Message from Founder

February 2009

In the summer of 2007, I had the best volunteer experience of my life at a school in Guatemala for children with deafblindness. The school is part of FUNDAL (FUNDACIÓN GUATEMALTECA PARA NIÑOS CON SORDOCEGUERA ALEX), which was founded in 1998, and serves students up to 21 years of age and their families.

As an interpreter, I was in linguistic heaven, using English, Spanish, and Guatemalan Sign Language (currently a mix of Mexican and American Sign Languages). As a certified orientation and mobility specialist, I enjoyed providing consultation and training to staff at the school. As an adoptive mother, I loved meeting the beautiful children, who reminded me of my own, and the devoted parents. As a 20-year volunteer with people with deafblindness, I was grateful this school existed.

I was deeply moved and inspired by the love and dedication of the family that adopted a deafblind boy named Alex and then started the school so he and others like him could learn communication, mobility, and other life skills. I was amazed at how much the hard-working, caring staff could accomplishes with very limited resources.

By the last day of my time at FUNDAL, I found myself dreaming of United States sponsors for FUNDAL students, and other ways that we could help FUNDAL continue, grow and strengthen.

A little over a year later, in November 2008, a small group of interested people met in Raleigh, N.C. to start working on a strategic plan to create a support organization for FUNDAL.

In the months since then, Friends of FUNDAL has started a Web site, has become incorporated in the state of North Carolina, appointed most of the board of directors, obtained a small grant for FUNDAL for a specific construction need (see the pictures in the gallery!), met with one of the Bonilla family, introduced FUNDAL to a a potential on-site volunteer, and provided translation services to FUNDAL, including the translation for the subtitles/captions for a DVD promoting FUNDAL.

We have a lot to do -- including obtaining 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, expanding our Web site, developing our promotional strategies, and collaborating. While I can't wait until we are coordinating lots of sponsorships of FUNDAL students and other support for FUNDAL, it is important that we start with strong roots in terms of legal status, establishment of the board, and development of strategic plan. While focusing on these areas, we will continue to take advantage of opportunities to work with and support FUNDAL now.


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