Ellie Levy, Ella McMurray, Sydney Trimmer, and Grace Goodsell were inspired to raise funds for the Olorash School of 350 students near Arusha in Tanzania, Africa after listening to another student’s report on Africa in their 5th-grade classroom at Roy Gomm School.
Ellie’s mother, Robin Mercer, contacted Community Foundation Board member, Susanne Pennington to see if she was interested in using funds the girls planned to raise to buy school supplies for the school she helps support in Tanzania. Susanne Pennington is leading a two-week photo safari tour through several African countries on May 16 and will stop in at the school.
Once the girls started on their project, their enthusiasm and inspiration motivated the entire student body of Roy Gomm School, which is about equal size to the Olorash School, to collect coins. The girls’ starting goal was to raise $350, equal to a dollar per student.
Grace Goodsell designed a logo, and Sydney emptied 23 large cylindrical boxes of oatmeal into storage containers so they could decorate and use them for collection boxes. After some deliberation and research, the girls chose “Pencils for the World” as the fundraiser name. Flyers were printed, and the girls got permission to visit every classroom to talk about their project. The girls clearly explained the goals of the program and dramatically outlined the need for the supplies. Students collected coins for one week and filled the decorated Oatmeal boxes in each class. Roy Gomm students pitched in an amazing $1727.00. The four girls were thrilled to see students from every grade and age come together to support the Olorash school despite the distance in geography and their school experience.
The four girls, their mothers, and Susanne Pennington met for yogurt after-school to talk about the Olorash School and the supplies their contribution will purchase. Susanne has bought 350 backpacks, pencil sharpeners, pencils, notebooks and paper and packed them in extra-large duffel bags to bring with her. School textbooks for grades 1st to 8th will be purchased in Tanzania. The girls are thrilled with the outcome of the fundraiser and enjoyed speaking in front of their fellow students. They feel passionate about helping African girls their age and hope to do this again next year during the Roy Gomm Multi-Cultural Night.
When asked if they want to go to Africa someday and visit the Olorash School; they nodded their heads and jumped up – singing: YES! I predict that Nevada will be seeing more of these four young women as they grow up. The power of their imagination and the leadership they displayed is an unstoppable force for good.