(Photos, left to right) A child trudging
through stagnant water on the way
to school; Amanda Fennell co-president
and co-founder of TU’s SHH, Sara
Bielecki, TU, co-president, and
Kari Adlington, co-founder; Digging
a trench for the foundation of the
education center; Elliot Glotfelty and
a friend; The children’s home, totally
funded and partially built by the TU
chapter of SHH. (Photos courtesy of
Elliot Glotfelty ’ 11 and Sara Bielecki)
its first year and became the SHH
Rookie Chapter of the Year.
“Their level of passion is quite
unique,” says Santiago Solis, the
TU faculty adviser, who is a director
in the Center for Student Diversity.
“Once they experience how people
live—the deep, deep poverty—it
opens their eyes.”
Schools are falling apart. Houses
are made of cardboard with dirt
floors and no indoor plumbing. The
restroom is a tree in the back, he adds.
“It makes them think. It changes
them and it motivates them,”
Fennell and the others embarked
on a global commitment to make life
better for the Hondurans. Back at
Towson, they got to work, hoping to
double the number of people—from
seven to 14—who would make the
service trip in January 2011. In all,
33 volunteers signed on, all of whom
had to raise a portion of the cost of
their trip to Honduras.
Sara Bielecki, then a TU sophomore
and now SHH co-president, was one
of the new recruits.
Flying into Honduras, she recalls
the beauty of the green landscape—
until the plane got closer to land when
she saw murky, polluted rivers and
piles of burning trash.
She would soon witness another
disturbing fact of Honduran life that
would chill her soul, but also energize
her efforts to address the issues of
Bielecki and the other volunteers
had come to Honduras to help build
a children’s home, but first they went
to meet the charges in the state-run
orphanage who would eventually
live in the building.
The students’ first surprise was
seeing a place that screams prison,
not child care. Barbed wire encircles
the top of stark cinder block walls.
Inside, 200 to 250 infants and
toddlers exist with no health care,
no education and little food until
they are kicked out at age 12 to
fend for themselves on the streets.
“There was an overwhelming
stench of urine and feces,”
Bielecki says. “There were two
to three infants to a crib. Diapers
got changed if available. ”
The children were isolated.
The place had no running water and
only a handful of staff. The horrific
conditions, which these children
endured every day, sent shock waves
through the privileged American