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Sun, sand, and charity work

Family trip about helping out Mexican charities

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From left — Barry Liscum, Jennifer Lawson, Jeremy Liscum, and Devon Liscum are off to help Mexican kids.

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From left — Barry Liscum, Jennifer Lawson, Jeremy Liscum, and Devon Liscum are off to help Mexican kids. Photo Store

A Winnipeg family’s annual trip to Mexico is not to get away from the cold winter, but to help people in need.

Seven years ago, brothers Devon and Jeremy Liscum went on vacation to Mexico with their parents, Jennifer Lawson and Barry Liscum.

Because the trip to Puerto Vallarta took place during the school year, Devon’s teacher at the time asked that he bring back a newspaper from Mexico for research. The only English newspaper Devon found had an article about an organization called the Children of the Dump, which aims to provide food and shelter to the children of Magisterio, which happens to be located next to a dump.

Most children and their parents can be found digging through garbage in the dump for items that can be salvaged and used.

"There were a lot of kids not even attending school because they were helping their parents in the dump," Lawson said.

The Children of the Dump volunteers also have another charity organization, the School of Champions, an after-school program that provides children with tutoring.

Devon and Jeremy, along with their parents, have been supporting these two charities for the past seven years, annually returning to Mexico with school supplies and funds to keep the programs going.

"It took a couple of years to get in contact with them, but by the time I was in Grade 6, we started making annual trips down there," Devon said.

This year, six teachers and four students will be tagging along on the annual family trip. Lawson is running a professional development study course for the teachers to take in preparation for the trip.

The students that are going to Magisterio have helped Devon and Jeremy with their cause in some way in the previous years.

"Devon is graduating (from Westwood Collegiate) this year, and he’d always wanted to take the group of teachers and students that have helped us to see these programs, so we’ve managed to make it a reality," Lawson said.

"It’s something that I really, really care about," Devon said. "When we first went down there, it was heartbreaking seeing these children in the dump, looking for stuff to sell for their homes and food. It was a really weird experience — you don’t know how to react to it."

The whole team will be in Mexico from Jan. 25 to Feb. 1.

For more information, visit ourmissiontomexico.com

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