A Summer of Service in Uganda for Athenian French Teacher

For most Athenian teachers, the good work they do through the school year doesn’t stop when summer rolls around.  Some teach at Athenian’s Devil Mountain Summer Camp, others go to leadership conferences, and many work on independent creative endeavors.

But one Athenian teacher chose to spend her summer on the other side of the world (for the second summer in a row) caring for AIDS orphans in Uganda.  Mary Eid, Athenian’s Middle School French teacher, is a living example of what we hope all Athenian’s can master: a life of purpose and personal fulfillment.  Mary and her husband will be in Uganda for a month.  Mary’s work in Uganda is in support of Children of Grace, an organization closely connected to the Athenian community.  Founded by Mary Ann McCoy and directed by her husband Mike McCoy, an Athenian trustee, Children of Grace offers “hope to Ugandan AIDS orphans through education, healthcare, and empowerment programs to enable a better future.” Mary was inspired by the organization and its mission and chose to dedicate the only free time she has during the year to serving those in need.

http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Ugandan-AIDS-orphan-s-long-road-to-success-3230084.php#photo-2372799

As often happens within the Athenian community, when one person invests their time in an issue, others quickly join in supporting their efforts.  Mary Ann and Mike McCoy adopted a young Ugandan orphan in 2002, Zahara Nakibuule-McCoy.  Zahara attended Athenian’s high school and graduated in 2009.  Zahara’s community service project while at Athenian involved coordinating an Interim trip to Uganda and teaching women about charcoal conservation.  Zahara also took several of her Athenian classmates to Uganda to share her roots with them.  Another young woman adopted by a family local to Athenian will be attending Athenian in the fall.  Additionally, Eleanor Dase, former Head of School at Athenian, is a board member for Children of Grace.  With Mary’s recent trips to Uganda, and the presence of Ugandan students in Athenian’s student body, the ties between our communities continues to grow stronger.

Mary shares the following about her experience so far in Uganda:

I am volunteering in Uganda for 2 weeks with Children of Grace, an organization founded by Mary Ann and Mike McCoy (Athenian Trustee) in 2001 to provide support for orphans in Uganda. Through child sponsorships, Children of Grace funds the education, health and social welfare needs of over 750 Ugandan orphans. This is my second trip here and the friends I made last summer have welcomed me back with open arms.  This summer I am part of a team from Danville and Santa Barbara teaching in two primary schools and running a weekend volleyball clinic for high school students. Yesterday, we volunteered at an infant orphanage in Jinja called the Amani Baby Cottage and we worked on the construction site of their new location.  This was my first visit to the Amani Baby Cottage and it was a touching experience.

If you are interested in supporting Children of Grace, please visit their Getting Involved page.

To learn more about Zahara’s story, read an article from SFGate about her road to success.