Fostering Friendship a World Away
What started out four years ago as a spring break trip to share professional development with schools and educators in Mozambique, has blossomed into a cross-cultural partnership that has touched hundreds of teachers and their many students.
In 2017, a group of five Landmark teachers went to Mozambique to share what they knew about teaching best practices with educators there. The trip was organized by former high school faculty member, Cassie Larson, whose family founded and runs the Sunshine Approach Foundation, part of the Sunshine Nut Company located in Mozambique. The corporation uses a majority of their cashew farming and distribution profits to support agricultural development, orphans and vulnerable children, and other like-minded organizations in the area.
Since that first visit, a team of Landmark teachers has visited Mozambique every year, cultivated meaningful friendships, collaborated with teachers, delivered lessons and activities to school-age children, and contributed more than $6,000 in the form of Landmark teaching publications and supplies, backpacks, uniforms, and more to hundreds of students. "Each year, we partner with more than 100 teachers, many of whom we get to reconnect with each year. They teach us as much as we teach them," said high school Science teacher, Michelle Boucher.
This year, due to travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, Boucher mobilized a fundraising effort among school faculty and staff that generated funds to provide 130 backpacks and 70 uniforms to students in Mozambique.
Boucher says, "Working with these teachers and students has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Knowing that we can share the spirit of Landmark halfway around the world, and come back with new ideas and inspiration from teachers in Mozambique and share them with our community, is incredibly rewarding."
Landmark teachers who have participated in past trips to Mozambique include:
2017: Kyle Clark, Kate Kinsman, Cassie Larson, Kaleigh Mangiarelli, Lauren (Morrow) Murphy
2018: Rachael Bartz, Chelsey Bergsten, Nathan Gray, Brigid Houlihan, Victoria Tansey
2019: Scott Blanchette, Michelle Boucher, Jamaal Dixon
2020: Michelle Boucher, Doug Musco, Doug Walker