52. Students Set Hopes High with 2nd Fashion Fundraiser

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Hope's in Style Organizers Volunteering in Guatemala, 2013

Join Barrington student volunteers and models on a mission to help build homes for families living in and around the Guatemala City garbage dump at their second annual Hope’s in Style Fashion Show, “where fashion meets compassion”.  It’s coming up at The Garlands of Barrington on Saturday, March 1st, 2014 and they hope to match or exceed the $16,000+ in donations they raised during last year’s inaugural event. (CLICK HERE to purchase tickets.)

Hope's in Style Fashion Show, 2013
Hope’s in Style Fashion Show, 2013

Over 13,000 people in Guatemala City live in communities surrounding the Guatemala City garbage dump. They build their houses out of scraps of garbage, find their food in the trash as well and many suffer from different forms of addiction and abuse.

Photo Courtesy of Potter's House on Facebook
Photo Courtesy of Potter’s House on Facebook

Barrington High School students working with Hope’s in Style spent part of this past summer break in Guatemala City, building two homes and renovating a third property with the money raised during last year’s fashion show.  Because of their efforts, families that once lived among garbage now have safe shelter.

Hope's in Style Organizers Volunteering in Guatemala, 2013
Hope’s in Style Organizers Volunteering in Guatemala, 2013

Barrington’s student volunteers will be returning to Guatemala this summer to build more homes, bringing new hope to more families currently living in these communities.  They’ve been inspired by the compassion and commitment of their classmate, BHS senior and Hope’s in Style founder, Courtney Quigley.

At age 8, Courtney paid her first visit to Guatemala on a service trip with her parents and siblings. That was the first time she witnessed children living among the city’s garbage.  She has since returned to Guatemala several times over summer break and rallied fellow students to help build homes for these families through an organization called Potter’s House Association.

Courtney Quigley in Guatemala
Courtney Quigley in Guatemala

Today, Courtney is sharing the third piece in a three part series she has written for our readers at 365Barrington.com about the families she and her fellow Hope’s in Style volunteers have helped in Guatemala City.  To read Part One, CLICK HERE, for Part Two, CLICK HERE and here is Part Three in Courtney’s series, It Begins with Hope

It Begins with Hope

by Courtney Quigley – Hope’s in Style Founder & BHS Senior

“I don’t know. Please, I don’t know.”

Those were the seven words that I wanted to scream in my loudest, most terrified voice at the top of that cliff. I stood there with a volunteer team of strangers.

Hope's in Style Volunteers in Guatemala - Courtesy of Courtney Quigley
Hope’s in Style Volunteers in Guatemala – Courtesy of Courtney Quigley

We didn’t know if we had anything in common prior to this moment, but this was a very powerful moment. The power came in our heart break as we stood there, elevated above the madness that ensued just a fall away. There, in the ravine we overlooked we could see swarms of people competing for scraps of trash. Large garbage trucks would drive into an area and people would be in full sprint after it, trying to grab what it dumped out.

Guatemala City Garbage Dump
Guatemala City Garbage Dump

Let that sink in. Human beings, running at full speed for scraps of garbage. That is what made me cry.

Post 300 - Hope's in Style - 12I cried for the workers and their children who I know and loved. For an eleven year old girl named Karla who takes care of her two younger brothers. The three of them march into the lunch program each day just a few minutes late, their hair still wet from a crude washing.

I tell Karla every day she is a great sister, she is so responsible and caring. The responsibility she has taken on at such a young age is remarkable. In the midst of which I want to turn away and sob because I see the immense build up of filth on her neck.

Because if mom is down in the garbage dump fighting for scraps of something to make a living off of, who cares for Karla?

Justin and Kevin came to my mind. Two boys, both age twelve who had dropped out of the Potter’s House program to go work for their families. Were they in one of those swarms of people? Had the chaos enveloped their hopes and dreams? I’m not sure I will ever know.

Where does the suffering end for these families? By no means can I claim that I have all the answers to that question but I know it begins with hope.

If I didn’t believe that there was a way to bring joy to these families’ lives then by no means would I be able to stand a moment away from those children. But I know that Potter’s House and many volunteers are working their hardest to bring hope to the garbage dump communities.

Photo Courtesy of Potter's House on Facebook
Photo Courtesy of Potter’s House on Facebook

Hope’s in Style brought hope to these communities last year. We raised enough money for two houses and a renovation. That’s three places that feel more like home, more like hope. This year we want to do the same, if not more! But we need your support, we need to know that you too believe that Karla, Justin and Kevin’s reality can change!

Barrington Student Volunteers Working with Potter's House in Guatemala - Courtesy of Courtney Quigley
Chloe Quigley working with Potter’s House in Guatemala City – Courtesy of Courtney Quigley

In that moment on the cliff I looked down and promised that I would do all that I could for those people. It’s a promise I whole-heartedly intend on fulfilling.

The Hope’s in Style fashion show fundraiser is coming up on Saturday, March 1st, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at The Garlands of Barrington.  Regular admission tickets cost $38 and the price of admission is $22 for students. 

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets or make a donation online today.  For more information or to get involved, visit hopesinstyle.com.

But before you click away from this page, push play below to hear Courtney recite Why Houses, a poem about the chances Potter’s House homes are bringing to so many in Guatemala City.  Thanks for sharing, Courtney, and for inspiring more Good Works in our community.

If you’d like to add an upcoming event to our 365 Barrington Community Calendar, simply CLICK HERE and add your event details. To view more upcoming events and things to do in Barrington, visit our calendar at 365Barrington.com/events.

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