BETA

40,000 work hours donated in Guatemala

AMATITLAN, Guatemala — At the invitation of Guatemala's minister of education, more than 7,500 Guatemalan Church members recently participated in a "Day of the School" service project. It's estimated the Church contributed more than 40,000 work hours to the project.

The majority of Guatemala's 340 LDS units from all across the country, answering a call from their Church leaders, enthusiastically came together for this activity. Members were involved in general clean up, picked up trash and painted and washed floors and windows at schools in their various communities.

More than 90 members of the Church participated in a school refurbishing project at the Araceli Judith Samayoa School, a public academy in central Amatitlan about 25 miles outside of Guatemala City. Children, teens and adults worked together to improve conditions at the school and improve the lives of some 650 students.

"We are so appreciative of (the Church's contributions)," said Sara Guillen De Leon, one of the school's teachers who witnessed the members' efforts. "We are (grateful) for the participating Church members who have come here to clean and paint our school before classes begin."

Participants in the Samayoa School project were asked to bring paint brushes, paint rollers or brooms and other materials because the school had few resources.

Maritza Roldan Cerna, an LDS youth who participated in the project, said: "This is a great project because the students at this schools are going to be motivated more to care for the school and keep things clean and maintained all year. As Church members, this type of project allows us to help and provide service to our community."

Defny Darlene Morales, a 9-year-old student at the school, joined her parents in helping to clean and paint her school before classes begin.

For their part, the Church members spoke of the satisfaction of participating in a project that improves their communities and public schools. The "Day of School" service project, they said, is a manifestation of the teachings of the Church.