Springing Into Action to Help Poor Peruvian Children

For college students, the first few weeks after completing the spring semester is often a time to catch their breath, return to the comforts of home and get ready for a Memorial Day picnic or two.

But that won't be the case this year for Krystina Morgan, a sophomore at Southern, who has volunteered to help impoverished South American children as part of the Cruz Blanca program.

The Ansonia resident will be trading in the temperate late spring Connecticut weather for the late Peruvian fall. Instead of relaxing at a beach, she'll be working with hammers and nails to build houses for poor families. And forget about the comforts of home – her nightly accommodations will be a sleeping bag on the floors of families she is trying to help.

"Believe it or not, I'm looking forward to the challenge of living in harsh conditions," Morgan says. "It's for a good cause -- to help keep the costs down so that we can maximize our assistance to the people."

Morgan, who will be stationed in Lima with about a dozen other Connecticut residents taking part in the program, will be helping children who usually get just one meal a day.

"Typically, the kids are being raised by single moms who are working all day," she says. "There is usually one mother who cares for all the kids in the neighborhood during the day. And they are living in homes that are more like huts."

And when Morgan and her cohorts are not building decent houses for the poor families, she will be playing and interacting with the children, who are generally in kindergarten through third grade. "We want to boost their spirits, as well as help provide them with a nice religious environment."

Cruz Blanca is a Peruvian non-profit charity that provides campus and other activities for poor children from the shanty towns of Lima, Peru. Children attend the camps throughout the year.

The May 22 to June 1 trip is being coordinated by Sister Gabriella DaVilla, a religion teacher at St. Joseph High School in Trumbull who taught Morgan in her senior year. She has remained in contact with her former teacher and might have gone on the trip to Peru last year, but it coincided with a vacation she had already planned.

Morgan, a journalism student who would like to go into the broadcast news field, can often be found working in the campus bookstore when she is not in class.

She says donations are welcome. About half of the proceeds go toward living expenses while the other half goes to supplies and food for the poor. Those wishing to donate can do so at the following website: http://www.gofundme.com/MissionaryTripFundraiser

People can also donate directly to Cruz Blanca at the website:

http://cruz-blanca.org/english/donations.html

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