‘Little Angels’

A fundraising competition among four area high schools has culminated in the donation of more than $13,000 to go toward decreasing the infant mortality rate in Honduras.

For the past four weeks, the schools have been raising the money and collecting antibacterial gel in collaboration with a local nonprofit organization called, “Little Angels of Honduras.” On Wednesday, it was announced that Frewsburg High School was the competition winner, followed by Maple Grove High School in a close second, Falconer High School in third and Jamestown High School in fourth.

The competition – dubbed “Battle of the High Schools” – began last month as a challenge from Christian Perry and Katie Castro, natives of Frewsburg and Bemus Point, respectively, and co-founders of Little Angels of Honduras. The objective of the competition was to collect the most antibacterial gel and raise the most money through the sale of T-shirts and wristbands. In addition to the $13,000 accumulated from the “Battle of the High Schools,” Perry reported that 90,372 fluid ounces of antibacterial gel was collected.

Castro said the challenge was an opportunity for students in Chautauqua County to have a far-reaching impact on the well-being of infants in a foreign country.

“We encouraged students to embrace their potential as young people to impact others both locally and globally,” Castro said. “And we gave them the personal invitation of a way to do that right now through this fundraising challenge to benefit newborns in Honduras, where the infant mortality rate is largely due to a lack of basic resources.”

Little Angels of Honduras was founded in 2013 after the tragic loss of Castro’s infant daughter, Lily, who was born last year in Honduras. Its mission is to reduce the country’s infant mortality rate, and includes the construction of a maternal-infant care hospital. The organization has seen significant growth in past months, including the cooperation of the Honduran government, international corporations and the private sector of Honduras.

Scott Cooper, principal of Frewsburg High School, said he was grateful for the opportunity his school had to play a part in such a noble cause.

“The ‘Battle of the High Schools’ was a successful event for the Frewsburg, Bemus Point, Jamestown and Falconer school districts,” Cooper said. “It was special to see our local school communities rally together to make a difference for the Little Angels of Honduras.

“I believe we achieved our mission,” he added. “We hope our collaborative efforts will bring change that will enable a new (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) hospital to be built in Honduras. The vision of Katie Castro and Christian Perry is remarkable, and we are proud to support their initiative to be the change.”

In thanks to the schools for their collaborative efforts, Castro illustrated the significance of the “Battle of the Schools” in a global context.

“Lives will be saved because of these students’ collaboration,” she said. “Hope for hundreds of families in Honduras was born through Chautauqua County’s young people. That’s something for this county to be proud of.”