AMMON — This isn’t your typical fundraiser. It has grown to be a lot more for Sandcreek Middle School staff and students.
Sandcreek Middle School in Ammon has been raising funds so a school in Zambia can purchase supplies. It is a joint effort of the student body counsel and the Jr. National Honors Society.
“This is our second year doing this fundraiser,” Student Council Advisor Stacey Rogers told EastIdahoNews.com. “We were looking for a way…to be able to reach out to other schools around the world,” Rogers said. “I was already familiar with the Zambia Scholarship Fund. I liked that every bit of the money goes to the kids.”
Rogers presented the idea of donating money to Zambia’s Scholarship Fund last year.
“We are so blessed. We live in a place where not only do we have an education, but we have resources,” she added.
Zambia’s Scholarship Fund is a Utah-based charity. It is operated completely by volunteers, which means all the funds raised go to Zambia schools.
According to ZSF’s website, donations are used to train and pay teachers in rural schools, send students to high school, and build schools in undeveloped areas. One program even trains nurses so they can go back and help their villages.
The student council was enthusiastic about the idea.
“They said, ‘Yes! Let’s do that!'” Roger recalled, laughing.
The rest of the students were just as excited.
Sandcreek Middle School donated $1,700 to Zambia’s Scholarship Fund last year. They also sent pencils, markers and other necessities, including some Sandcreek Middle School t-shirts. This year, they set their sights even higher.
“We set a goal for $3,500 this year,” Rogers said.
So far, this year’s fundraising efforts have brought in more than $5,000. Rogers credits fellow teacher Kayleigh VanDeusen and the entire staff and administration at Sandcreek for the success of the fundraiser.
Unlike fundraisers where kids sell items like food or discount cards, students at Sandcreek donate directly to the school. Once the fundraiser is over, the school writes a cashier’s check and Rogers personally delivers it to ZSF, and the funds are distributed from there.
Students are encouraged to do extra chores at home to earn money for their donations. But how do you motivate middle schoolers to give away money?
“Teachers have gone above and beyond to encourage the kids,” Rogers said. “We are super thrilled that our administration has been so supportive of this.”
One teacher put a sign on a vending machine, asking if snack money could be better spent by donating to the fundraiser.
The administration is donating a pizza party to the class that raises the most money in each grade. Additionally, they earn what Rogers terms “a lucky lazy day,” where students get the last two periods of the day to take a hard-earned rest.
What really inspired the kids was seeing pictures of last year’s donations at work. The pictures gave the students a personal connection.
“The ability to see the (Zambian) kids using the materials and wearing our stuff was really great,” Rogers recalls. “They said, ‘They know us! They know us from halfway across the world!'”
Rogers said the project benefits her students, too.
“Being able to reach out and give to other people when we are in such a blessed and lucky situation is the best feeling ever. When we have the opportunity to serve others, I think it benefits us even more.”
Rogers hopes this becomes an annual event, especially now that Sandcreek students feel a connection with their counterparts in Zambia.
“The students at Sandcreek know how empowering knowledge is and want to be able to share that with their fellow students in Zambia.”
The fundraiser is wrapping up this week, but if the public wants to get involved, they may drop donations off at Sandcreek Middle School at 2955 East Owen in Ammon. Donations can also be made directly to Zambia’s Scholarship Fund.