Charter School Team Encounters Dangerous Mudslides

Jun 04, 2010, 19:28 ET from PA Leadership Charter School

PITTSBURGH, June 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On May 22nd, four PA Leadership Charter School employees joined a team traveling to Guatemala to provide free medical care to the people of Chichicastenango and the outlying villages.  Little did they know, only six days later, they would face life-threatening natural disasters.

PA Leadership Charter School is a statewide cyber charter school.  Lynn Rodden, Western Regional Director and RN, explained, "We at PA Leadership believe we are training tomorrow's leaders today.  The trip was supported financially by donations through the school, emphasizing the significance we place on leadership through service for our entire school community.  We ask our students to become leaders in their realms of influence and we, as faculty and staff, strive to inspire our children through our own actions."   Accompanying Rodden was her daughter Jessica, student nurse and graduate of PA Leadership; Amy Kendrick, Interpreter; and Becky Gates, Pittsburgh Leadership Coordinator. Others on the team include Kimmy Gandreau, social worker and marketing director of Carriage Inn of Steubenville; and Rebecca Balog, RN.

The first natural disaster -- torrential rains of Hurricane Agatha -- began on May 28th.  The following day, the team was forced to return to Chichicastenango as the rains continued and the mudslides began.  "We were scared for the lives of the Guatemalan people," Kendrick shared.  Rodden explained, "There was terrible devastation -- homes began sliding down the hills, and one family we served on our first clinic day became a casualty of the mudslides when the mom and infant were buried.  An eight year old from the same family was buried up to his neck in mud and was brought to the tiny local hospital in Chichi for care.  Members of our team went to the hospital to offer assistance and to see the little boy.  Local pastors were digging out homes for hours on end without sleep."

Due to the closure of the Pan-American Highway, the team was unable to return to Guatemala City until May 31st.  With all flights cancelled due to falling ash from the eruption of the Pacaya volcano, the team remains safely in Guatemala City where they were grateful to witness the arrival of US Military assistance on June 1st.  Rodden concludes, "My heart aches for the people and their loss. I feel grateful that we were able to serve them during this crisis."  The PA Leadership team will be returning with fresh examples of leadership in action. 

About PA Leadership Charter School

The PA Leadership Charter School (PALCS) home office is in West Chester, Pa., with the western regional office in Pittsburgh.  PALCS, a public charter school open to all Pennsylvania residents, serves over 2,000 students who reside in 340 of Pennsylvania's 501 public school districts.  The PALCS curriculum offers various programs, including Performing Arts, University Scholars, and Leadership training with international learning opportunities. For more information, visit or call 412-828-3331.

Media Seeking interviews, photo ops, or general coverage should contact Carolyn Fell at 412-828-3331 ext. 1102.

SOURCE PA Leadership Charter School