> > FRIENDS OF STUDENTS FOR 60,000 Aid, care and support for the needy NEWSLETTER JULY 2013 Who are your Friends? Friends of Students for 60,000


Aid, care and support for the needy


Who are your Friends?

Friends of Students for 60,000 (FSF60K) was formed in 2006 by Peter White, Dick Wiltamuth and Cathy Cusumano to assist the needy locally, nationally, and internationally with an emphasis on sustainable development on behalf of the poor. Its goal is to expand and support the work of Students for 60,000, a Northport High School community service group formed in 1987.

FSF60K strives to provide adults with meaningful opportunities to assist the poor. The group works on projects on Long Island, New York, and other states around our nation, and builds partnerships in Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Friends of Students for 60,000, Inc. is a non-political, non-religious, not for profit corporation granted 501©3 status by the Internal Revenue Service. All donations are tax-deductible. All contributions go directly to the needy; all work is voluntary, with no salaries or administrative fees.

Click here to visit our website: Friends of Students for 60,000

Friends Of Students For 60,000 Returns From a Successful Working Trip To Chacraseca

Led by veterans Pete White, Dick Wiltamuth, Kate Shreck and Bill Ofenloch, eight members of Friends of Students for 60,000 made a successful trip to Nicaragua from Apr. 8-15. They brought $32,000 with them, mostly from donations from Friends contributors. These funds were used to construct nine much needed houses in Chacraseca, to purchase animals, and to continue the almost-completed clean water project in Nuevo Amanecer.

The eight member group worked on construction of two of the nine houses, had important meetings with Conchita Ojeda and other Nicaraguan community leaders about the progress of Friends' many projects, and Dr. Andrew Longley, the water expert from Great Britain who is heading up the clean water effort, which involved bringing potable, arsenic-free water from half way up the volcano Telica, down to four towns where several hundred families in Nuevo Amanecer and surrounding towns will benefit.

They also met with former Northporter John Coronna who gave them a tour of the Leon neighborhood of Subtiava where he built a beautiful park and ball field for the poor indigineous residents there. Friends hopes to use John's park as a model for one they're planning in Chacraseca. Thanks to all who contributed and remain interested in this important work. Also, since this trip was so successful, the group is considering a return visit in late summer.

Reflections from travelers to Chacraseca

Chac smiles on the job site

Foreman (Maestro de Obra) Medardo says farewell to hardworking Friends members Patricia, Bill and Joanne

Bill Ofenbach reflects on his experience during the April Friends Trip

The trip was very successful in my view. Highlights included seeing the water system for Nuevo and La Union almost complete and helping start construction on two more houses. Some of us got to travel up a very rugged road half way up the Telica volcano to see the spring which is the source of the clean water component. It was striking to see the clean cool spring only 50 yards from a boiling hot contaminated one and having Andrew Longley explain how this is possible. New houses cost only $2,300 and will greatly improve the health and security of a family. It was good to meet the people who will benefit from these projects. Despite some problems it was nice to see the comedores serving food to the children and see the future athletic field at the high school. We also got to see an impressive field that John Corona has developed with much hard work in the Subtiava section of Leon. Overall, Chacraseca has changed much in the 20 years I have been visiting there – electricity, piped water and cellphones but there's much more that could be done.

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Bill helping to dig the foundation for house #5

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Denise Dolan whose personal reflections appeared in a report delivered to Our Lady Queen of Martyr's Project Nicaragua said the following about her trip,

"Hi all! ... It was a fabulously busy , heartwarming, (heart wrenching at times ) and informative week in Nicaragua. I was thrilled to realize
the progress made in Chacraseca over the many years that each of our organizations have been involved with regard to its encouraging evolution. We worked, we walked, we hiked, we laughed, we hugged, we ate, we visited with friends and strangers that became friends instantly! I fell in love at least 100 times that week week. As you might have guessed, it was each time a precious child looked my way with a bright, beautiful smile to follow.
Our visit enhanced our spirit of community and love for our friends afar.

With Warm Regards and love for this mission, Denise Dolan"

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Peter White, former advisor to Students of 60,000 and co-founder of Friends of Students for 60,000, commented on this valuable experience.

I hadn't been to Chacraseca or Nuevo Amanecer since July 2009, so this visit was quite special and a long time in coming. I met many of my old Nicaraguan friends like Conchita Ojeda, Rosa Ojeda, Paulino Martinez, and, of course, the hardworking Tullio Arauz, who takes such good care of Sister Joan Uhlen's Casa de Paz. I also met many new people, like Emily Sendin and her many "Dreamers," those who are teaching and learning English, the great people from the Association San Isidro and the baseball leagues. It was so inspiring to see the work Friends has put into these communities over the past few years coming to fruition. The housing project and the clean water project are monumental, and examples of what motivated people can do when they are organized and committed. I have the utmost respect for the eight members of our Friends delegation, who averaged 65 years of age, worked hard, bonded with the people in a special way, and were a pleasure to be with all week long. I promise to return to Nicaragua much sooner. Anyone interested in going, perhaps this fall, please get in touch with us.

Scenes from Friends' April Working Trip

Chac Cesar and the boys

Cesar connects with the community's youth

Chac school reception

A reception for Friends at the local school

Chac foundations and walls

"Poco a poco" ... little by little the house goes up

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"Pedro" White's welcome committee

Chac Peter and friends

Pete White presents 50 baseball gloves to Chacraseca baseball league organizers Paulino, Conchita and league president, Isidro. The gloves were gathered by Chaminade student Ryan Hennessy.

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Meeting the children at the Maryknoll School, formerly known as Raul Cabezes School. In the background, the beautiful pathway of thousands of yellow flowers that the students made to welcome us.

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Denise digging the foundation for house #5

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Change comes one brick at a time

Chac 8

The Poveda family worked tirelessly alongside members of our travel group.

Chacraseca Housing Initiative Project (CHIP)

Through Friends of Students for 60,000 efforts and hard work, with the help of a $10,000 grant from SG Foundation in Buellton, CA and a donation from Students for 60,000, we were able to fund the construction of nine new, much needed houses in Chacraseca. Three of the nine houses were built before we arrived, and while there, our group worked on the construction of two of these houses. The remaining four houses are being built now for a total of nine.

The committee to select which families are most deserving of a new house is led by Friends representative, Conchita Ojeda. She and her committee do a very careful job of gathering facts and applying the rules and guidelines we have agreed to in making the selections.

For example, the recipient of house #5 is from sector Mojon Sur II. Formerly, they lived in a house with two other families, three families, 15 people in total. By building a house nearby, the Poveda Family, recipient of house #5, has more privacy for their family of five (mother, father, three daughters), and the other two families are less cramped in the older dwelling. The Poveda family worked tirelessly alongside members of our group. Even the three young Poveda girls hauled large bricks from the pile to the housing site, smiling and without complaint.

The houses are not free to the recipient families. Each agrees to pay 25% of the total cost, and work on the construction of the house. Since the houses cost $2,300, each family pays about $600 for their house, over a five year period, $10 a month for 60 months. Each house comes with a latrine and floor. The Asociación San Isidro, the Nicaraguan Not-for-Profit group with whom both Friends and Students for 60000 have worked, will build and manage the housing.

Conchita Ojeda, one of their board members is our representative in Nicaragua and has worked with us since 1990. Conchita and her volunteer associates meet monthly with each family, accept their monthly payments, and manage all the accounts and properties that are part of the CHIP Project. They also obtain the land and meet with their lawyer in Leon to make all arrangements regarding contract and title concerns. The CHIP Project has been working well since 2009 and more than 60 houses have been constructed since then. Our goal is 100 houses.

Friends looks forward toward re-applying to SG Foundation for a new housing grant for later this year, so that an additional 18 houses can be built. The original goal was 100 houses, however Conchita informed us that at least twice that many are needed.

Friends of Students for 60,000 salutes the following extremely generous donors whose contributions have been matched by the SG Foundation and have helped to make this project a reality:

Students for 60000 fundraising efforts

Bergman Family Foundation

Class of 2002 alumna Christine Dragone

Class of 1982 alumnus Peter Thomas

Class of 1982 alumna Louise Millmann

Friends member Bill Ofenloch

Friends member Pete White

Friends members Millie and

Morty Willen

Friends member Carol Werblin

Friends supporter Betsy Manning

Class of 1982 alumna Antoinette Knabl

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The walls are going up on house #5

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Patricia focusing on leveling the bricks

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Joanne and Patricia hauling heavy bricks as the walls to house #5 go up.

Chac girls and bricks

The Poveda girls helping to build their house

Chac foundations and walls

The work progresses

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Dr. Andrew Longley explains the water project to Friends

Nuevo Amanecer Water Project

In the spring Friends was asked by water engineer, Andrew Longley, to contribute $3000 toward the $10000 he expected was needed to complete the project. This request turned out to be too little, as twice that was needed. The project involves bringing fresh, clean, safe, arsenic-free water from several miles up on the Volcano Telica down to four towns below, including the town built entirely by Students for 60000 and Friends of Students for 60000, Nuevo Amanecer, and the larger, nearby town of La Union Espana. The water will be piped from the spring high up on the mountain, over canyons and down the mountainside to the towns below. The cost is high, more than $100000 to do this, and the work is very difficult and dangerous. About 2/3’s of the total cost has been contributed by the local municipality and some European donors, and the other 1/3rd by Friends. Andrew, director of the British hydrology company Nuevas Esperanzas, is a brilliant scientist and water engineer. The project is in great hands with Andrew at the helm. He said he needed an additional $10000 on top of the original $10000 requested this spring. Prior to this, Friends had contributed $33000 toward this much needed, life saving project for more than 1000 families. On our recent trip, Friends provided Nuevas Esperanzas with all the funds it had available after the housing money was delivered, which amounted to an additional $6100, or about 60% of what was needed to finish. Andrew was overjoyed as he and his team were working hard to have the 3” piping descend the mountain before the spring rains made working conditions impossible. Several members of Friends drove and walked to the mountaintop spring to see for themselves. The drive up the mountain road was treacherous, unlike anything Friends, no strangers to Nicaragua’s bad roads, had ever seen. When it became completely impassable by truck, they hiked the final mile. There they saw dozens of men, women and children gathering water, washing clothes, and watering animals. Friends even drank water right from the mountain spring because, according to Andrew, it is completely safe, healthy, clean and free of all contamination. When this phase of the NA water project is completed, all families will have spigots near their houses, meters, and will have clean, healthy water available. This is the largest health project ever undertaken by Friends, with help from the Telica government and other groups.

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Pete White and Cesar Ordonez, on the Telica mountainside where the spring of fresh, healthy water begins. Andrew Longley explains the new, life-saving water system.

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Chac looking forward

Dr. Andrew Longley, the water expert from Great Britain who is heading up Friends' clean water effort in Nuevo. The project, a long-standing dream of Friends and our related groups, now will provide for bringing potable, arsenic-free water from half way up the volcano Telica down to four towns where several hundred families in Nuevo Amanecer and surrounding towns will benefit.

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Dedication and patience have made the mountain pipeline that transports water to Nuevo a reality. Pictured on the right, the now-protected spring on the Telica Volcano brings clean water 3K down the mountain to 150 households (1000 people) in Nuevo Amanecer and La Union.

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The project also provides fresh, clean water to the surrounding mountain villages

Chac John Corona

John Corona, Northport graduate class of 1976, founded the Subtiava Project

John Corona's Baseball Field Project in Subtiava

Our group spent two nights at the home of John Coronna, Northport High School alumnus, class of 1976. John, who helped chaperone some Students for 60,000 Nicaragua trips in the mid-1990’s, married Ledis, of Chacraseca, and they now have three children and live in the house he built in Leon. John is a frequent visitor to the western part of Leon called Subtiava, which is inhabited by mostly indigenous Nicaraguans who are very poor.

Over the years John has built several dozen houses, similar to the Friends housing program. This year, from a donation from a friend in Queens, NY, John built a beautiful park in Subtiava, which contains a large soccer field, and a state of the art baseball field, complete with backstop. It is as good, or better, than the type of fields North American high school players use. The park also contains a large pavilion which is used by the residents for weddings and other gatherings. The entire park is walled in for security and privacy reasons. Friends was in awe of what John has been able to accomplish, with limited funds, and mostly his own sweat, hard work and dedication. Friends has reached out to John to be in consultation with Conchita, Paulino Martinez and others involved in making the 12 acre parcel purchased in 2009 by Students and Friends, into a field similar to what he has constructed in Subtiava.


Chac sadness in his eyes

FRIENDS AND ALUMNI ... Become a sustaining member of Friends of Students for 60,000

We can do more together … Please consider becoming A SUSTAINING MEMBER to provide ongoing support for FRIENDS' activities on behalf of the needy.

* ongoing assitance to the needy with community gardens, with food, clothing, and shelter for the homeless,
* supplies for local families
* breast cancer support
* migrant worker aid
* upstate flood relief
* holiday gifts to hospitalized children

* help finance house and latrine construction
* expand educational access
* provide drinkable water and nutrition programs
* help build libraries and a baseball field
* develop recreational opportunities
* provide microloans for family entrepreneurship.

Yes, I’d like to become an annual sustaining member of Friends of Students for 60,000:

Basic annual sustaining membership____$25
Partner sustaining membership ____$50
Other amount _____

I wish to receive the newsletter to keep me informed of the group’s activities._____
Your email ____________________

We accept donations by check (payable to Friends of Students for 60,000) mailed to:

Friends of Students for 60,000 c/o Peter White
16 Stony Hollow Road
Centerport, NY 11721

Or by Paypal fsf60k
All donations are fully tax-deductible.

Join us and break the cycle of poverty in a sustainable way.

Friends boys on horse
Peter white Chacraseca

Alumni News

This section of our newsletter is dedicated to you! Look at what you started! Your efforts continue to touch the lives of thousands. We’d like to hear from you. Please share your good news with us by emailing Peter White at pedro831@optonline.net

Hope to hear from you soon!

Hey, by the way, do you have any photos of your Northport High School trips to Nicaragua or of your current projects and activities that you'd like us to share with our readership? Send them our way!

Andy Markowitz, ('82) After working in a successful insurance business for years, Andy set up a charitable foundation which contributes substantially to children with special needs. A world traveler, he always maintained a keen interest in Nicaragua. Andy agreed that his extremely significant contribution made during the class reunion could be used to ship the containerized playground.

Katie Gee, ('04) An English teacher, Katie plans to start a Friends chapter in her school in Delaware. Her significant contribution to Friends postcard fundraiser was most appreciated. Katie is currently working on compiling a list of mail/phone/facebook/other contact info on hundreds of alumni from the many Nicaragua trip rosters.

Christine Dragone, ('02) , four time Nicaragua trip veteran, graduated from NYU in 2006, currently teaches Italian and other languages in NYC schools. Visited Nicaragua in 2011 with alumni group organized by Northport alumnus Mike Cipoletti. Christine made a significant contribution to the SG matching grant.

Peter Thomas, ('82) An outstanding class President of NPT HS, Peter also became the President of the student body at Boston College, 1982-86. Graduated Georgetown Law School in1989 and worked in a NYC law firm in the early 1990's, Peter is now a noted attorney in the Wash. DC area, representing persons with disabilities. He contributed very significantly to the SG Matching fund.

Louise Millmann, ('82) After chaperoning two Nicaragua trips in the 90's, Louise led an adult/teacher trip with Peter White. Louise taught Art and Photography at Northport HS until the late 1990's. She transferred to Jericho HS where she currently teaches. Louise is an accomplished artist, photographer, actress, comedian and much admired teacher. She was stage mate with Edie Falco in the NHS production of My Fair Lady and starred in other school hits. Louise has been a devoted supporter of Students and Friends, donating substantially every year. She made a significant contribution to the SG matching fund.

Senior Sarah Jerome Receives the Dick Streb Award

In June 11th, 2013, Friends of Students for 60,000 facilitated the sixth annual Dick Streb Award at Northport High School’s Awards Night. The award of $500 was presented to graduating senior Sarah Jerome, a student who demonstrated great scholarship, effort and citizen activism.

Sarah Jerome, a college bound graduating senior, is a four time Nicaragua visitor. Although she did not travel with SF60000, she was part of a church group from Dix Hills area that does mission work in northern Nicaragua.

In addition to a $500 scholarship check, Sarah received a handsome inscribed plaque and her name will also go on the pertetual DSA plaque located in the rear of the HS auditorium.

Sarah's thank you card expressed her appreciation to Friends of Students for 60000,

" ... Thank you so much for honoring me with the Dick Streb Award. I am so very thankful and can assure you that the financial gift will go straight to furthering my education at Southeastern University. I look forward to seeing what my future holds. Thank you again.

Sarah Jerome"

Streb, a master teacher, visionary and untiring community servant who worked hard to bring change to this world by reaching out to others, retired from Northport in 1981 and passed away in 2007. To honor Dick, the Streb Award has been presented each year since June 2008.

The prestigious award is for graduating seniors who embrace and demonstrate outstanding achievement in social studies and show the characteristics of excellent scholarship, citizenship, activism, justice, and a good heart for the poor. With the award goes a handsome plaque and a $500 scholarship.

Friends of Students for 60000 is proud of Sarah Jerome and pleased to facilitate this award and remember Dick Streb in this special way. Next time you’re in Northport High School, see the Streb Award exhibit in the rear of auditorium, off the Commons.

Contributions for the Dick Streb Award came from a variety of sources, mostly from former teachers and administrators who worked with him.

Please consider contributing by sending a check to: Friends of Students for 60000. Send c/o Pete White, 16 Stony Hollow Rd., Centerport, NY 11721.

Remember all contributions are tax deductible.

The following graduates have been honored with the Dick Streb Award:

Alex Ethier and Katie Ethier - 2008 (Skidmore College and University of Vermont)
Tyler Logigian - 2009 (Harvard University)
Abby Littman - 2010 (SUNY Geneseo)
Harrison Ackerman - 2011 (Northeastern University)
Jake Littman - 2012

Friends of Students for 60,000 needs you!

We invite you to join us and help us sustain these projects. We need your help to keep this dream alive.

Meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month at Northport HS in Room H-109 at 7:30pm.

Chac girls and bricks


New Ideas for the Developing World


Simplicity and effectiveness are the keys to these irrigation systems that enhance urban gardening in the developing world. Using recyclable materials and requiring limited gardening space, these techniques can be used wherever water is a limited resource.

Drip Irrigation using plastic bottles

Can Ya Love

Growing pillar

Sack gardens

Energy Efficient Innovation Changes Lives

"They never have to live in darkness anymore."

In the town of San Pedro, Philippines a community organizer has introduced the use of plastic bottles to light the darkness of windowless homes. The bottles filled with water and a spoonful of chlorine give off 55 watts of green and clean solar bottle light. This initiative provides natural lighting, creates green jobs, reuses discarded plastic bottles, and allows residents to spend their savings from reduced electric bills on nutrition and other essential services.‏This innovation could illuminate peoples' lives in Nicaragua and in so many other developing countries.
Light from plastic bottles

Newsletter: Bob Hodum, class of 1971