Friday, August 10, 2007

Smiles In Any Language

Denver Attorney Brings Books to Guatemalan Village

DENVER. (Jamie Kim reporting). After hearing about children in a Guatemalan village with no books to read an area attorney decided to share her childhood favorites by delivering them in person. Kim Ryan found out about the need in San Bernabe from a fellow Denver attorney, Vince DeGarlais. "When I heard that these children had no books, I couldn't imagine a world like that," Ryan said. Ryan and her son Kyle happened to have a vacation planned to Guatemala the following week. She decided to turn that vacation into a literacy mission. The problem is she only had four days to do it. Ryan sent e-mails to fellow attorneys asking them to donate children's books in Spanish. She also bought books herself. In the end, she gathered about 100 books to take with her. Ryan says when she arrived with Kyle at the village they forgot all the Spanish words they knew. DeGarlais had to explain to the children that they were here to give them books. "The children just flocked around us, and it was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen," said Ryan. "Their faces were so filled with joy." What the children may not know is why Ryan is doing this. It is to honor her younger brother who died from a heart attack in February. He was just 29 years old. "He really cared about people on a deep level," said Ryan. "He was a very, very giving person - and he would read like crazy. He also read like a couple books a week." So she thought it would be appropriate to create a library in San Bernabe in his honor. Those dozens of books delivered on her recent trip are the start of the Aaron J. Ryan Living Memorial Library. Ryan says she has learned something important from this project. "You can take something in your life that feels devastating to you, and turn it into something that can help other people. Sometimes we think we have to make this huge difference. And for us, just carrying books in our suitcase was a way that we could make a difference," said Ryan. Ryan believes her little brother would approve. She says she found a sign of that recently in a picture of Aaron getting books for his fourth birthday. "I really feel like he's blessed this whole thing," she adds. Ryan hopes her efforts will inspire others to help even one person. She plans to keep making trips to Guatemala to deliver more books. She is asking people to donate children's books in Spanish to take with her.

For more information on where to drop off the books, contact her at

To make a contribution by check, please make check payable to "The Coghill Foundation" and write "Ryan Library" in the memo space. Please send to Kimberlie K. Ryan, The Ryan Law Firm, LLC, 283 Columbine St. #157, Denver CO 80206.

The Coghill Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization, and we will get a receipt to you for your tax deduction.