It was just this past April when Elijah and Hudson Rodgers traveled to Haiti with buildOn to help build a primary school during their Spring Break. The experience was transformational for these two brothers and they immediately knew they wanted to do more. Now, with support from their own Dallas International School, Elijah, Hudson and their school community are using creative ways to fundraise to build a second school in Haiti. From a dedicated website selling various goods, to canned food drives and garage sales, their community is working hard to raise money!
Interview with Elijah and Hudson
Tell us about your experience in Haiti
Elijah: I go to a really nice school called the Dallas International School so I thought that it would be nice to help other kids who did not have the same opportunity as us. When I traveled to Haiti, I found out that there are many things that I love about the way people live in the countryside. They all seem so close, and happy. Even though we know there is a lot of poverty, the culture in Haiti is very rich. We want to go to Haiti again because when we found out that the school we helped build would only have 3 classrooms, we wanted to help them have classrooms for all the kids in first through sixth grade.
Hudson: When we were in Haiti all the kids seemed so happy to go to school, even though the school was outdoors and not well built. It felt nice to know that we could help with something that was so important to them. When we gave our friends books that we brought from Dallas, they could not believe they had books of their own and they would read them and then trade with their friends. I love books to so sharing some of mine with them felt like the right thing to do.
What kind of things are you doing to raise money to build the second school?
Elijah: My friends and I held a garage sale at the end of school year and raised over $3,000. We organized the sale, spent the day trying to get customers and then took all the left-over stuff to Goodwill. I also designed and created a website to sell our T-shirts and coffee.
Hudson: I went around in my neighborhood and asked our neighbors to leave their cans on their porch on Saturdays and then we take them in to collect money. We are considering making a cookbook with recipes from every country represented at our international school.
What would you say to others like you who are thinking about helping build a school?
Elijah: It was one of the best experiences in my life. It is hard to raise the money, but you should still donate so others can go experience the program. We made so many friends in Haiti while we were there, and there were always kids around who were interested in sharing their culture. We love Haiti now and want to help them be successful.
Hudson: I liked so many of the kids I met, I feel like they are my friends. Even when we were working hard mixing concrete or moving bricks, it seemed like fun and you saw that everyone else was working so hard, that you never wanted to take a break.
How can people help you reach your goal?
Elijah: You can donate directly to our fundraising website: http://act.buildon.org/fundraise?fcid=290851, or you can buy T-shirts and coffee through an alternate webstie: www.DIS4Haiti.com. We have a long way to go to raise enough money so we are always looking at other ideas.