About Blessings for Brazil
Blessings for Brazil, Inc. is a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of Brazilian children by supporting teachers, projects, and schools with micro-level grants and resources.
•Providing micro-level educational grants for teachers. •Providing support for local community organizational sustainability projects. •Providing educational materials to enhance instruction; and, •Supporting special projects.
Blessings for Brazil is free from political affiliations. We welcome the ideas of all who seek to improve education for children in need.
The best way to understand Lauri’s love of Brazil, starts on one of her early trips. On Easter morning in 2007, Lauri looked out of the apartment window. She saw a sully boy and girl sitting on a street curb. As taxis, buses and bikes drove past the curb, Lauri cringed, hopeful that they would not lose their feet to the busy traffic. She wondered where their parents were. Lauri looked up and down the street, hoping that a Portuguese voice would call them away from the curb. But it never happened. She wondered if the children were from the near by favela, preparing for the busy begging day ahead. Yet, they were not begging. Instead they just sat on the curb with their fingers in the street touching the ground.
Later that day, Lauri saw the children again. They sat on a flat piece of cardboard with someone who looked like their mother. She imagined how hungry their Easter was for them. They had no Easter candy, as many children she had seen. Just the day’s dirt on their skin under the hot sun. “What could I do?” Lauri wondered. With that, she was moved to the nearest juice bar, where she bought several acai con moranga (acai with strawberry juice) and walked over to their mother. “This is for you and your children”, Lauri mouthed pointing to them. Her eyes said it all. Lauri walked away with a glimpse of satisfaction, but disappointed that she could not do more.
Lauri returned from Brazil and worked to do more through a grassroots level humanitarian project, now known as Blessings for Brazil. Lauri truly believes in blessings and has put a lot of my energy and time into developing a non-profit that can make a truly valuable difference. And now, the passion she has is growing with the help and support of active volunteers. Lauri has said, “I envision Blessings for Brazil as a way to improve the lives of children in Brazil. I want to share my blessings with at least one child, in hopes of making a difference in their life. I am fortunate to have great volunteers and supporters who share in my passion and believe we can help bless a child.”
The following are some basic statistics:
- Only 2% of teachers have a Masters.
- Only 50% of girls and 42% of boys attend secondary school.
- As of 2004, 20% of children repeat primary grades and 21.9% repeat secondary grades.
- Out of 57 countries, Brazil ranked 48th in literacy, 52nd in science, and 53rd in math.
There is a need our programs and services. The teachers can use our help to develop their skills and plan quality lessons. Also, this is of more importance when analyzing the difference between enrollment and actual attendance between primary level and secondary level schooling.
TEACHERS NEED OUR HELP TO CREATE ACADEMICALLY RIGOROUS INSTRUCTION THAT MOTIVATE STUDENTS TO CONTINUE THEIR EDUCATION.
*Taken from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Unicef.org and http://www.childinfo.org/files/LAC_Brazil.pdf and Veja (Brazilian Magazine)
Lauri Francis, EdD
Executive Director/Board Member
Raymond Cummings Jr., EdD
I grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I feel so blessed to have a chance to meet Lauri and finding out about the wonderful project, Blessings for Brazil!
I know exactly what it is like to be a less fortunate child in Brazil. I know what it is like going to bed dreaming about a better future.
When I first met Lauri and I felt a great desire to be a part of Blessings for Brazil. I felt like helping these kids would be exactly like helping my siblings, best friends and most of all myself during during our hard childhood time.
Its wonderful for me to use my life experiences to help ease the affliction of others. I want to help improve the life of children, especially after having lived through it myself. Having a chance to volunter to B4B is the best gift I could ever receive.
I think I couldn't ask for any greater pleasure than to know that these kids are playing their favorite sports, watching the fun movies, reading their favorite story books, learning to play their favorite musical instrument, going to school everyday and still being able to dream out loud of a better future, which will come!
We at Blessings for Brazil try to help out the children in the favelas, by working with their teachers. We seek to give them a chance to dream about becoming whatever they want to become in their lives. Its impossible to look at it and not just appreciate this goal.
I can say that I am happier after finding B4B (Blessings for Brazil), which is composed of people who are interested and motivated to do something for these kids. We work hard to come up with ideas, projects, and events. We do this to help improve schools in Brazil and try to give these kids a new kind of life.
I feel lucky to be a part of it.
Many are curious about favelas. There are many misconceptions. If you are interested in learning more, I strongly recommend that if you contact one of Blessings for Brazil's supporters Favela Adventures. Let them know that you heard of them from us. You will have an amazing experience.
Lauri's personal suggestion, "Ride a moto-taxi."
You can mail your checks or money orders to:
Blessings for Brazil
P.O. Box 767
Mohegan Lake, NY 10547
Community Outreach Coordinator
Dr. Lauri Francis earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Baruch College. She also has two Masters from Teachers College, Columbia University in International Education and Curriculum and Teaching, and has completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Change from Fielding Graduate University. Ms. Francis is a member of the various anthropological, educational, and international associations.
Dr. Raymond Cummings Jr. earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and American Literature from Harvard University. He also earned a Master’s degree in English Education from the University of Florida in 2005, and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2010. Dr. Cummings is a member of various educational associations.
Gergile Sergile is the President of Gerser Studioz. He studied at the New York Institute of Technology and the Art Institute of Atlanta, and uses his talents to work with various international organizations. In addition to serving as a member of Blessings for Brazil's board, he works with various Haitian community organizations.
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