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Palmer Elementary School, 5890 Klondike Drive, Sun Valley, NV

Teacher shares international experience

Donna Snosnowski shows some of the souvenirs she brought back from Honduras.

Photo by Cyndi Loza

Donna Snosnowski shows some of the souvenirs she brought back from Honduras.

By Cyndi Loza

Teacher Donna Sosnowski could not help but gush on Tuesday as she described her recent experience in Central America.

It was a transforming, heartfelt, emotional experience,” Sosnowski said. “There are so many things that we take for granted.”

Sosnowski, a fourth-grade teacher at Sun Valley’s Virginia Palmer Elementary School, ventured to Honduras’ capital city, Tegucigalpa, as part of Heifer International’s nine-day study tour on July 12. She returned Saturday from the tour that aimed to teach educators about the issues associated with the root causes of hunger, poverty and environmental degradation and how they can help alleviate these problems.

Since she was the only Nevadan on the trip, Sosnowski said she had a responsibility to absorb as much information as possible to bring back to the Silver State.

I felt like I have the responsibility to share this with everybody so we can teach people to open their eyes and see the causes of wealth and poverty,” said Sosnowski, who plans to share her experience with Palmer students and staff. “I don’t mean you have to go to another county, we can just help someone (in the community) by opening the door.”

Since 1944, Heifer International has provided struggling families in more than 50 countries a way to become self-reliant for their food and income by providing them with livestock and training.

The organization gives a family accessibility to milk, eggs, wool and other income-producing benefits to help feed, clothe and educate their children.

The gift is meant to multiply because each family is asked to give one or more of their Heifer animal’s offspring to another family in need.

I learned so much about poverty,” said Sosnowski, who added that some families sleep with their Heifer animals to make sure that they are not stolen.

In our county, we have all the wealth, and these people don’t have wealth, but they’re happy.”

Money for the animals is raised in part by students through the Read to Feed program.

Students at schools across the county raise money by finding community members to sponsor their reading.

They also learn about geography, the economy and families from a variety of countries that they can help by participating in the program.

At Palmer Elementary School, students raised $254 for the cause.

Most kids, I can tell, get really turned on (to reading) by Heifer because they have a concrete connection in their head of what they’re doing,” said Christine Volkmer, spokeswoman for Heifer International. “They begin to see the full circle of the impact of a $20 dollar gift or a farm animal for a family in need.”

This article originally appeared in Reno Gazette-Journal.