The Stone Soup Leadership Institute held its annual Community Service Project this fall to benefit a remote school in La Puerta, Guatemala. The Institute’s team member Berta Paleaz led the project with youth Lya and Leaslie Perez; Maria Rodriguez, Izzy Perez, Evelin Perez and Mac Cullen. With support from: Beth Cullen, Lola Herrera and Namgyal Gyaltshen.
When Berta shared this opportunity to give back, our young people brainstormed ideas about how they could best help these children. Izzie Perez imagined them climbing up the muddy mountain dirt roads. She had the great idea of collecting backpacks and filling them with school supplies. Everyone agreed this was a great project. They jumped into action – starting by creating an action plan and each took on tasks.
Mac Cullen invited his school mates to donate their slightly used backpacks. To being, he met with his school officials to request their support. He then sent out emails and set up a robocall to all 900 students.

Beth Cullen, Mac’s mother was inspired to reach out to her friends and extensive network. She used social media to invite everyone to pitch in – Stone Soup style.
I enjoyed the opportunity to be part of a deeply meaningful and impactful service project, directly improving the lives of Guatemalan children.  I organized a successful backpack collection drive within my Bishop Hendricken High School community, and, with the help of my mother, collected many dozens of backpacks. Helping improve and touch the lives of many students in Guatemala was a great way to ignite the spirit of the holiday season. -- Mac Cullen
On December 28, Berta traveled to her homeland for the holidays. She presented the Mac Book Pro laptop computer that the Institute donated to the school's teacher Sulim Granados.  "She was so grateful," Berta said. "She couldn’t believe she received her very first computer!" She is especially happy for her students to receive these backpacks with educational supplies when they return to school in February. "I travel to Guatemala every year," says Berta, "so I've experienced the need of so many people that live on the outskirts of the city or up on the mountains of Guatemala." She added, "I can't describe the happiness in a child who has almost nothing, to receive this. I feel so happy thanks to the help of many people I am making my dream and the dream of many children to come true. I thank everyone that worked on this project. The children at La Puerta School will be happy and grateful for your support.   -- Berta Paleaz
Many Thanks to Our Donors
Bishop Hendricken High School
Boys & Girls Club – Newport County
Stone Soup Leadership Institute
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Special Thanks
Beth Cullen
Berta Paleaz Clients & Friends
Lola Herrera
Aquidneck Community Table’s Growers Market
Community service is an essential component of the Institute’s year-long program. Each year we work with our young people to develop critical thinking skills and decide what service projects they want to support or create. By looking for opportunities to give back — they develop a life-long lesson of service.

2018: Warm Clothing Drive  for Border Wall refugees from Guatemala.

2017: Food & Warm Clothing Drive for Hurricane Maria : Puerto Rican refugees who moved to Holyoke, MA.

2018: Dr. King Day of Service : youth joined with Hungry Fridays to make 300 sandwiches.
Stone Soup Leadership Institute