By Elaina Russo, Director of Development
When Krista Brown from ChildVoice came to speak to PCA students earlier this year, she likely didn’t expect that the impact of that visit would linger and produce fruit months later when two of PCA’s 7th-Grade students spearheaded a fundraiser to support the organization. Enter PCA’s Anhar Saad and Truman Smith. I had the opportunity to sit down with Anhar and Truman this week to learn more about their fundraiser.
How did you first become aware of ChildVoice and why did you want to support it?
Anhar and Truman: “Someone from ChildVoice came and spoke to us earlier this year. The video she showed was sad and impactful. It showed different kids’ stories about what happened to them.” ChildVoice invests in the lives of war-affected children through sustainable interventions, research, collaboration, and advocacy. What began in 2006 as a response to the child-soldier stories out of Uganda developed into a response in Nigeria and South Sudan, as well. The information from Krista’s presentation and video revealed that boys and girls were abused and forced to become soldiers in wars that were not their own and commit unspeakable acts. Young female soldiers were raped and turned into sex slaves, and subsequently, they often became young mothers. Those who escaped often came home to family and communities that rejected them because of their actions. Stigmatized—and often responsible for a baby born out of their captivity—these young people had no resources or way to get out from under their circumstances.
After viewing Krista’s video presentation that showed stories—before and after—of lives torn apart and then in stages of repair, Anhar and Truman said their hearts were moved “seeing what other kids our own age were going through.”
How did the fundraiser idea come about?
Truman: “Later in the year—a few months after the ChildVoice presentation—we had to create a Legacy Project, an assignment that was part of a Kindness unit, and we decided to do something for ChildVoice.”
What’s a Legacy Project?
Anhar: “It’s a project that has us answer the question: ‘What do you want your legacy to be?’”
And what do you want your legacy to be?
Anhar: “I want to bring awareness to groups of people others wouldn’t know about to help them.”
Truman: “I want people to know they are loved.”
Why a bake sale?
Anhar: “Originally, we wanted to have a carwash, but the logistics didn’t work out. Dr. Abood suggested a bake sale as an alternative.”
Were other students involved in the bake sale?
Anhar and Truman: “It was just us. Other kids worked on other Legacy Projects.”
What was your goal for the bake sale?
Anhar and Truman: “We didn’t really think we’d make more than $100.”
Who actually did the baking?
Anhar and Truman: “We did.” Included in the offerings were individually offered “hand treats”—cookies, brownies, cupcakes—and included regular, gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options.
What was the best part of the bake sale?
Anhar: “Seeing the big line of kids wanting to buy something.”
Truman: “Seeing all the people come together to support it…and selling out of everything”
What’s one more thing you want people to know about the bake sale?
Anhar: “Ms. Scott was a huge help. She supported us the whole way and she believed in us.”
How can other people get involved?
Anhar: “Donate and take the time to learn about other people and their situations.”
Truman: “Pray for the kids.”
At the time of our interview, the total funds raised were still being counted. I asked Anhar and Truman to let me know the final number the next day. I was surprised when, just minutes later, they reappeared at my office with huge smiles on their faces to hand me the sticky note that had the total: $700.26! Seven times their goal!
(Those of you who know scripture know that “seven” is the number in the bible…mentioned over 600 times. A reminder from God? I’ll let you decide.)
As I congratulated and thanked Truman and Anhar, I was reminded of 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”
Thank you, Anhar and Truman, for being an example of leaders who demonstrate values we all strive for: Christ-centeredness, biblical integrity, humility, and joy. And thank you to the PCA community who supported Anhar and Truman by stopping at the bake sale (or sending a couple of dollars in with your child to pick out a treat). Anhar and Truman led the way for us all to impact the world for good.