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Briarcliff Donation Buys Bountiful Gifts In Peru

BRIARCLIFF, N.Y. – Donald Borho teared up this morning when he saw photos of what a $300 donation had bought for children living in a shantytown of Peru.

"Oh my God! We bought all that stuff?" said Borho, the owner of the lifestyle gift store Wondrous Things on Pleasantville Road, as Kirby Mosenthal, 22, showed him photos on her computer.

Mosenthal recently spent one month volunteering at a school, San Juan Bautista, on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. While in Lima, she called and emailed her mother, Pam Mosenthal, to tell her about the school, which had hardly enough pencils and erasers for students, chairs with broken wooden slats and just one bathroom for 60 kids, ages three through 12.

"I definitely got a view of another way of life," Mosenthal said. "You see things about slums, but when you're there it's definitely an eye-opening experience. The first day I was there my jaw was open but then you just get used to it."

Mosenthal was placed in the San Juan Bautista school in a shantytown called San Juan de Miraflores, through a work/travel organization called Intej. She volunteered with three-year-old children at the school, and she lived with a host family in Barranco, Peru, that introduced her to local foods and customs.

Pam Mosenthal chatted with Borho about her daughter's experiences during one of her trips to Wondrous Things, and the two decided to donate $300 for the children at San Juan Bautista.

The $300 sent by wire transfer went further in Lima than it could ever have gone in the U.S.

"I went with the director of the school on a shopping trip for five hours. It was so much fun," said Mosenthal.

The director and Mosenthal bought 15 chairs at a price of $7 each, two large white boards, a large garbage can, cleaning supplies, markers, erasers, play dough, crepe paper, story books and more. Enough school supplies were bought to distribute to all the classes in the school.

With the money that was left over, Mosenthal bought food and snacks for a class party the next day. The children especially enjoyed the Coca Cola, which is something they don't get to drink very often, she said.

"Kirby, I'm so proud of you for doing this," said Borho after seeing pictures of what his donation had done.

Mosenthal, in turn, thanked Borho.

"You're the one who made it possible," she said.

Mosenthal and Borho both grew up in Briarcliff. Mosenthal recently graduated from Denison University in Ohio with a degree in Spanish, psychology and sociology. She plans to study school counseling at Hunter College in Manhattan in the fall.

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