Rustic Pathways Club Spotlight

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Rustic Pathways Club Spotlight

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For many, summers come and go, marking a period dedicated to relaxing and resting after a long and stressful school year. While many elect to travel, co-founders of the Village School’s Rustic Pathways club sophomore Elena Ribero, sophomore Beatriz Bechara, and junior Julia Bechara had a unique twist of their version of summer travel. The Bechara sisters both enrolled in a community service summer traveling program to Fiji hosted by Rustic Pathways, an organization that allows students to experience an intersection between education, travel, and philanthropy.

“Rustic Pathways Club is partnered with the Rustic Pathways corporation which is a non-profit travel agency for community service,” Ribero said.

Inspired by their experiences, the three students entered 2019 inspired to found the Rustic Pathways Village Chapter to offer their fellow high school students an opportunity to support causes they learned about while traveling. Created at the beginning of the second semester, co-President Ribero, co-President Bechara, and co-President Bechara, decided their first fundraiser was to be centered around raising money to fund relief efforts for the Amazon Rainforest Crisis.

“We chose the Amazon Rainforest Crisis because we are all Brazilian and the issue regarding the Amazon Rainforest always seems to be overlooked,” Ribero said. “The Rustic Pathways Organization has different sectors all aimed at fundraising for different causes and when we had looked at other campaigns, like Thailand, they had raised well above their goals while the Amazon had barely met a fraction of their objective.”

The Amazon Rainforest, which serves as the home to over 30 million species and supports over 200 indigenous tribes’ way of life, has suffered immensely under the hand of illegal logging resulting in massive deforestation across the area.

The Rustic Pathways Club held a series of three fundraisers for their first initiative: a coin drive, candy raffle, and a bracelet workshop.

The coin drive, which consisted of donation boxes being placed in the Campus Store so that customers could drop in their extra change, was very successful and allowed Rustic Pathways to gain the momentum needed for future fundraisers. The candy raffle was the second part of their initiative, in which students could elect to purchase a one dollar raffle ticket for the chance to win a vase of candy. The third segment of the initiative was a bracelet-making workshop that allowed participants to learn how to braid their own bracelets. The three fundraisers in conjunction raised over $1260 dollars in funds, which will all be donated to the Las Piedras Amazon Center, an organization aimed at the research, conservation, and exploration of the Amazon rainforest.