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Grandmother Kayaking from Maine to Guatemala Lands in Boston

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Contact: Linda Varrell
Broadreach Public Relations

PORTLAND, Maine and BOSTON, Massachusetts (July 30, 2014)—Deb Walters, the amazing kayaking grandmother on a mission, is due to land in Winthrop, MA, on Monday, August 4. Walters launched from Portland, Maine, on July 13 for a yearlong journey to Guatemala to raise awareness and money for the children and families supported by Safe Passage who live around the Guatemala City garbage dump.

During her brief Boston sojourn, Walters, an experienced kayaker and avid adventurer, will give presentations on her daring expedition, regaling attendees with tales of her adventures on this trek and of her past solo expeditions in the Arctic, the Beaufort Sea, and more. Walters will describe the extensive planning of such solo kayak expeditions, as well as the technology involved, the making of wooden kayaks, and how the families in Guatemala inspired her to make such a courageous quest.

Walters is scheduled for the following events:

Landing on Monday, August 4 around noon at Winthrop Town Landing / Public Marina, 707 Shirley Street, Winthrop, MA 02152 (precise timing can be tracked here)
Presentation on Thursday, August 7 at 7:00pm at the Milton Public Library, 476 Canton Ave in Milton MA
Presentation on Saturday, August 9 at 4:30pm in Kendall Square at Pavilion B, 300 Athenaeum Street, Cambridge, MA, 100 yards from the dock
Walters will cover more than 2,500 miles in her expedition. For those who call her voyage ahead challenging, Walters offers a different perspective. “If you look at the whole task, it can be daunting, yes. But if you look at a little piece, it’s easy,” Walters explained. “It’s like knitting. I love digging into a huge knitting project, but it’s one stitch at a time. And then you just repeat it, and repeat it. What’s exciting to me is getting an idea going and inspiring others to join in.”

Safe Passage is a Maine-based nonprofit working towards helping the children of the dump community in Guatemala, specifically through the power of education. With international support, Safe Passage now provides nearly 600 children with a comprehensive and integrated program that fosters hope, good health, educational achievement, self-sufficiency, self-esteem and confidence. Walters is paying her own personal expedition costs, so all donations are earmarked for the Safe Passage school. Funds raised will be used to convert the third and fourth grade from an afterschool program to a full school day, serving as a model in Guatemala.

“This expedition is really important because we’re a grass roots organization that depends on thousands of supporters,” said Richard Howe, chairman of Board of Directors at Safe Passage. “Deb is spreading the word literally throughout the world.”

“I believe ordinary people can do great things,” said Walters, who is actively involved with Rotary International leadership, where she learned about Safe Passage. Her commitment was cinched when she visited the dump nine years ago. “Once I went down there and met the parents of these children, I knew I had to help. I was hooked,” she says. “Their grit and perseverance inspired me, and it’s these qualities that will empower me to complete this long journey.”

People are able to sign up to help or contribute in a variety of ways – including inviting Deb to spend the night, organizing a speaking engagement, or sponsoring her for a certain amount of money per mile – at KayakForSafePassageKids.org.

About Safe Passage
The nonprofit organization was founded in 1999 by social worker and Yarmouth, Maine, native Hanley Denning, who died in a car crash in 2007. Safe Passage serves about 600 children ages 2 to 21 from 300 families around the Guatemala City garbage dump. More than 80 volunteers serve there each year, half from Guatemala. Donors support Safe Passage from every continent except Antarctica. www.safepassage.org.