Ryan Responds helps less fortunate

June 4, 2009 3:45:38 PM PDT
Students from Archbishop Ryan are making what's old new again. They are creating three ring binders from unused paper in notebooks that students discarded at the school year's end. The salvaged supplies are for poor children in Nicaragua.

"Somebody else is going to be able to use these and draw in these and learn. It's nice," 2009 graduate Jamie D'Amario said.

"This to us is waste paper, but to them it's like so much to cherish. I'm glad I'm able to give them that," student Joanna Shen said.

This group is called Ryan Responds. Notebooks, pencils and pens are the spoils of their war against waste. They encourage classmates to donate their notebooks, but most are harvested from garbage cans by selfless trash pickers.

At one point I know, I was half way in the trash. I was lucky enough not to find anything that would deter me from keep going," environmental science teacher Bridget McLaughlin said.

The supplies are boxed and shipped to Quest for Peace, which ships them overseas.

Morality and social justice teacher Mary Edwards started this effort 15 years ago after spending 8 or 9 summers volunteering with poor children in Guatemala and Mexico.

"So I would be here seeing all the stuff that's being thrown out then leave for Mexico & Guatemala for the summer and see this extreme poverty and I couldn't not do it. I had to do something," Edwards said.

The group also collects used religion books. They cost $35 new, but are sold for $10 to students and the proceeds cover shipping costs for the paper project.

"I think it heightens consciousness and hopefully helps students and teachers alike to be more responsible stewards of creation, more responsible for the earth, more respectful of it and helping the poor," Edwards said.

Theirs is a movement to turn academic trash into learning treasures.

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