The price of admission to Poly’s Middle School musical Grease, which will be performed May 11 and 12, will be backpacks, school supplies, and books in Spanish, which will be sent to children in Tipitapa, Nicaragua.
It was seventh-grader Luke Asente ’17, who plays Eugene in the musical, who suggested the charity Dos Pueblos as the beneficiary of the musical.
Asente explained to the Pulse
, that his mother’s friend from Guatemala works in Nicaragua. Luke’s mom, Monique Luchetti, said her friend is Lupe Ramsey, director of Dos Pueblos
Dos Pueblos is a non-profit organization, which works together with the people of Nicaragua to improve education, nutrition, health, human rights, and communities in Nicaragua.
A delegation from Dos Pueblos in New York visits the town of Tipitapa every year. In January 2011, Asente traveled to Tipitapa with his family and the Dos Pueblos delegation. He was the first and only youngster to travel with the 15-person delegation.
After landing in Managua, Nicaragua, they traveled a short distance to Tipitapa, where the delegation stayed for a week.
Asente said he was “astounded” at what he saw. His mom had the same reaction.
“We were blown away by the poverty we witnessed in these small villages,” Luchetti said. “We were also blown away by the incredible Nicaraguan people and the strong, generous community leaders we met. People are hungry, social services are non-existent, there is no infrastructure, no roads, no stores or businesses, dogs are starving and dying in the street, children are growing up in the worst of circumstances.” She added hopefully, “Despite all this, the community leaders working there with the help of Dos Pueblos are able to change lives.”
Asente said he was particularly struck by the lack of libraries and books in Spanish for children to read. He believes that if children have a library and read books “they will be inspired.” He said they could then read classics such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, as he has.
In Tipitapa, Dos Pueblos had established one lending library. Asente noticed that the children in Tipitapa carry the few books they do have in plastic bags.
While Asente and his family were in Tipitapa, Dos Pueblos began a second library in the small village of Tesoros del Rey. This library was geared toward children with special needs, Luchetti told the Pulse. “Services for special needs children are almost non-existent, as social taboos by families and government keep [special needs] children excluded from participating in society,” she explained.
The lending library is just one of Dos Pueblos’ efforts in Tipitapa. They also work with community leaders to build wells to provide fresh water.
“Another wonderful aspect of the work of Dos Pueblos is their commitment to women’s economic empowerment as a method to move families out of poverty,” Luchetti said. “Dos Pueblos offers small loans to women who want to start a small business or expand a business that already exists.”
The visit last year to Tipitapa made a strong impression on Asente. He describes seeing a three-year-old playing in the local dump amid the dirt and metal. That image has stayed with him.
“I feel like I should do something,” Asente said earnestly. “Those children have potential that does not get recognized.”
That is where his idea for the collection of backpacks, books, and school supplies as admission to Grease comes in. He remembers the children of Tipitapa carrying their books in plastic bags and this is a way he can do something to change that.
“Whatever is collected will be used and appreciated by the children of Tipitapa, and it will make a difference in their lives,” Luchetti said. “We witnessed firsthand how little the kids have and how much it means to them to be given any tools toward their education.”
Come to the Middle School performances of Grease Friday, May 11 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, May 12 at 3PM in the Richard Perry Theatre and bring along a backpack, school supplies, or a book in Spanish as admission.
For more information about Dos Pueblos, click here.