St. Rose of Lima School Activates Empathy Through Donation to Children of Haiti

St. Rose of Lima School Activates Empathy Through Donation to Children of Haiti

Carrefour, HaitiNewtown, United States
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

St. Rose of Lima elementary school partnered with Kids Around the World to relocate a large playscape to Carrefour, Haiti to aid displaced children there.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

American families largely take for granted the playscapes and playground equipment that dot our schools and parks. But in many areas of the world where families have been hit by war, poverty, illness and natural disasters, children have no such luxuries. As a result, there is a dire need to help children be children in strife-ravaged countries like Haiti, despite the hardships they’ve faced. And there is an equally pressing need to raise awareness among U.S. children as to their global cousins’ situation, activate empathy and motivate action to help. We also need to “reduce, reuse, recycle” on a larger scale.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our school recently saw and seized an opportunity to create a virtuous, eco-friendly giving circle that will bring daily joy to children in Carrefour, Haiti, and will foster a spirit of gratitude and giving back in our students, consistent with our school’s mission and core values. Partnering with Kids Around the World, St. Rose will donate a large, used playscape from our elementary school playground that had been dismantled to make way for portable classrooms. The playscape will be refurbished, transported and reassembled in Carrefour. Photos and details will be sent back to St. Rose so that the community can celebrate the giving circle. And finally, a new playscape and outdoor learning area will be erected at St. Rose of Lima School dedicated to the children of Carrefour. Our students will Feel and Imagine the plight of their Haitian children, Do something to help, and Share and celebrate the journey of the playscape as a school community.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

According to the representatives from Kids Around the World with whom we are working, there is a location that wants the playground, Grace International, in Carrefour. Located about eight miles from Haiti’s capital city of Port au Prince, the former girls’ school was destroyed in the January 2010 earthquake. After the earthquake the compound was opened to people who lost their home; more than 20,000 people have reportedly lived in tents within the 20-acre space. There is a perfect flat, level area where the playscape will be erected for use by the children in the compound. The installation is expected to be complete by June 2012. At St. Rose, the dismantling of the playscape (assisted by school parents and volunteers) was captured in photos and a large poster was created to share the event with students and visitors to the school. The students are very engaged in the project and excited to see the playscape’s new location. They are also learning about Haiti and the children’s living conditions as part of the project, and are praying for them daily and at weekly mass.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We don’t view our project in a competitive framework, and so have no formal response to these questions. We hope that our school will set the example for many schools across the U.S. who are in a position to help children in this way, and our fondest wish would be that many schools donate their used playground equipment and deeply engage their students in the donation process.
About You
Organization:
Saint Rose of Lima School
About You
First Name

Michelle

Last Name

Whitlock

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Saint Rose of Lima School

Organization Country

, CT, Newtown, Fairfield County

Country where this project is creating social impact

, OU, Carrefour

Your role in Education

Other.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with

Private (tuition-based)

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Innovation
How long has your solution been in operation?

Operating for less than a year

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

Our school, St. Rose of Lima elementary school, partnered with Kids Around the World to relocate a large playscape to Carrefour, Haiti.

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

Instead of becoming trash, the playscape will be reused in a way that is socially conscious, “green”, and raises global awareness.

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

As the playscape has just been dismantled and transported to Pennsylvania for refurbishing, it is still in transit. But within the school, the project has created a feeling of pride and fostered curiosity about Haiti and its children. In a local newspaper article detailing the project, St. Rose of Lima Principal Mary Maloney reports that many of the children initially asked “Where’s Haiti?”, giving teachers a chance to educated students about the challenged country and its citizens. Additionally, the local community has reacted very positively to the school’s donation, which has been chronicled in the Newtown Bee and on the Newtown Patch.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

Because the playscape is large and was in relatively good condition, we expect that it will provide many years of happiness to the children at the Grace International compound. And because we are embracing the donation as a school community, and dedicating the new playscape and learning area to our Haitian recipients, we anticipate that our students will carry the awareness and pride for many years, and will realize that there are many opportunities to give back, show empathy and find creative solutions that will benefit the planet and the world.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

We don’t anticipate any barriers to the success of the first phase of our project – specifically, getting the playscape to Haiti. Kids Around the World is a tested and trusted partner that has removed and reinstalled more than 200 playgrounds since the organization was founded in 1995. The second phase of the project is to raise enough funds to purchase, install and dedicate the replacement playscape and build a learning area with an outdoor classroom. Our inability to raise enough funds for the expenditure is our biggest barrier, and so we are seeking grants and alternative funding to achieve our goal.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Used playscape refurbished, transported and reassembled in Carrefour, Haiti by June 2012;Replacement playscape scoped & funded.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Used playscape refurbished, transported and reassembled in Carrefour, Haiti by June 2012

Task 2

Replacement playscape scoped, funded and reinstalled by June 2012, along with construction of an outdoor learning area.

Task 3

St. Rose school new playscape and learning area dedication and celebration ceremony (incorporating photos/video from Haiti)

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Bond formed with Haitian community that extends the scope and magnitude of our school's aid and support.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

St. Rose school new playscape and learning area dedication and celebration ceremony (incorporating photos/video from Haiti)

Task 2

Find direct aid conduit to Carrefour to assist the children of that community through food and clothing drives, etc.

Task 3

Dedication plaque or stone in place at the new playscape/learning area as a daily reminder of our school’s on-going mission.

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

Our school’s mission is to provide children in preschool through eighth grade a foundation for academic excellence in a faith-based community. We seek to foster student’s personal spiritual growth, responsibility, and Christ’s message of service to others – and we try to model those values in everything we undertake.

St. Rose Playground Committee chair Jim Walsh, along with other parent and faculty volunteers, were facing the task of removing the large metal and plastic playscape parts, assuming they were bound for the local dump. But they had a nagging feeling that there must be a better way. Researching manufacturers for the new playscape, Mr. Walsh first heard about Kids Around the World. That was the “aha!” moment where he saw an opportunity to achieve a greater good and inspire empathy in our students.

Sustainability
Tell us about your partnerships

We are partnering with Kids Around the World, an Illinois-based, faith-based non-profit that has been refurbishing playgrounds and playscapes since 1986. Their organization’s mission is to help children and families who have been affected by war, poverty, illness and natural disasters. Their passion is to reach children around the world with the message of God’s love for them. For more information: www.kidsaroundtheworld.com

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

St. Rose of Lima School has a Playground Committee comprised of involved and engaged parent volunteers who are determined to complete this project and achieve the broadest possible impact with the project – in Haiti, in our school and in our community. Our school has a rich and long history of parent volunteerism, and we are confident that we will complete the project milestones laid out in this submission.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

We would be glad to assist other schools seeking to donate their used playground equipment via Kids Around the World, or serve as a reference for that non-profit organization. Additionally, we would be happy to share ideas for celebrating the giving circle and engaging students in the process.