December 21, 2010
NEWS: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 21, 2010 — When Drury Spanish Professor Alberto Chamorro leads ten students on a study abroad trip to Argentina over the holiday break, the group will have much more than their personal belongings on the airplane. They will also each be carrying a suitcase of clothes for Argentinean special needs students. The group will gather at 2 p.m. for their 4 p.m. flight from the Springfield-Branson National Airport on Sunday, Dec. 26.
Chamorro learned about Escuela Especial 502 Maquinista Savio, a school for children with mental and physical disabilities, on a trip to his home country. The school is just 45 minutes outside of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, but it and the community are extremely poor. Wheelchairs are made from old lawn chairs, and many families eat meals several times per week at the school because they do not have enough money for food.
When Chamorro learned about the school, he began thinking of ways to help the school and its students. It was eventually decided that clothing was the best option for help, as it was easy to transport, no cost to donate, and would not be taxed. Chamorro suggested a clothing drive to his students and they were excited to help. While Drury students were donating, they did not have access to much youth clothing. Drury’s Director of Counseling and Disability Support Services Ed Derr whose wife, Sarah, is a Spanish teacher at Immaculate Conception, a Catholic School in Springfield, offered to gather clothing from Springfield Catholic students. Sarah Derr asked students at Immaculate Conception and St. Agnes schools to help and they collected several bags of youth clothing very quickly. Between the Drury students and the Springfield Catholic students, more than 600 pounds of new and gently used clothing was collected. After their three-week trip, the Drury students will give a presentation about their experience to the Springfield Catholic students.
Besides the clothing donation, Dr. Chamorro and students will help paint the school’s small playground.
This is an academic trip, and the Drury students will be working hard to maintain grades for the three credit hour course, two of the students will perform extra work to receive one extra hour of credit.
Drury students will also visit the rainforest, Iguazú Falls, Buenos Aires, an active glacier, and Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world.
Dr. Chamorro has been a member of the Drury faculty since 2009. He has a B.A. and M.A. from George Mason University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. He has taught in both the U.S. and Argentina, and has taught at the university level for 11 years.
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