By Jeff Woods. I was asked several weeks ago to write down a response to the question, “ Why do I give to Castaway Kids?” I reluctantly agreed, but did not put pen to paper. I thought about it a lot. It seemed to me that I should be able to easily write down a simple, logical sentence that people would read, nod their heads in approval and agree that I am just a wonderful, caring man. While I am tempted to write that logical, simple sentence, it would be a deception because the real reason I give to Castaway Kids is because I want things. Things I didn’t even know existed, but now I want these things more than I had ever imagined possible.
My wife, Teresa, and I had originally become involved with Castaway Kids by sponsoring a student and Teresa volunteered at the thrift store. We are both huge advocates of education and the Castaway Kids mission made sense to us. Our first student was soon distracted by boys and her grades plummeted and she eventually lost her scholarship and we were left looking for another student. Teresa had more responsibility at Castaway Kids now and was able to locate two children in the same family in San Carlos. We went to their home to meet them and we were impressed. The single mother, Liliana, is smart and respected by her three children. She is the rock of this very close knit family. The oldest boy, Jesse, is fifteen with near perfect grades and wants to be an engineer. The middle child, Silvana, is a math whiz who placed second in an all of Sonora math competition and practices martial arts with Jesse. The youngest is Enzio, an athletic, local baseball star with an impish smile that makes me smile. Their sparsely furnished house had no electricity and little food, actually none that we could see. They were excited about uniforms and tuition, but said what they really would like was some food.
We now have the good fortune to be friends with this wonderful family. They come over once a week for dinner and we go to all their demonstrations and games. We now know the players on the San Carlos baseball team and a good portion of their families. Silvana helps out at bazaars and bakes cookies in an old discarded toaster oven. She sells these cookies at local events. Jesse helps me around the boat and he is learning to be a sailor. I am teaching him to drive in my old pick up truck. Teresa and Liliana have become close friends and go to Guaymas on shopping trips and enjoy cooking together. I am grateful they let me into their lives. We are all learning each others language and culture, and even though our financial responsibility has gone up, everybody pitches in to make this relationship work. My rewards exceed my losses.
Now, here is what I want. I want Liliana not to have to worry that there may be nothing for her kids to eat that night. I want Jesse to have his shot at being an engineer. I want him to have his own house with running water and electricity and a refrigerator with food in it. I want Sylvana to have the skills to grow into an independent adult woman. I want her to be able to move fluidly in this world. I want her to know that she has options. I want Enzio to hit a home run with the bases loaded. He just needs to get to bat.
So, that’s why I give to Castaway Kids. It’s all about me and what I want.