Umoja Project Check Presentation
How Our Journey Began
In the Summer of 2013, Mrs. Sally Gray’s husband and daughter traveled with a group from their church to Kenya, Africa as part of an on-going community effort called the Umoja Project parented by Global Interfaith Partnership.
During their trip, they helped to build cow stalls to house heifers and cows near Kindergarten classrooms of orphaned children. The children are taught and share in the responsibility of care and keeping of the cows. They sell the milk from the cows to get money to purchase much-needed school supplies.
As you know, our Kindergartners, under the guidance of Mrs. Sally Gray and with support from Mr. Jerry Gray and Mrs. Abby Auer initiated an IB project and named it Quarters for Quarts. Mr. Gray and Mrs. Auer came in and gave slide presentations to all of the Kindergarteners showing them students like themselves in Kenya. They were asked to compare and contrast what Kindergarten is like for themselves and the African children.
You may click on all photos to see full-size images:
Our whole school (and community) participated by dropping extra quarters, loose change, dollars, and checks into decorated, donation cow pails.
Tracking Our Progress
As the effort continued, we kept track of our progress on a great bulletin board made by Mrs. Gray’s Kindergarten class.
As the money was collected weekly, Mrs. Gray would update the class who collected the most money and they earned the coveted Moo Award. Our Kindergarteners really showed their enthusiasm and unwillingness to relent their top-of-the-school earning status as the award was passed between three of our Kindergarten classrooms.
We quickly met and exceeded our initial $1000 goal. With a generous, unexpected and surprise donation from Mrs. Gray’s church of $1000, we had quickly purchased two heifers. Since funds were still being generously donated, we set our sights on heifer number three. We are so proud to say we raised a total of $3219.97.
Kenya, Africa Slide Show
On February 12th, all nine Kindergarten classes gathered with dignitaries from the township including Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jon Milleman, Director of Elementary Education Mrs. Marsha Reynolds, Curriculum Director Allyson Smith, and School Board member Mr. Anthony Dzwonar. We were also joined by Mr. Ryan and Mrs. Abby Auer or Northminster Presbyterian Church.
Our Kindergarteners were visited by Joseph Okuya from Kenya. He serves as the Umoja Project Coordinator for Global Interfaith Partnership. He was accompanied by Ellen Daniels-Howell and Celia Booher from Global Interfaith Partnership here in Indianapolis.
Mrs. Inman welcomed everyone to our celebration of hard work and commitment that manifested as caring and kindness put into action. She welcomed Mr. Joseph Okuya and thanked him for coming to teach us more about the Umoja Project while we in turn share the money we collected through our effort called Quarters for Quarts. She introduced our special guests.
Mr. Okuya took center stage and spoke with our students about family and school life of children their age living in Africa. His presentation reinforced the IB themes taught to our students and demonstrated what a huge, positive impact their Quarters for Quarts fundraising project will have by affording the purchase of three heifers (two more than our original goal)!
By purchasing a heifer (or pregnant female), we are really purchasing two cows (mom and baby), so we are really impacting the Kenyan communities six-fold.
Final Check Presentation
After Mr. Okuya’s slide show and chat with our students, Mrs. Inman asked Mrs. Gray and Mr. Dzwonar to present him with our final donation check.
We are so proud of the whole John Strange family and what we were able to accomplish!
Thank You Note Received
Dear John Strange Elementary students and staff,
Words scarcely can describe our appreciation and admiration for all of your work to raise over $3000 for cows. You clearly are an amazing group of kids and adults, working well together for a common goal!
We are inspired by your commitment and hard work to help those in need. Many, many thanks for the gift of the cows – They will bless the children of Kenya for years to come!
Ellen Daniels-Howell and Joseph Okuya
Global Interfaith Partnership