Maddie Schwartz, a teacher, visited Honduras on a church trip with her mother and fell in love with La Providencia, an organization that provides a home for orphans.
Maddie spoke to the Waunakee Rotary Club at its Dec. 22 meeting about the organization’s work. Her talk began with an image of Kamila, a young girl who was born with two club feet and poor vision.
Her mother was single and her brother was in one of the largest gangs in Honduras.
La Providencia stepped in, Maddie said, and provided Kamila with surgeries on her feet and eyes. With the education available at La Providencia, Kamila is now bilingual; her mother has a job and her brother is no longer in the gang.
According to Maddie, Kamila’s story is only of 114 of children at the orphanage, 30 of whom are orphans.
Unlike other orphanages, La Providencia provides a liberal arts education, nutrition and help for entire families.  
Families like the Amayas live at the site and adopt other children, committing themselves for 18 years. The goal is for graduates of La Providencia to become leaders in Honduras, Maddie said. The Amayas have several children, two of whom are biological, the others adopted through La Providencia.
“They’re some of the happiest children you’ll ever meet,” Maddie added.
Orphans for the homes are selected on the basis of need – those who have no other relatives are most eligible.
Maddie said 80 percent of the funding comes from the United States. The plan is to be self-sustaining through sales of coffee grown by La Providencia, which also grows all of its food eaten on campus.
There are also partnerships with the Honduras Rotary Club.
After that trip with her mother, Maddie began teaching at La Providencia in August.
“One of the best decisions I’ve made is becoming part of the Providencia family,” she said.
Other News:
•Bill Erickson will again need help loading a trailer full of wood to take to the warming station at the Village Park on Saturday morning. Meet behind Qual Line Fence at 9 a.m.
•The scoutmaster of Troop 46 attended to personally thank the club for its support.
•Rotary President Travis Heiser reminded the club that the Jan. 11 Christmas party will replace the Jan. 12 meeting. You can still come to Rex’s for lunch, but the rest of the club probably won’t be there.
•Doug Richmond from the Lodi Rotary Club said that club’s smelt fry will be March 22 and April 5 at the Lake Wisconsin Country Club. The Lodi Club is planning a new event this year, a wine and beer tasting with an assortment of hors d’oeuvres. It will be Feb. 16 at Lucky’s in Okee. Experts will talk about the products, as well.
•A new member orientation will be offered on Jan. 5 after the meeting.
•Linda Olson said the club had reached $950 toward the shelter box and immediate received the remainder needed for the $1,000 goal.
Guests: Paul Cardarella and Sam Annen, guests of Allison Feldbruegge; Eric Schwartz and Sara Schwartz, guests of Ken Pesik; Forrest Payne, guest of Linda Olson.
Visiting Rotarians: Doug Richmond, Lodi; Jan Bonsett-Veal, Youth Exchange chair.
Birthdays: None.
Anniversaries: Jan. 2, Jim and Linda Schmitz; Jan. 2, Ellen and Vincent Schaaf.
Greeters: Dec. 29, Drew Lawrence and Bob Lenz; Jan. 5, David May and Mark McFarland; Jan. 12, Gordon Meicher and James Meyer; Jan. 19, Dan Miller and Nick Mischler.