Giving back to communities has always been a selfless act of kindness but for the students at St. Michael School, it’s an act that puts life in perspective to appreciate the things theyhave. Following Salaton’s (Nchaishi community elder) visit last year, students at St.Michael’s were moved by the pictures and stories that he shared of the adverse conditions that many underprivileged children in his community face; poverty, inadequate classroom seating, lack of uniforms and so forth. His firsthand account of life in the rural village struck a chord with students at St. Michael’s to support their peers in Kenya. They raised funds for Nchaishi Primary School in Kenya not once but twice. Last year they raised over $1,000 for 40 desks and this year they focused on providing uniforms and textbooks.
The entire community at St. Michael’s took part in various fundraising projects for Nchaishi Primary School. As Isabella, Sarah and Eloisa explained, these projects ranged from collecting spare change, holding rice crispy treat sales to having free dress days, where students dressed up in non- uniform attire and brought in $1 or more for their outfit. “There was no limit or minimum to making a donation, it was about helping others,” said Eloisa.
These girls and St.Michael’s are inspiring stories of youth who are springing into action and making an impact. The girls admit their initial perception of Africa was of poverty and wild animals from mainstream media but Salaton’s visit changed it. All the girls agreed that his visit shed light on how less fortunate children in Africa appreciate the things they have, “Even if they don’t have as much, the smallest thing can bring the biggest happiness,” as Isabella noted. Sarah added there are many students in the world who complain about attending school, yet their peers in Africa who cannot afford much for school appreciate things such as, uniforms and textbooks. In fact, Eloisa hit the nail on the head when she stated, “Here [in California] it’s a chore to go to school but they [children in Africa] love school.”
“Do it from the Bottom of Your Heart”-Eloisa, student.
Their renewed outlook on Africa has given them a better understanding of giving back to communities. Plus, the fundraising projects at their school served as life lessons to put others first before themselves and to recognize the things they have. Their advice to their peers about giving back to communities is, “Do it from the bottom of your heart, don’t do it to get recognition from your peers or teachers, do it with a humble heart knowing that you’re helping others.”
Share this story with your peers and spring into action by giving the gift of education.