September 6, 2019 South Sudan NEWS PORTAL

(NEW YORK) — Most of the time, it’s hard to get kids to enjoy summer reading– let alone start a school wide fundraiser inspired by a summer reading book.

The students raised $7,800 (SSP 1,016,028) and a well was built right in the village.

Two years ago, students at St. Gregory the Great School in Amherst, New York read “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park. It tells the story of a villagers in South Sudan who have to walk hours just to get fresh drinking water.

A Long Walk to Water" by Linda Sue Park
A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park

Students read the book and felt like they wanted to help this village get the basic need of having clean water. Coming back to school, students worked with their teacher, Mrs. Rappold and the parish to raise money for the villagers to build a well for the town.

The students created a fundraiser and in the first year raised $3,500 (SSP 455,910). The next 6th grade class continued the tradition and went to businesses asking for donations for the well. Two years later, students raised $7,800 (SSP 1,016,028) and a well was built right in the village for the people of Sudan.

“It just felt wrong that they couldn’t get fresh clean water by turning on a faucet or opening something to get it,” Michael Otto, a now 7th grader at St. Gregory’s said.

Student not only learned the value of helping people in need but also how to create and run a successful fundraiser and ask for donations. This year’s 6th graders will also have the opportunity to create a plan on how they can raise money to help maintain the well.

“These students really felt like they wanted to create a better place for South Sudan,” Mrs. Rappold said. She says it’s a teacher’s dream for students to be so passionate about a book that it sparks action within them. 

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