Over the course of 10 weeks beginning in February, the students of Pierrepont School have been working arduously to raise money for a program called Change a Life Uganda.  Through the initiative “Funds for Farming” which was hosted by the Pierrepont Green Team, the students were able to once again assist and support children halfway across the world, in rural Uganda, receive an education.  These students can now fund their own education by raising cows, pigs, and goats.  The money from our fundraiser helped to purchase these animals for the students, which they use as a source of income to fund their education.  This program was initially introduced in 2015 by Laura L. Vahey, a former Pierrepont School teacher, and her friends Jean Semler and David Thelan. Upon Ms. Vahey’s retirement last June, Jacki Mann a 6th Grade teacher and the Moderator for The Pierrepont Green Team, stepped into to continue this vital project in the Rutherford School District.  All proceeds from the effort are sent directly to the students and their moderators at St. Lawrence School in Migyera, Uganda, to purchase the animals in order to help them to continue to be self sustaining.
To kick off the program, the students were shown a video which profiled St. Lawrence’s School’s students, their lifestyle, school environment and thanking us for the work Pierrepont students, Staff, and Teachers did last year. Each homeroom was then given a piggy bank, made from recycled bottles by the Green Team, to collect the change and bills the students donated each week.  On Fridays, the money was collected and the total amount was announced the following Monday.  The top grade level classes will be rewarded for their efforts with a Skype session on April 26, 2017 with students from St. Lawrence’s.  Our goal for this initiative was to raise $4,000.   Amazingly, through the compassion and generosity of the entire Pierrepont Community, our goal was surpassed by $1,000 for a grand total of $5,000.
Not only will the lives of the students at St. Lawrence’s continue to be be positively impacted, but those of our students at Pierrepont have been effected while learning invaluable life lessons as well. Some of the reactions of the members of the Pierrepont Community were: “I learned how we had a very large and positive impact on their lives, and from watching the video we realized how lucky we are to have the things we need to survive. They can’t just go to a grocery store down the street, and clean water is very limited for them” reflected Claudia Paoli, a 6th grade student.  Mia Luciano expressed, “I felt like Funds for Farming was a really good opportunity for Pierrepont School to donate money to people who need it more than we do. It was a great program. It made me more appreciative for the things that we have. I look forward to participating in this program again next year”.  Cass Ovarsi, a fourth grader explained how much she also enjoyed participating in the project, “We learned that some people don’t have everything we have and we should help them. It was a fun way to help people outside of our community while also making ours come together. It was a lot of fun; I enjoyed seeing the video and seeing how other students live and go to school.”  Additionally, Mrs. Neesa Jarrett commented, “This program shed light on the lives that people are living outside of the scope of Rutherford, New Jersey. It teaches our children to be cognizant of all people from not just a local perspective but a global perspective as well and to help in any way that they can. It also shows them the value and power of a dollar”.
To find out more information about Funds for Farming, and other service projects Change a Life Uganda has to offer, visit changealifeuganda.org