Vernon Hills High School seeks corporate partner for Ugandan charity work
Principal Ellen Cwick, staff members Ross Caton and Rachel Blanton, alumni Steven Sprieser and Kate Lee traveled to Kapeeka, Uganda in 2011 to visit St. Jerome Primary School. | Photo courtesy of Monica Tolva
Businesses interested in helping Vernon Hills High School should contact Monica Tolva by calling (847) 932-2039 or by email at email@example.com.
Updated: May 13, 2013 2:11AM
VERNON HILLS — Teachers at Vernon Hills High School want to reconnect students with their sister school in Africa.
Students helped create an elementary school in Kapeeka, Uganda by collecting $32,500 in donations during the 2008-09 school year. The money went to local organization Children’s Outreach and Vocational Education, or COVE, which now operates the school.
But those founding Vernon Hills High School students have since graduated, and newer students lack the same connection to the project, teacher Monica Tolva said.
“There’s nobody left to remind our school and community of this act of generosity,” Tolva said. “We shouldn’t let it fade away.”
Tolva is a member First Class, a character education committee that gives 20-minute themed lessons once or twice a month in every class at Vernon Hills High School. She and other teachers plan to use next year’s lessons to recruit students for another good cause with the Ugandan school.
“We were thinking of sending every student in the school a shoebox with assorted things inside of it, like a towel, pencils, yo-yos,” Tolva said.
The Uganda school has two buildings, each the size of a ranch house, Tolva said. It boards 44 first- and second-grade students who live too far away from traditional schools.
But before staff can rally local students to further help their African counterparts, Tolva said teachers want to solve one problem: shipping.
“We’ve come across no shortage of goodwill but delivering the goods is a major problem,” Tolva said. “It’s very cost prohibitive.”
The high school is now searching for corporate partners in the community that already ship items overseas. They admit the task may take several months.
Instead of a large monetary donation, Tolva said she’d be happy with the care packages becoming “tagalongs.”
“Forty-four shoe boxes wouldn’t take a whole lot of space,” Tolva said.
Representatives from the high school visited Uganda once in 2009 and once in 2011 – both times carrying as much luggage as the airline would allow to bring donations.
“They deflated soccer balls and folded donated clothes as tightly as they could,” Tolva said. “They knew shipping was expensive and wanted to make the best of their trip.”
Once a plan for shipping is solidified, Tolva said the First Class character committee will design recruitment presentations and activities for the group that forms later.