A school made out of paper bricks will lay the foundation for a real brick-and-mortar school.
Each of the paper bricks bears the name of a student at Elmira District Secondary School, who purchased it for a dollar. There are more than 1,300 bricks in the mock school, which translates to $1,300 that will go toward building a school in West Africa.
The week-long fundraiser was organized by the EDSS chapter of O Ambassadors, a network of clubs set up by Oprah’s Angel Networks and Free the Children. This was the group’s most ambitious project yet, and it turned out bigger than they imagined; they set a goal of $1,000 and easily surpassed it.
The EDSS chapter of O Ambassadors owes its existence at EDSS to Madeline Charnuski. She happened to catch the Oprah show on television the day that Oprah and Craig Kielburger were promoting their new idea for a network of 1,000 clubs across North America.
The Grade 11 student, who wants to work in human rights some day, thought the concept of kids helping kids was a great one and she decided to apply.
“I just went off kind of on a whim but I knew my school was really caring and we come together and stuff,” she said. “A bunch of my friends had the same passion, so I knew I had support right off the bat.”
When she approached her civics teacher, David VandenBerg, to be their staff advisor, he didn’t hesitate.
“I teach the concept of active citizenship all the time but to see students embrace that and take something on, I thought it was just amazing. Unfortunately it’s something you don’t see too often, so I definitely wanted to encourage it.”
“I thought $1,000 was a legitimate goal; it was a number that I thought would be great if we got there and to see them exceed that, I thought it was quite impressive.”
The $1,300 raised at EDSS won’t build an entire school – that costs about $8,000 – but it will be pooled with the money raised at other schools to reach the total.