“Linking a high School’s Social Action Program with a reputable non-profit gives students a more active role in their efforts and allows them to see exactly where the money they raised is going.”
Peter Geddeis | Director of Student Activities
Lyons Township High School
As Director of Student Activities of Lyons Township High School (La Grange, Illinois), I am always on the lookout for worthy philanthropic projects that will engage our students and help open their eyes to the world’s realities. In 2010, a colleague pointed me to an article in the Chicago Tribune about his friend who ran his own non-profit foundation. I brought the article to our Student Council, fascinated by Adam’s story and by his side job as beer vendor at both Chicago baseball stadiums. The students were drawn to his mission and they invited him to speak at an upcoming Student Council meeting.
Adam gave an inspiring talk about his humanitarian efforts in places like Africa and Central America, and the students quickly decided to partner with Adam, creating a project where our students could learn about the issues Adam was addressing in Brazil while also raising money to assist worthy projects helping kids in need there. Adam began researching the plight of kids living in the shanty-towns of Rio de Janeiro, sending us progress reports on his work there. Our students eagerly jumped into action, designing and producing Cause & Affect (the name of his NGO) T-shirts that they sold for Homecoming. They easily raised over $3,500, which Adam distributed to several projects in Rio, including a percussion project for at-risk youth and a soccer field to keep the kids off the drug-infested streets of their neighborhood.
Adam made a video documenting exactly how the money was spent, which we watched at several Student Council meetings and linked at our school’s website. I know that the students felt proud that they had made such an important contribution and that the funds they raised went so far. Adam then put the field report on his foundation’s website for students to view and share.
This experience was a great way to get our kids directly involved, rather than merely studying about an issue abstractly. They were able to see exactly where their money went and to witness how effective strategies can create a lasting difference. Adam’s professionalism can be counted on to advance similar programs in schools around the world.