There will soon be a school standing in Kenya built by Monroe Bearcats. Working with the organization Free the Children, Monroe High School students succeeded in raising $10,000 to fund the construction.
Free the Children is an international group working to empower and enable youth to be agents of change. The organization puts on “WE Day,” a one-day event where many student leaders from across the region come together for a rally with motivational speakers to talk about serving their communities.
ASB advisor Jamie Johnson said, “The kids did WE Day last year and they wanted to do something like that again.” The students learned that if they were able to raise $10,000, they could build an entire school through Free the Children. “They loved the idea. They knew it would be challenging but they wanted to take it on,” she said.
Johnson noted that the ASB leadership had to decide between Kenya and Uganda. “They wanted to go with the place with the highest need. The kids decided on Kenya based on the current turmoil and strife going on there,” according to Johnson.
The students hosted multiple events to raise the money from a Homecoming Week that focused on the goal to a Hunger Games-themed competition to collect food for the local food bank and money for the Free the Children project.
Johnson emphasized that it was a community effort on the part of the whole school. “Our art department put on an art, drama and jazz program with a silent auction where kids’ artwork was auctioned off. People really got into that,” she said.
As of the beginning of June, the school had raised $8,300 and they were concerned about reaching their goal. A local family pitched in the final dollars to reach the $10,000 goal.
Johnson appreciated how the magnitude of the goal they set for themselves forced the students to think outside of the box on ways to reach it. “Being able to tell them we’d raised the entire amount of the money, and seeing their expressions… it was priceless. They felt really proud,” she smiled.
While the ASB has no plans to try this again next year, they may add this to their program every four years.