A group of Shoreham-Wading River students have been determined to provide an education for orphans in Kenya.
They’ve traveled to the rural city of Meru to build a school, they’ve collected truckloads of school supplies and they’ve held fundraisers throughout the year to support the students they’ve become so close with.
Now their efforts are being rewarded.
Shoreham-Wading River High School students were named winners of the Charity Champions contest run by MSG Varsity and Cablevision, earning them $1,000 for the Hope Children’s Fund, the Port Jefferson based non-profit organization that runs the orphanage in Kenya.
“We were elated,” said Samantha Lacovara, a junior in Shoreham’s Global Awareness Club. “We know whatever we do with the money is going to help them. There’s always something that needs to get paid for.”
Kevin Mann, a social studies teacher at the district and advisor for the Global Awareness Club, said the money will be used either to purchase sewing machines, help cover the cost of shipping the next load of school supplies or update the kitchen at the orphanage.
With his students, Mr Mann, who has been making trips to Meru since 2007, built a technical training school near the orphanage. Students in Kenya take a national test after 8th grade, the last grade mandated in the country, which qualifies them for college, he explained. The training school provides further education for the vast number of students who don’t qualify or can’t afford college.
The Global Awareness Club has already instituted two programs in the trade school — a wood carving class and a sewing and tailoring program. The money may buy more sewing machines to bolster that program, Mr. Mann said.
The cash could alternately be used to help foot the bill of shipping a giant container filled with textbooks and school supplies to the orphanage. The shipping fee alone will cost between $10,000 and $14,000, Mr. Mann said. The district has partnered with the Farmingdale School District to help cover that cost.
Ms. Lacovara said the money is meaningful to the club, allowing members to continue to support the orphanage.
“We as American youth get to spend our lives knowing we’re going to go to school all year, have supplies, have a house and have food,” she said. “By continuing the fundraising, we’re giving [the orphans] that opportunity and making sure it’s never taken away from them.”