NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — A TeamMates mentoring relationship inspired McDaid sixth-grader Ben Hankla to help students in Kenya.
Local optometrist Dr. Kim Baxter has been Ben’s mentor for three years and out of that relationship one project in Kenya has been completed and a second is underway.
Baxter has made a number of trips to Kenya for eye clinics and in the process met Alice Atemo, who started three faith-based schools there. There are 1,000 students in those schools and boarding houses, with nearly half being orphans, Baxter said.
A school and boarding house in Kenya burned to the ground in April, and Ben and his classmates hope to raise money to replace textbooks and school supplies.
“Here in America we’ve got it pretty well, but in Africa they don’t have many resources and (the students in Kenya) need help,” Ben told The North Platte Telegraph. “That’s why Dr. Baxter goes there for eye care. I’m just happy to help them.”
Two years ago, classmates including Jack Condon, Oliwia Wiezorek, Gianna Pieper and Justin Davies raised nearly $2,000 to purchase a new water pump for a school. The students have set a higher goal for the current project.
“We are trying to raise $3,000,” Ben said.
He was tasked with making a presentation to St. Patrick Catholic Church and spoke at the four Masses last weekend.
“I talked about what we did two years ago and how we exceeded our goal,” Ben said. “I talked about how Dr. Baxter and I are TeamMates members and how the school burned down and how much money we needed to raise.”
Baxter said Ben did a great job in making his presentation and the church responded in a big way.
“I think we all love to see young people doing good things in our world.” Baxter said, “and having a passion for helping people and living out their Christian faith.”
Baxter will be taking his annual eye clinic mission trip in February to Shikunga, a village in western Kenya.
A larger project that is underway is a hospital that is being built in Kakamega County. The building will be named Craig Memorial Rotary Clinic, after Baxter’s son who died six years ago.
The students have been making presentations at all three area Catholic parishes, as well as the North Platte Catholic Schools. They are also asking for assistance from all other area churches, civic organizations and the community at large.
To assist with this effort, drop off or mail your donation before Monday to McDaid Elementary or St. Patrick’s High School. If you are writing a check, make it out to “North Platte Rotary Club” and write “Kenya School project” in the item line.
Source link : https://www.wral.com/north-platte-sixth-grader-helping-students-in-kenya/20087724/
Publish date : 2022-01-23 06:01:09