Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

To 'buildOn' in Haiti, Lower Merion students use Web to fundraise

To build a school in Haiti, Lower Merion High School students explain their missions and seek donations.

To 'buildOn' in Haiti, Lower Merion students use Web to fundraise

Founded by former financier Jim Ziolkowski, buildOn encourages youth volunteers to go global.
Founded by former financier Jim Ziolkowski, buildOn encourages youth volunteers to go global. ( Courtesy buildOn)

Lower Merion High School students found themselves with a dilemma when they needed $66,000 to fund a two-week service trip to Haiti in May.

So without big financial backing, they turned to the nonprofit buildOn, an organization created to engage youth to contribute globally.

Now, the LMHS service club is on its way to its target. So far, the 18 students headed to Haiti to help build a small school have raised $16,731.86, according to the club’s website.

Donors can also contribute directly to students they may know, such as Elyssa Clauson.

“I am most excited to live in a house with the Haitian villages and be able to make a close connection with them, help them with their daily chores and play with their children,” Clauson wrote on her personal buildOn page.

Gio Hudock-Alston, the president of sponsorship for LMHS’s buildOn, said it’s his passion to use education to break the poverty cycle that is driving him to participate.

“This school will allow generations of Haitian boys and girls to learn the skills they need to break free of the grips of poverty,” he wrote.

The goal of buildOn is to combat poverty and illiteracy through service and education. It runs  after-school service programs and helps connects students with fundraising for construction programs in remote and impoverished communities around the world.

The organization, according to its website, has helped mobilize students in 118 schools in New York, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California.

To make a donation or learn more about their trip, visit the LMHS buildOn page.

About this blog
Josh Fernandez is a 2011 graduate of Temple University where he studied journalism and gender studies. He was a writer and editor for The Temple News, and has interned at Philadelphia City Paper and the Philadelphia Daily News. Josh lived in Aston, Pa. in Delaware County before moving to University City in Philadelphia.

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