Peterson said that hearing about specific children they could put names and faces to made it more personal for the class.
Mathieson said that if they’d just read about what was happening in a book, it wouldn’t have been as effective.
“I thought it was a better experience getting involved than just seeing it on TV,” Helana Headley said.
When the youth learned that the orphanage was losing its food assistance from the World Food Program about the same time a fisherman stole what food was in their garden, the Sharon kids decided they had to do something, Mrs. Rodenbaugh said.
At first, she said, the kids wanted to send food and clothing to Uganda, but it’s too expensive to ship things there.
So the fundraiser was born and Regina Hutchinson, Kayla Pinch and Adrianna Surano went to the principals to get permission. Members of Mrs. Rodenbaugh’s two classes made posters and spent a week collecting money from their classmates and teachers.
The students had to educate other people in the school, said Brian Hiple, who explained the project to many, sometimes soliciting money in exchange for hugs.
Chad Peterson said they often laid a guilt trip on the other kids.
“It works, though” Hiple said.
And people weren’t just giving their leftover change, Peterson said.
Tatiana Rosser counted 600 pennies brought in by one student. And Melissa Owens was so intent on helping she approached her employer Kentucky Fried Chicken about putting out a donation can. She raised another $60 for the cause.
Mrs. Rodenbaugh said the orphans had asked her to send pictures of the Sharon students so they can see who helped them.
The semester-long course has a new set of students now and Mrs. Rodenbaugh said they’ll be taking up the cause, as well.
“They need to challenge us,” said Mathieson, encouraging the new section of the class to raise even more money.
When the class was asked if there was anything else they wanted to say to The Herald readers about the project, Headley offered two words: “Thank you.”
To donate online, visit ww.connect-africa.org and designate “Kyasira Home of Hope” in the designation field.