assist the children, and decided to donate classroom items such as pencils, markers, crayons and more.

Kaiser also hosted a few class-time lectures about Ethiopia so her students could have a better understanding about the country and its people.

She said she has been blown away from the fact that her students’ willingness to assist others.

One of Kaiser’s students, Payton Thomas, decided to donate the carry-on suitcase for her teacher to take to Ethiopia.

Thomas also decided to seek donations from her AYSO soccer team, which donated a dozen gently used soccer cleats so the children can enjoy playing soccer.

Her mother, Cyndi Thomas, said she was proud that her daughter was so enthused to help other kids her age whom she had never met before and were in need.

“She just really has that special drive to really look out for others, and make sure people have what they need,” she said.

Payton said she wanted to donate soccer cleats because she loves to play soccer and couldn’t imagine not playing the sport, so she decided to share something she loves with other children in need.

See Also:  Ethiopia, Eritrea leaders to meet 'soon' amid surprising diplomatic thaw: Foreign minister

“I wanted to do it because I love to support different kind of people,” she said.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014 9:45 am.


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