Jul 17, 2019

I Have Yet to Experience Greater Job Satisfaction!

Haley (Rapp) Chipol (back row, far right)
Haley (Rapp) Chipol (back row, far right)

Hello Friends,

I hope you're all well! I've attempted to write this reflection more than once, but I haven't made it very far.

I was a volunteer with Shoulder to Shoulder, in the department of Intibucá, Honduras, from January to August 2017.  My role was Assistant Brigade Coordinator. I helped organize medical service trips of professionals and students. We set up mobile clinics to assist those in remote areas lacking care. Maybe you're wondering, why write this now? My answer is, it's time. As we hear about immigration daily, I'm reminded of people I met and the reality of life there. Now married and with a newborn son, my ability to serve has changed. It might not be much, but I’d like to share more if you’re interested in helping.

There are so many stories I could write about, but the main word in all of them would be RESILIENCY. Just about every task is harder there, almost all work being done by hand. What a blessing it is to have running water in your home, showering when you want or washing clothes. How great it is to have access to medical care, especially for mental health. The lack of sufficient assistance, jobs, and water make for a difficult environment. Poverty is a reality that is often cyclical as people are just working to live. Individuals do what must be done to support their families, but also still give to others. The genuineness I experienced has left me with a deep sense of connection. With everything stripped away, our similarities were evident and helped us relate. I'll forever remember the conversations and food shared with strangers and friends. The fighting spirit of those I met is inspiring as is their example of sacrifice. It's hard to forget the woman in her eighties who walked four hours to receive glasses and ibuprofen or the parents who left kids behind to get better jobs. I have trouble reconciling that reality with my own as I look at my current surroundings, my heart won't let me.   

So, I'm asking you to consider helping Shoulder to Shoulder in their mission. They're working to provide medical care, running a nutrition program, and have a bilingual school. Full time employees are Hondurans and all US doctors and staff are volunteers. Maybe you can donate something or know someone who'd like to volunteer on a medical brigade or long term. I have yet to experience greater job satisfaction! I was certainly challenged personally and spiritually, but grew because of it. Above all, I ask that you keep the people of Honduras in your thoughts and prayers. Please visit Shoulder to Shoulder’s website (www.shouldertoshoulder.org) to learn more about the organization and the necessary work they're doing.

A fellow volunteer (Matt Tibbitts) created a great video; it will give you an idea of where I was: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euFg0-x1RNs

Thanks for your support!


Jun 7, 2019

Climbing Mt. Denali to raise funds for Honduran Children

Ronald Quintero first Honduran to summit Mt Denali
Ronald Quintero first Honduran to summit Mt Denali

Ronald Quintero set two goals:

1)  To climb Mt. Denail

2)  To raise $5000 for Shoulder to Shoulder's Nutrition Program.

Here is what he recently wrote:

Me enorgullece anunciar que el 29 de mayo a las 5:52 p.m. hora local de Alaska, obtuve una cumbre exitosa del Monte Denali con una altura de 20,310 pies / 6,190 m. Esta ha sido la escalada más dura que he hecho hasta hoy en día y quiero dedicarla a los niños de Honduras. Gracias a todos y a todos por los bellos mensajes! Yo me encuentro bien, haciendo mi retorno a casa para recuperarme.

Ronald Quintero//

 English translation: 

I’m proud to announce that on May 29 at 5:52PM local Alaska time, I had a successful summit of Mount Denali with an elevation of 20,310 ft / 6,190 m. This has been the toughest climb I have ever done and I want to dedicate it to the children of Honduras. Thank you to each and everyone for the uplifting messages. I’m doing great & headed home for recovery.


Ronald met his first goal.  Won't you help him to reach his second goal? 


Federación Hondureña de Deportes de Montaña y Escalada
June 4
Felicitamos al montañista hondureño Ronald Quintero, que este 29 de mayo a las 5:52 p.m. hora local de Alaska, ha llegado a la cima del Monte Denali con una altura de 6,190 msnm, siendo el primer hondureño en estar en esa montaña. Esta es la cuarta montaña de su proyecto de las 7 cumbres del mundo. 

El monte Denali (anteriormente denominado monte McKinley) es la montaña más alta de América del Norte, con una altitud de 6190 metros. Está situado en la cordillera de Alaska, en el centro-sur del estado de Alaska (Estados Unidos). A pesar de no ser uno de los más altos del mundo, el desnivel que hay que superar (unos 4000 m desde el campo base), junto a las bajas temperaturas, dada su cercanía al círculo polar ártico, hacen del Denali uno de los picos más complicados de ascender. El nombre Denali significa «el Grande» en las lenguas atabascanas.  En hora buena Ronald:  muchos éxitos en tus próximos proyectos….
English translation:

We congratulate the Honduran mountaineer Ronald Quintero, who this May 29 at 5:52 p.m. local time of Alaska, has reached the top of Mount Denali with a height of 6,190 meters, being the first Honduran to summit that mountain. This is the fourth mountain of his project to climb  the 7 highest summits of the world.

Mount Denali (formerly called Mount McKinley) is the highest mountain in North America, with an altitude of 6190 meters. It is located in the mountain range of Alaska, in the center-south of the state of Alaska (the United States). Despite not being one of the highest in the world, the slope that must be overcome (about 4000 m from the base camp), together with the low temperatures, given its proximity to the Arctic Circle, make the Denali one of the peaks more complicated to ascend. The name Denali means "the Great" in the Atabascan languages.  Ronald:  many successes in your next projects ....



Apr 22, 2019

Robotics Inspires Learning

2018 Honduran Robotics Team Arriving in Mexico
2018 Honduran Robotics Team Arriving in Mexico

Dear Supporters of Shoulder to Shoulder’s Educational Initiative:

By way of introduction, I have been involved with Shoulder to Shoulder since 2001.  In 2018, I became president of Board of Directors.  I also sponsor the overall education program including our efforts in robotics.

In early 2017, Shoulder to Shoulder was contacted by FIRST to help them create a Honduran National Team for their new international robotics event. We were concerned that given the lack of overall technology exposure of the children from southern Intibucá, we would not be able to field a credible team. We tried unsuccessfully to partner with a private school in the capitol city, but they had no interest.   So, we went ahead and got lucky in obtaining an experienced coach mentor, Alan Ostrow (a High School physics teacher from Philadelphia). With his help, the local math teacher coached our team to a 40th place finish in a field of 160+ teams.

In the 2018 global robotics competition, we did even better, placing 16th. See https://first.global/.

In parallel with the First Global effort, we began putting robotics into our bilingual school. Last year, we expanded Lego Robotics to three area high schools and held a “coopertition” among seven municipalities. We are expanding the robotics program to other schools in our service area where we can find local coaches willing to run the teams.

The robotics program falls within our emphasis on STEM. Also in this program is our project to deliver Khan Academy math and science first to our bilingual school and then to 23 additional schools in our service area. We are using technology from https://learningequality.org/kolibri that delivers Khan, CK-12, and other curriculum locally without internet. We are working to expand this program substantially this year and have recently obtained the Honduran textbooks in digital form.

In addition to our main web site, we also maintain another dedicated to the education efforts: http://hondurasrobot.org/. This contains more detail on robotics and other education technology efforts.

In closing, I want to thank you for your long-term significant support of education.

Very sincerely yours,

Dick Buten

Children using technology at elementary school
Children using technology at elementary school
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