Students at area elementary schools are teaming up to make a difference, one dollar at a time.
“When a lot of people ... are willing to do something insignificant, it becomes significant,” said Josh Brake, founder of a charity group called Kutoa that helps a variety of causes worldwide.
Brake was in Sarnia recently, talking to students at Hanna Memorial and Confederation Central public schools about how they can make a difference for less than the cost of a cup of coffee or a bag of chips.
Kutoa, which is Swahili for “to give,” asks its donors to give a dollar a month. Every month, Brake's organization teams up with a different charitable partner that pitches three ways to enact positive change. Donors vote on what they think is the best cause.
This month, for example, the movement focuses on orphan care in Uganda with Uganda Venture, and donors can choose between supporting programs for healthy meals, education, or hygiene.
The basic idea behind Kutoa — a three-year-old organization founded in Georgetown, Ont. — is that a large group of people contributing small donations individually can enact massive change as a group.
For the rest of the year, classes at Confederation Central will be taking part, and students will vote on which cause they'd like to support.
“A lot of my kids are really excited about that,” said Grade 5/6 teacher Amanda Wyse.
The school has already discussed holding fundraisers in June.
It's important for students to be aware of global issues even at a young age, she said.
“They're going to be our future, so they need to have an awareness of things going on around the world,” she said. “It just fosters a greater learning and understanding of social issues.”
It was the first time Brake had talked to students at Confederation, but he’d already Skyped into classrooms at Hanna Memorial earlier in the year.
Brake said he's been pleasantly surprised by how far the organization has reached in its first few years of existence.
“We have people in 115 countries doing this now.”
So far Kutoa has raised more than $10,000.
Sarnia’s visit marked the first time Brake had given a talk in a school and he hopes to reach out to students more in the fall.
“We're actually doing it, which is nuts,” he said.
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Original Post in The Sarnia Observer (May 24, 1014)