Students raise $3,000 for water well in Zambia

By | December 22, 2011

The inspiration for a new well in Africa came from St. Norbert Abbey’s director of programming, Judy Turba. She was one of the leaders during a summer retreat at the abbey for St. Bernard teachers. She told the teachers about the dire need for clean drinking water in this impoverished African nation.


Third and fourth graders from St. Bernard School held a Jingle Bell Walk Dec. 17 to celebrate the conclusion of a fund-raising event. They raised more than $3,000 to help build a water well for a school in Zambia, Africa. (Eddie O’Neill | For The Compass)

Turba was on hand at the school to thank the kids for the more than $3,000 that were raised for this project. In a slideshow presentation, she told the kids about one of her recent trips to Zambia.

“Children are children around the world,” Turba told the students. “They like to horse around and play sports just like you all. I just want you to know that children in Africa will be praying for you and will be so grateful as they drink their clean water because of you.”

Before Turba’s short presentation, the 90-plus students were treated to a festive time of walking around the school gym and halls dressed in red and green and each donning a jingle bell around their necks. The 20-minute walk concluded with homemade Christmas cookies and juice for everyone.

In the past, money raised during this event has gone to local nonprofits such as the Bay Area Humane Society and St. Bernard’s Food Pantry. According to third and fourth grade teacher Samantha Sullivan, her kids jumped at the chance to “go global” with their charitable activity this year.

“The kids were really excited about helping children who are less fortunate, who do not have the same privileges that we have. I don’t know if our students knew that in Africa kids have to walk miles each day for clean drinking water and not just grab a bottle of water from the refrigerator. It also tied in well with the curriculum we teach where we talk about the continents,” Sullivan told The Compass.

Karen Young is the parent of a fourth grader in Diane Moberg’s class. She says her daughter Abby raised around $75 as she took pledges from family and friends for the walk.

“This is the second year Abby has done it,” noted Young. “It gave her and the other kids in her class a chance to reflect on the fact that not all kids have the same life as we have.”

At the Guyette house, a similar reaction occurred. “Hannah was very excited to come home and let us know that her fourth grade class had chosen to donate the money towards school children in Africa,” said Chris. “During our family gatherings around Thanksgiving time, Hannah let our family members know what the Jingle Bell Walk was all about and asked for donations to sponsor her.”

Guyette added that she is very proud of the school’s teachers and administration for holding this annual fund-raising event. “I enjoy the sense of community and spirit that events like this can instill in our children and their classmates.”

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