Monday, December 10, 2012

Hamilin Elementary students are part of non profit to build orphanage overseas

Rochester Hills second-graders create nonprofit to help build orphanages overseas WITH VIDEO


After Hamlin Elementary School teacher Kristin Cumming taught her class about the living conditions overseas, the Rochester Hills second-graders were shocked to learn that many children live without basic necessities.

“They were completely surprised to hear that some kids don't have meals or that some kids might take food out of the trash to eat it,” Cumming said. “I talked to my class about how, for Christmas, they might want a Wii or a (Nintendo) DS. Kids around the world just want food, and they didn’t understand that until then.”

And so the idea was born, with the help of Cumming’s friend Chandler Yatooma, to create a nonprofit where students can help provide basic needs to other children around the world. Fittingly, they named the nonprofit Classrooms Helping Kids.

Cumming’s second-grade class was hands-on in creating the organization. The students are featured in the promotion video, wrote the script and helped design the nonprofit’s logo.
Yatooma, a former teacher in the Bloomfield Hills School District, said, “People think, because they’re kids, they can’t do anything to help out. But I think people really underestimate the potential of children.”



Cumming and Yatooma have partnered with rescue orphanage organizations to start fundraising programs within Oakland County schools to build orphanages around Latin America. And two orphanages in India already have been built through their organization this year.

Cumming said, as soon as the ribbons were cut, the kids in India ran into their new homes and jumped on their  new beds.

“The kids selected for the homes get three meals a day, a backpack, school shoes and school uniforms,” Cumming said. “Along with house parents who are teaching them and raising them, they are also enrolled in school. A lot of times, in other countries, orphans aren’t allowed to attend school until they are officially registered by the government. They need to have a home to be registered for school.”

The house parents live within the country and donated the land where the orphanage is built.
Yatooma said, “Before the orphanage was built, (the house parents) had 50 kids sleeping outside of their home and sleeping on the floor of their home.”

Cumming and Yatooma will work with schools in Oakland County to tailor a plan with different fundraising options, such as selling wristbands, T-shirts, hat days and the like. They also can host school assemblies or help teachers form a lesson plan to teach students about the living conditions in Latin America.

“We will come in and do all the work for them,” Yatooma said.

Local businesses Outdoor Creations Group, A Plus Painting and Mattress Closeout Center have donated money for the promotional materials, so 100 percent of funds raised by students will go toward building orphanages.

Cumming said, with many school fundraisers, students don’t understand why they are bringing in cans of soup. She wanted to create a curriculum-based fundraising opportunity where students can be directly involved.

“We want to teach kids in America to be leaders and philanthropists. What better way to do that than to show them how to raise money to help other kids from around the world,” Cumming said.

The cost for an orphanage, which houses between 12 and 25 kids, is $15,000 to $25,000. Cumming said, for a school of 600 students, each child would only need to raise $27 to build an orphanage. A plaque will be made to hang inside the orphanage, engraved with the name of the school which sponsored it. The students also can become pen pals with the children in the orphanage they helped open.

Yatooma said people have told her they don’t understand why she is helping children in other countries.

“If people need help, help them. It doesn’t matter what country they live in,” Yatooma said. “We have a foster-care system here. No one will ever let a kid just live on the street. They don’t have that there.”

Yatooma said, when she visited India, she talked to orphans about their stories and learned many were forced into child labor.
Cumming added, “In America, we have homeless people. But we also have homeless shelters. Homeless people in India have nothing.”

“(America) has a government and structure that gives aid to people. Other governments may not have that in place.”

FYI

Schools interested in collaborating with the 501(c)3 nonprofit Classrooms Helping Kids can call 248-633-8535 or email info@classroomshelpingkids.org. To donate money to help open an orphanage in Latin America, visit classroomshelpingkids.org or mail a check to 1605 S. Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Township