High School Students Sponsor a Child in Uganda

03/20/13

The world became a much bigger place for one freshman class at Patriot High School in Jurupa Valley, California, last fall. It all started when their teacher, Shari Russell, shared the story of her sister Jenn’s Venture Trip with Children of the Nations (COTN). Jenn and her husband Tyler had just returned from a trip to Uganda, where they met their sponsored child.  

 
During the trip, the couple saw firsthand the challenges facing children in Uganda. Shari hoped their story would inspire her students and teach them how to choose service projects in their own community. But she was happily surprised when the students asked if they could help children in Africa too!
 
“They had so much energy,” Shari says of her students. “They wanted to do more. They wanted connection.” Each student had to choose an individual service project in their community as part of the class, but they also decided as a group to raise money to sponsor a child in Uganda for one year. 
 
The class at Patriot High was inspired to sponsor Tracy in Uganda
The students at Patriot High were so inspired by the stories they heard from Uganda that they decided to raise money to sponsor Tracy for a year.
 
The students created awareness campaigns and sold cookies and candies. One student, Karla Rodriguez, took the project into her neighborhood by going door to door with a sign that had lights on it and read, “Help Make This Child’s Future Brighter.” Together, the class raised more than $200. Touched by the students' passion and effort, the Joneses matched the students’ donation and turned the class goal into a reality.
 
“I realize [now] that everyone has a voice, but not everyone uses it,” says Karla. “If we speak up we can make a difference. In the future I’m going to look more into helping children in need and try my best to help. And maybe when I tell other people, they will help too and change lives.”
 
Karla used this sign to ask her neighbors to donate to help Tracy.
Karla, one of the students, went door to door in her neighborhood with this sign, asking others to join her in supporting Tracy.
 
The class is so happy with their success that they want to do more. Although the semester ended in December, students still stop by Shari’s classroom for updates on their project.  Shari is posting a photo of the child, Tracy, along with any new updates, on a board in the classroom window for students to see as they walk by.
 
The info board with Tracy's updates on it
Shari created this info board so the class can track Tracy's updates throughout the rest of the school year.
 
The students are hoping the new semester’s class will continue their work. Already, Shari says, her new students are asking when they can begin their service project. And she is thinking about restructuring the class to give them more time on the projects. “Sometimes when you’re teaching you’re not sure if the students hear you,” Shari says. But for many of the students, she continues, “This was their first time realizing that Patriot High School is a little dot on a big map.” 
 
“It’s changed the way I’ve looked at things,” says Forester Welliver, one of the students.  “People are in need that we don’t even know and there are people out there who can help.    When you help someone in need ... it can save a child’s life, even.”  
 
Want to be a part of transforming children’s lives? Sponsor a child like Tracy today!