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Coins for Classrooms helps support worldwide education

Leslie Pringle talks about Eagle Lake RV Resort’s charity initiative

by Kimberly Schoenberger
Young boy holding a bag of pennies
This young camper saved up his pennies to bring in to help buy school supplies for kids who don't have any. — Photo courtesy Leslie Pringle

Coins for Classrooms is a charity sponsored by Eagle Lake RV Resort near Calgary, Alberta, and is headed by Leslie Pringle, owner and operator of the resort. The charity exists to provide school supplies to students in disadvantaged areas of the world, where such supplies are incredibly difficult to come by.

“We have supplies delivered to the Baja in Mexico, schools in Haiti, and we are working with someone to get supplies down to schools in Nicaragua,” said Pringle. “Our most recent initiative is to resupply students on Siksika Reserve who lost their things in the recent flooding in southern Alberta.”

Working across the globe

The program has been officially running under the title of Coins for Classrooms since 2011, but Pringle began working to help provide school supplies to those in need long before that.

“I started way back in 1999 when I took my boys—age 11 and 12—trekking in Nepal for two months,” said Pringle. “We took school items to a remote school in the Solo Khumbu region near Everest. Since then, I have taken supplies on all my trips to Third World countries.”

So far, Pringle’s excursions have included Mexico, Tanzania and Nepal.

She got the idea to help schoolchildren just before she was set to celebrate her 50th birthday.

“Every year when I travel, I take half a backpack full of supplies,” said Pringle. “For my 50th, I wanted to take $1000 worth of supplies.”

Pringle and her family set about raising the money through a donation bucket at the campground counter and a 49-1/2 celebration that involved donations in place of presents.

“The idea took off so well that we have been formalizing the process and collecting supplies and donations ever since,” said Pringle.

A personal touch

The mission that Pringle set upon with Coins for Classrooms has been an incredible success so far. She has sent personal care kits to Haiti with friends on medical missions and personally delivered starter kits to two classrooms in San Javier, Baja California Sur, Mexico. One element of Coins for Classrooms that Pringle holds particularly dear to her heart, however, is the six-student school that she and her family adopted in San Cosme in Baja California.

“Our adopted school is one we visit each year with items off their wish list,” said Pringle. “We are looking at adopting the 30-student school in the next village over from that one too. When we revisited the San Cosme school this year, the students remembered us and brought their homework for us to look at.”

How to help

Coins for Classroom is a year-round program, tailored and adjusted based on current needs.

“We have had an ongoing garage sale at the park this summer,” said Pringle, “with the proceeds going to Coins for Classrooms specifically to help the students on Siksika reserve.”

Donations to Coins for Classrooms are incredibly helpful and welcome, but if you’re looking to do something more for the program, there are plenty of different ways that you can help provide support.

“People can donate funds, supplies, time, marketing help, tech help, assistance with fee waivers when we have to transport items, etc.,” said Pringle. “Even things like liking and sharing our Facebook page helps, so that we can spread the word and grow a little more.”

The program is going to be promoted farther south this winter when Pringle and a friend set off on an expedition through the Baja California peninsula.

“A friend and I are riding the entire length of the Baja by mules,” said Pringle. “We’ll spend four or five months riding, writing, blogging, (doing) photography, etc.”

You can find more information about Coins for Classrooms on its Facebook page, on the Eagle Lake RV Resort website or by calling Eagle Lake at 403-934-4283. 

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