Like many members of our movement, when Luca Benedict learned that there are children in Nicaragua who are unable to obtain educations because their communities don’t have schools, he knew he had to do something. But Luca is different than the typical buildOn supporter in one major way — he’s barely six years old.
After learning about the global education crisis, Luca went home from kindergarten and asked his mom if he could empty out his piggy bank to help build a school. But even that didn’t feel like enough. Luca had a birthday coming up, and an idea came to him. Instead of asking for presents to celebrate turning six, he would collect money and give it to build a school in Nicaragua.
“It was truly selfless and it touched my heart,” Luca’s mother, Catie, says. “[When he came home from school] I asked him about his day, and he said that he learned about Nicaragua from high school students. He said, ‘Did you know that kids there don’t have schools to go to and that they don’t even have utensils to write with?’”
After learning about the global education crisis, Luca went home from kindergarten and asked his mom if he could empty out his piggy bank to help build a school.
The high schooler who spoke to Luca’s kindergarten class is Julia Chase, a senior at International Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Julia has been on two Treks with her buildOn International Academy Community Team, and she will be traveling to Nicaragua in February to break ground on her third school with buildOn. She spoke to Luca’s kindergarten class in December as part of an annual trip International Academy buildOn students take to Schroeder Elementary to raise awareness about the importance of access to education in developing nations like Nicaragua.
Above: Luca and Julia pose for a photo. “When I was Luca’s age I just cared about dolls and stuff like that, I didn’t even know where Nicaragua was,” Julia says. “To see this kid which such open eyes and caring about others on a global level is just so heartwarming.”
When Julia learned that Luca was planning to donate his birthday to raise money for a buildOn school in Nicaragua, she grew emotional. “I started to tear up,” Julia says. “To be a kindergartner and be thinking about such big world problems and actually doing something about it is profound.”
Luca’s mother, Catie, is hopeful that Luca will one day be able to go on a Trek with buildOn. “Both Luca and I have been learning Spanish, so I think in a few years from now he would also be up for a Trek to Nicaragua,” she says.
“To be a kindergartner and be thinking about such big world problems and actually doing something about it is profound.”
Luca turned six years old on December 20th and held a birthday party to collect money for the International Academy Community Team’s school construction in Nicaragua with buildOn. Afterwards, he visited the International Academy Community Team to present them with the money he raised.
When asked how it feels to help build a school, Luca smiles. “Good,” he says. “No. Actually, super!”
Above: Luca kept the money he raised in an envelope labeled “For Nicaragua” before giving it the International Academy Community Team. “I thought everyone would like [that I donated my birthday],” Luca says. “And everyone would think I’m the best guy in the world and vote for me when I become president.”