Students raise $700 for Haiti relief

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
Karissa DeYoung, co-designer of the T-shirt; Caleb Lougheed, Tumani Ambassador Club co-leader; Dan Bitner 2008-09 recipient of the “Spirit of Tumani” award, and Akash Patel, chairman of the “Be The Change” Campaign.

The Tumani Ambassador Club launched its annual “Be The Change” Campaign based on the quote made famous by Mahatma Gandhi:  “Be The Change You Wish To See In The World.”  The campaign began with a special assembly for the student body featuring  guest speakers Bradley Parker and Adam Smith, who have traveled with either the Peace Corps or mission organizations.  Their messages affirmed the value of service to others less fortunate, especially children. 

During the week following the assembly, students in ninth through twelfth grade competed   to see which class could raise the most money.  Ambassadors Karissa DeYoung and Alex Giustini also designed a “Be The Change . . . Help Haiti” T-shirt that was manufactured in Haiti.  Sale of the shirts helped in the fund raising effort.  Over $700 was raised for Haiti Relief through Free The Children's Global Village, based in Haiti, providing much needed medical and educational supplies for children.  An additional $300 was raised to help school children in Domebra, West Africa.  One Ambassador remarked that, “I wanted to make a difference.  This is a club with a purpose.”

The Tumani Ambassador Club formed three years ago under the auspices of Free The Children and the Oprah Winfrey O Ambassador program.  During the past three years, the Tumani Ambassadors have raised over $10,000 to help children locally and globally.  In addition to money raised, the students have conducted annual food drives for the local food bank and the Franklin County Homeless Shelter, a book drive for abused and neglected children, and supported the Drew Michael Taylor Foundation. 

“It is heart-warming to see high school students put the needs of children in their community and in genocide ravaged Sierra Leone, West Africa, before their own,” commented Carolyn Baker, co-advisor of the club.  “We have seen the impact of service above self and how it can change students' lives.”

Since Free the Children's inception, 500 schools have been built, 50,000 students have been educated, 139,000 children now have access to clean water, and 23,500 young girls are becoming economically self-sufficient.  “We are honored to be affiliated with such a worthwhile organization in addition to helping children in the Greencastle area,” observed Martina Fegan, Tumani Ambassador co-advisor. 

Anyone who would like to make a donation to the Tumani Ambassadors' programs to help children in the Greencastle area and in Domebra should contact Baker or Fegan at 717-597-3206.