January 01, 2018

Byrd-Felker’s Cause Continues in Ecuador

Fifteen years ago, Beloit College junior David Byrd-Felker entered the mountains of a national park in southern Ecuador and was never heard from again.

The 20-year-old had arrived in the country in spring 2002, when he enrolled in a semester abroad in Quito. His program ended in mid-July of that year, but David—a seasoned solo traveler—chose to remain in Ecuador for several weeks, traveling and volunteering. He intended to return to the United States in August, but he didn’t get off his plane in Chicago.

With authorities from both countries, Michael Byrd and Maggie Felker, of Madison, Wis., searched for their son for years, but they were unable to find him. To honor his memory, they threw themselves into the volunteer work David had started in Ecuador through a group called Kids of the Streets, which teaches street kids how to read.

In 2004, Byrd and Felker started tutoring in Quito. Five years ago, they started David’s Educational Opportunity Fund, a foundation that helps students in Quito with financial challenges obtain a college education. The foundation provides assistance with tuition, housing, transportation, and food. To date, it has helped six students graduate from college, while another 15 are seeking degrees.


Also In This Issue

General-Interest Books by Alumni and Faculty Authors

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As this issue was about to go to press, we learned of the December death of beloved professor emerita Eudora Shepherd, who taught vocal music at the college for more than 50 years. Shepherd touched the lives of so many Beloit students during her tenure. Look for our tribute to her in Beloit College Magazine’s spring edition. If you have memories to share about Eudora Shepherd, send them to us at belmag@beloit.edu.

Remembering Eudora Shepherd

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How Much for That Tree?

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