US Unit: St. Joseph School, Upland, California  Eighth Grade Mission Project

The St. Joseph School eighth grade took a wonderful and exciting journey! The class decided last year to help a primary school in Sampa, Ghana, by fundraising to complete small but necessary projects the school needs. In collaboration with Change the World of One (CWOO), a nonprofit organization that connects people who want to help with people who need help around the world, the eighth grade had a unique opportunity to change the world of the students of this one primary school.

SDA Primary School is a very poor, rural school lacking in most basic amenities. From the first installment of $85 to the last, SDA Primary was able to build 20 new desks, fix an office roof, and construct seven tables and chairs for the students and teachers.  In addition to the renovations of the building, the donations provided the primary students with new school books, charts and art supplies. When the whole school got involved with a Penny War at year’s end, the donation budget skyrocketed to over $3,000. Whole classrooms were renovated with new cement floors and bright colored walls.

Hand in hand with the fundraising, the students from both schools participated in a cultural exchange program. Both sides received questions from the other and enthusiastically replied. They learned about the food, sports, playtime activities and if they each had pets. Each month the sharing of questions and answers through writing, videos and photos gave both schools a peek into their different cultures. At the end of their eighth grade year, our students gained an incredible amount of knowledge, understanding and appreciation for a culture totally different from their own. The SDA students learned that a group of people across the world cared enough about them to make a difference in their lives.

This year’s efforts will be focused on the kindergarten block of the SDA School. The structures in which these youngest students study are in a sorry state, one which doesn’t permit them to go to school during the worst of the monsoon season. The walls are not finished and the floors are dirt. The eighth grade class of 2018-2019 has their work cut out for them. We know they are up to the challenge! They will change the world by starting a change in the world of one kindergarten in Ghana.