Giving Tuesday: IFAA Students Gift Kenyan Girls High School Education
November 29, 2016 – Nine thousand miles away in Nguluni, Kenya, four young women are attending Caring Hearts High School all thanks to funds raised by Idaho Fine Arts Academy students. The tuition, room and board for one student at Caring Hearts is $500 for the year, a small price to pay for the better education of Kenyan women, but one many of their families cannot afford.
“Everyone deserves an education. Everyone should be given the chance to succeed,” shared Grace Gabby, a senior at IFAA. These bold statements have enabled Gabby, president of Student Senate and vice president of Interact Club, and her peers to raise funds at their art shows, student performances and community events to benefit the Kenya Student Project on their campus.
“Helping these students get an education will increase their confidence and influence their communities to keep other young women involved and motivated to also give back. They will not have to rely on others to support and make decisions for them,” explained Gabby. “Being a small part in getting these girls an education is the coolest thing I have been a part of.”
IFAA history teacher and Interact Club adviser Brendan Earle found particular importance in paying the tuition of Caring Hearts students for the entirety of their high school experience. IFAA students have pledged to sponsor one student in each of 9th through 12th-grade at Caring Hearts for as long as possible.
“The mindset of students has changed from initial pity for the plight of young people in severe poverty to one of empowerment, efficacy and hope as ‘our girls’ matriculate through school and graduate,” Earle boasted.
IFAA came to be involved with Caring Hearts last fall when Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku visited during a weekly assembly. As the firstborn of 12 children raised in Kenyan poverty, Kituku has a special connection to the community he now supports through Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope, Inc. – the larger organization sponsoring Caring Hearts High School.
“We made Caring Hearts our sister school last year,” shared senior Baylee Munson, vice president of Student Senate and president of Interact Club. “This project has made me want to volunteer more because it has helped me see the connection between giving and helping real people.”
Caring Hearts students have sent letters to IFAA, thanking the school community for its generosity in providing funds for their education. The ultimate communication goal, Earle shared, is to have one of the students IFAA sponsors to attend Caring Hearts visit Idaho and share some of their educational experience with the students of West Ada School District.
“As an arts school, I think it is easy for students to become overly focused on their art and themselves,” shared Earle. “By focusing on the needs of others at this point of their lives, it helps to enlarge their world and become other-centered. I hope if students can be part of a project like this as young people, they will undertake more ambitious projects as adults.”