Connecticut students raise money to fund school in Africa
Students of Roger Ludlowe Middle School in Fairfield, Conn., are taking their African geography lessons to the next level this spring — visiting the continent to donate school supplies, malaria nets and the money they raised to help fund Senegal's Rawanka School. (PHOTOS | WATCH | REY MYSTERIO'S MESSAGE)
This month's WWE Community Champions are Holly Hoffman, Ryan Osborn and Brianna Amicone, members of the young humanity group Ludlowe Corps, which was founded by their seventh-grade teachers, Richard Haxhi and Lenny Moitoso.
"Something as simple as a pen or paper is gold to the students in Senegal," said Ryan, 15, who made his first trip to Africa last year. "Around my house there are tons of pens and paper and notebooks, and when I came back, I realized these children would give anything to write on real paper instead of a re-used chalkboard or in the dirt."
"I remember when I came home," Holly, 14, who also traveled with Ludlowe Corps last spring, recalled, "I was up in my room, and I looked around and realized I took for granted having a bed, a desk and clothes in my closet, knowing kids halfway across the world don't even dream of that."
While Haxhi and Moitoso originally journeyed to Senegal alone in 2002, they began taking students with them three years ago. The actively-involved youths, 11 of whom will be making the trip this year, raised their own funds through large-scale events such as concerts and dancing contests, as well as smaller undertakings, including standing outside their local grocery stores and movie theaters to spread the word about their project. To date, they have raised more than $75,000.
Last year, the donations went toward building a school for their student-peers in Senegal. This year, the money raised will fund the same school for an entire year, including teachers' salaries, utilities and student uniforms. The Ludlowe Corps will also provide 1,000 malaria nets to Senegal residents.
To learn more about Brianna, Holly and Ryan's mission with Ludlowe Corps, or to donate to the cause, visit ludlowecorps.com.
For those looking for encouragement to get involved, Holly wants you to know that by making one small gesture here, you can make the biggest difference in Senegal — or anywhere: "If you help one person, you can help a city, a country and the entire world."
And don't think that as a kid you can't do something big for the world, Brianna added. "If you really have the drive and ambition to help someone, you have no idea how much you can accomplish."
If someone you know is getting involved and making a difference in your community, nominate them as a WWE Community Champion at firstname.lastname@example.org.