Aylett students help Kenyan orphans
When Aylett Country Day School alumna Susan Elliott Eastwood, Class of 1977, looked to broaden her base of support for a school in Nakuru, Kenya, she had to look no further than her former elementary school.
In late spring of 2007, she e-mailed alumni director Judy Allen with an idea and was put in touch with Kathy Watkins, SCA sponsor. In October of 2007, Watkins invited Eastwood to come and speak to the Aylett middle school about her volunteer work in Kenya at the Hope Children’s Home, an orphanage directed by Rev. Josam Kariuki.
The orphanage is supported by the Nakuru United Methodist Church and the Kenya Partner Ministries, a non-profit US organization. These organizations are currently helping to build a boarding school that will be attended by 20 students from Hope Children’s Home and more than 100 orphans from Kenyan slum areas.
The Aylett students were fascinated by Eastwood’s story of her visit there, the meager facilities, and the tremendous need for supplies that they themselves took for granted. They immediately agreed to help and wrote letters for individual Kenyan orphans.
Over the winter and early spring, the students at Aylett collected pens, pencils, medical thermometers, toothbrushes, toothpaste and socks. In addition, they donated over $950 in loose change to contribute to a dual matching program, making their total impact equal almost $3,000.
Eastwood traveled to Nakuru for the second time April 6-23 of this year, hand delivered the students’ letters to their pen-pals, and showed pictures of her visit to Aylett. In May, she returned to Aylett Country Day School with handwritten letters for the Aylett penpals and presented a touching CD presentation of the impact that the Aylett students made at the school.
Eastwood plans to return each year to the Hope Children’s Home, and Watkins and Eastwood plan to expand the penpal writing project, develop a new supply collection program, and implement a new fundraiser to help with school clothing and construction.
The ultimate dream is for Aylett to send a group of students in February 2009 or 2010 with Eastwood so the students can see firsthand how students can help students.