Archive | October, 2010

Starting somewhere.

30 Oct

I was driving home today, listening to the radio, and I heard this interesting fact: “$21 million was spent on Halloween candy this year.” I don’t know if that’s just in America, or worldwide, but I am floored.

21 MILLION DOLLARS. on CANDY.

Through Building Tomorrow, we can build and outfit a classroom of a school for $6,000. $21 million will build and outfit 3,500 classrooms.

three thousand and five hundred classrooms.

I don’t know exactly how many kids there are to a classroom in these Ugandan schools. I know that in my elementary school, there were about 25. So let’s go with that.

If we take the money that was spent on Halloween candy this year, and put it towards building schools for under-served kids in Africa, we could build 3,500 classrooms. At 25 kids to a classroom, that’s 87,500 kids under a school roof that weren’t before.

That is almost three times as many kids as are currently enrolled in the Indianapolis Public School system, pre-k through high school grade 12.

What happens when you give a child a chance at education who would otherwise have none? They learn basic skills, hygiene and nutrition, which cut down on things like disease and malnourishment. They learn to read and write, they give shape to their dreams, they are given a path.

I believe children are the key to changing the future. We have to believe in them. That’s what it comes down to.

We have to believe in them.

Building Tomorrow is doing just that. Building Tomorrow is saying, as college students a world away, we believe in you. We know you can do it. We want you to do it. There is a fantastic quote tacked to my bulletin board that goes like this, “And even if the world should end tomorrow, I will plant my seed today.”

Sometimes, the world seems overwhelming. I am in college. I slept maybe 13 hours this week combined. 100% of my grocery budget went towards coffee, and in a moment of weakness, I bought a pair of boots for $40, which would probably feed a Haitian child for a month. Sometimes, the weight of the world on my shoulders feels like too much. There are environment issues and the hole in the ozone layer and the water crisis and the tiger population is dwindling and there are still people living on the streets in New Orleans 6 years after Katrina and there is starvation and such poverty even here in our own country and there’s always more more more that tugs on our heart strings and, if you’re anything like me, it can leave you feeling so burdened, so defeated. Sometimes it feels like anything we do is just a drop in the bucket.

But the bucket would be less without that drop.

I cannot hop on the next plane to Africa and go get my hands dirty for the next 6 months in a little village. I cannot physically, brick by brick, build a school. But Building Tomorrow gives me a change to realistically, tangibly, and no less importantly, change the world. Change lives of hundreds, thousands, of kids who’ve never been told hey little man, little princess, we believe in you. Be an astronaut, be a doctor. You can be whatever you want to be.

Building Tomorrow lets me build their schools from hundreds of thousands of miles away through my time, where I’m at, on my campus, through my simple act of caring. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We have a long journey ahead of us, changing a world is going to take awhile, but I’d love if you’d join us in this first step.

Come hang out with us Monday night in Letterman 125 at 6:30 at our callout meeting and world-changing kickoff. Let’s build tomorrow together, one step at a time.
Peace,
Val, VP of Fundraising

A Junior in Muncie, Indiana.

28 Oct

I have always wanted to grow up and make my impact- change the world and save the children. I imagined myself going to a small village and having all of these children running around me. I would come up with some incredible solution, and magically poverty would be gone and all of their problems would be fixed. It’s a pretty picture.

In reality, I’m a junior in college living in Muncie, Indiana. I am busy, surrounded by schoolwork and drinking more cups of coffee than hours I sleep. My biggest challenge this week is conquering my geography class without crying every time I enter the science building. I like to ride my bike, fly kites and find myself making endless to-do lists to get through the day.

So where does changing the world come back into my plan?
or
Where can I fit time in my schedule to change the world?

I was told the other day that I need to find a focus and own it- to help people get informed of that topic and go with it.

Building Tomorrow does just that. It works with students at over 30 colleges and universities throughout the US and Canada raising awareness and funds to build and support educational infrastructure projects for under-served children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Building Tomorrow currently works in Uganda in areas where there is the greatest number of children who have the least access to a primary school.

I want these children to learn. I believe education is essential in every single person’s life. I’ve seen the power of an education in my own life.

I can’t solve poverty and fix all these children’s lives.

But, I am apart of Building Tomorrow because I want these children to see the power of an education in their own lives.

Moving, working and shaping them into young adults.

We are holding our first call-out meeting on Monday, November 1 at 6:30 pm in the Letterman Building, LB125 and I would love to see you there!

Katelin Carter, VP of Outreach

Call-Out Meeting: November 1

28 Oct

Hey friends,

We are holding our first call-out meeting on Monday, November 1 at 6:30 pm in the Letterman Building, LB125.

We can’t wait to share more with you about Building Tomorrow, and the BSU chapter’s potential to do awesome things!

For more information, check out the Get Involved and Events pages at the top of the blog. They’ve been updated.

Thanks for checking in with us!

Kelly

Uganda > Snooki

27 Oct

We live in a congested era–our hectic world strewn with flashy ads, conflicting messages and a steady stream of bad news. Amidst this mess, it is indeed easier to live inside a bubble. How do we even begin making sense of what is real (let alone important) outside of it?

Personally, I enjoy my bubble. I’m a typical, busy college student trying to balance classes, clubs and friends. But at the end of the day, I’ve found, turning on the tube and watching a celebrity try on clothes just doesn’t cut it. Rather, watching these programs leaves me feeling empty, bored and frankly, kind of silly.

This is because I can feel the weight of the world’s problems–out there, somewhere–being largely ignored in favor of meaningless fluff. While it is impossible for everyone to care about all of the issues our human race/planet is currently facing, I have decided to begin donating what I can–for now, my attention–to causes that I know in my heart are worth it.

Building Tomorrow caught my attention because it is a solution in itself. Sure, anyone can spot a problem, shove it in people’s faces and try to make them feel guilty… But that might be as productive as watching The Hills. What the world needs more of are breakdowns, solutions and passion–all of which make up BT‘s mission: to build schools and educational programs for under-served youth in Africa.

The Problem:

  • Every morning, 38 million children in sub-Saharan Africa wake up with no school to attend.
  • In the Wakiso District of Uganda, one of the areas where BT currently works, the local government estimates a first grade drop-out rate of 80%.
  • 35% of all Ugandans are illiterate.
  • This is hindering millions of capable people from developing and furthering their dreams, contributing creative solutions for world problems, and reaching their potential as world citizens.

The Breakdown:

  • BT finds areas in Uganda with the greatest need for schooling.
  • A chapter in the United States (the newest at Ball State) fundraises for a new academy.
  • BT purchases a plot of land and provides the community with funds to build their new school using local supplies.
  • Community members and BT volunteers put in 20,000 hours of volunteer work to construct the academy. (Local leaders and resident committees oversee process from start to finish.)
  • Once opened, over 325 students can use the academy’s seven classrooms and library to complete the US equivalent of kindergarten through 6th grade.

The cost of a classroom? $6,000.

The cost that a club venue will pay Jersey Shore’s Snooki just to show up? $7,500.

…A handful of us here on campus think it’d be fun to start contributing our attention to something meaningful. Something that we can watch grow from start to finish. We’d like to help the children that have never heard of “fist pumping” or “bump its,” but rather have a pure and eager desire to learn. The framework for our own Ball State-funded academy is just beginning, and we couldn’t be more excited.

Wanna help?

Join us at our call-out meeting next week. We’ll keep you posted on details!

Kelly Shea, VP-Events

Dreams are what life is made of

26 Oct

Although I care about the world, I’ve never been one to get warm tingly feelings about making it a better place. I don’t buy into the concept of organic food and I don’t think the trash consumed world Wall-E lives in happened because I didn’t recycle my plastic water bottle. I’m not what you might consider the stereotypical member of an international social-profit organization.

However, I am extremely ambitious and driven. I believe anyone can do anything they want if they are fearless and hardworking. Essentially, your dreams are what life your life is made of. That’s exactly why I am so excited to be a member of Building Tomorrow.

Beyond that, Uganda is a country in a unique position: it is the youngest country in the world.  More than half of Uganda’s population is under the age of 15, making the demand for classroom space at a premium.  In order to achieve Universal Primary Education, Uganda needs to build 4,988 classrooms annually between now and 2015. Currently, about 2,786 get built each year.

I can’t imagine dreaming about what I want to do and who I want to become without having the chance to receive a proper education. Whether Ugandan children accomplish their dreams or not, every child should at least have the chance to envision the path that leads to becoming a nuclear physicist or advertising genius. Dreams are what life is made of. It is disheartening that kids just like me might not be able to make their dreams come true because they didn’t have adequate classrooms that fostered their learning and talents.

I am a member of Building Tomorrow because no one should have stagnant dreams. It’s up to the individual to be ambitious and diligent, but it’s up to organizations like Building Tomorrow to provide necessary resources for children to be able to succeed in underprivileged environments. I want Ugandan children to feel like they can do anything they want and have the basics available to them to succeed beyond what they even thought they were capable of.

I want Ugandan children to dream silly, wild dreams and just like me, have the fearless audacity to think they’ll actually accomplish them because they were given a classroom of opportunities that prepared them.

Meredith, VP of Outreach

What is Building Tomorrow?

18 Oct

Watch this video and be inspired!

A new chapter

18 Oct

Last Spring, I was in a communications course that required each student to find a social problem and create a project that could be implemented.  I knew that I wanted to focus on the issues in Africa, but was unsure where to start. I decided that I wanted to educate my peers on the issues in Africa, so I started doing research and writing a business plan. In my plan, I would create a philanthropic student organization at Ball State that would educate my peers. I was almost finished with the business plan but was not satisfied. Then I learned about Building Tomorrow.

Building Tomorrow (BT) is an international social-profit organization encouraging philanthropy among young people by raising awareness and funds to build and support educational infrastructure projects for under-served children in sub Saharan Africa.

After learning about Building Tomorrow and the work they’ve done with other universities, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to actually put my project into action. A few weeks after I sent my application in, I received a call from Maggie and we were discussing the next steps that needed to be taken.  I put together the materials required to become an official Ball State organization and as of last week, we became an official on-campus organization.

Introducing the first Building Tomorrow [at Ball State] executive board:

Kenzie Grob, Founder and President

Kelly Shea, VP of Events

Meredith McCaskill, VP of Outreach

Katelin Carter, VP of Outreach

Valerie Carnevale, VP of Fundraising

 

Please join us in helping rebuild schools in Africa!

~Kenzie