By Emily Younker
For the second year in a row, College Heights Christian School — led by students in the National Honor Society — is raising money to dig a well in an African community in need of fresh water.
And it’s drawing attention from a nationally syndicated Christian-based television show, “The 700 Club.”
Tasha Stratton, 17, one of the student coordinators, said she was drawn to the project because she has a heart for helping others.
“I really like doing things to be able to make a difference around the world,” she said. “It’s really awesome to help people that I may never meet.”
Janene Russell, the school’s National Honor Society adviser, said she has been “floored” by the students’ generosity and spirit in donating to the project, which is offered through the relief organization Operation Blessing International, founded by televangelist Pat Robertson.
An offering — about $1,400 — from fifth- through 12th-graders taken Wednesday morning included bills of all denominations, including several $20 bills and at least one $100 bill.
About $1,800 is required to dig a well in places such as Africa and Asia, according to Operation Blessing’s Web site. Once the well is complete, the sponsor receives photos of it, of the people it will serve and of the dedication ceremony.
College Heights junior Andrew Sauer, 16, said he volunteered to help coordinate this year’s effort after giving to the project last year, when students raised enough to sponsor a well and part of a farm for a family.
“Last year, I saw the need for this and what a big deal it is,” Sauer said. “Not only are we reaching the physical needs in our community, but we’re reaching spiritual needs.”
Sauer said the promotional and testimonial videos his class watched from Operation Blessing had a huge impact on his desire to help.
“It’s horrible, the situations people are in and the need they have for water,” he said.
Sauer said he hopes the school can raise enough money this year to pay for digging another well, “and that people will see God through the project and through the school.”
Operation Blessing’s well program gives Stratton a chance to give beyond her immediate world, she said. And, she said, the focus shouldn’t be on her.
“While it’s a great blessing for me, it’s about making a difference in other people’s lives and saving their lives,” she said.
Stratton said National Honor Society students have sold bottled water at sporting events to help raise money for the well. Some students plan to visit local churches to ask for donations, she said.
An additional offering for the well will be taken in January among the school’s elementary students, Russell said.
Russell said she first heard about the program from College Heights counselor Patricia Kruse, who had individually sponsored a well through Operation Blessing.
When Russell pitched the idea to her students in the National Honor Society last year, they were “immediately on board,” she said. “The kids had no question they wanted to do it again (this year).”
Russell said she appreciates that the program has an evangelical focus, taking Christian messages into the communities where wells are being dug.
“As a result, they not only get fresh water, they get living water,” Russell said.
Russell said that once the students raise $1,800 for the well, they plan to give what funds they have left to Rapha House, an organization that rescues girls from human trafficking and other forms of sexual exploitation.
The students’ efforts have caught the attention of “The 700 Club,” the Christian-based flagship show of the Christian Broadcasting Network, also founded by Robertson. A senior producer and two cameramen were at the school Wednesday to film a segment that likely will air in January.
Dory Nissen, senior producer for “The 700 Club,” said those affiliated with the show like to see young people using their resources to support others. The show features about five stories per year that focus on young people helping the network’s Operation Blessing division, she said.
“We as a broadcasting staff are constantly on the lookout for the young generation helping their community,” Nissen said. “We think that’s very important.”
The film crew taped Wednesday morning’s offertory and praise and worship session with the school’s older students. The crew then filmed interviews with Russell, Stratton and Sauer.
Nissen said she expects to create a three-minute segment to promote giving to Operation Blessing. The segment likely will be broadcast during a two-week fundraising period in January, though she said she wouldn’t have an exact date until one or two days before it is scheduled to air.
“The 700 Club” airs at various times on the ABC Family cable channel.
Tasha Stratton said she and her classmates at College Heights Christian School participate in several service projects throughout the year. Their primary community outreach project is a blood drive conducted twice a year. Within the school, they go to the elementary classrooms and teach lessons on positive values such as kindness and character, Stratton said.
By Emily Younker
Students show off projects at regional History Day contest
Jillian Lopes knew she wanted to research the Holocaust for this year’s History Day competition, but the subject was far too broad. So she whittled it down until she was focused on Irena Sendler, a non-Jewish Polish woman who worked to save children during the Holocaust and whose life later became the subject of a play called “Life in a Jar.”Continued ...
- MSSU panel prepares presidential job advertisement for publication
- Hundreds of Four-State Area students turn out to mark 40th PSU Jazz Festival
- Kansas high court: School funding unconstitutional
- Students show off projects at regional History Day contest
Second defendant sentenced in Joplin murder; man assessed 15 years in slaying of Jacob Wages
Circuit Judge David Mouton assessed Cody Stephens 15 years in prison Friday for his role in the home-invasion murder of 23-year-old Joplin resident Jacob Wages. Stephens, 22, pleaded guilty Dec. 6 to second-degree murder and first-degree burglary in a plea deal capping the prison time he might receive at no more than 15 years.Continued ...
- Wally Kennedy: Music store design hits right note
- Runners to inaugurate trail in Walnut Bottoms
- 10 restaurants participating in fundraiser for Camp Mintahama
- Second defendant sentenced in Joplin murder; man assessed 15 years in slaying of Jacob Wages
US stocks drift lower as Ukraine tensions fester
Stocks were directionless in late-afternoon trading Friday as tensions built in Ukraine, where the region of Crimea was preparing for a referendum on whether to split away and become part of Russia.Continued ...
- US employers add 175K jobs despite harsh weather
- US rig count up 23 to 1,792
- Ukraine oligarchs get key posts in bid for unity
- US stocks drift lower as Ukraine tensions fester
Prosecutors: General coerced captain into affair
With the Pentagon under increased scrutiny over revelations of rampant rape and sexual misconduct within the ranks, opening statements began Friday in a rare court-martial of an Army general — believed to be the most senior member of the U.S. military to face trial on sex assault charges.Continued ...
- 20 homes remain uninhabitable after NJ explosion
- Two years later, Congress poised to undo flood law
- US taking steps to help NATO allies in Europe
- Prosecutors: General coerced captain into affair
- Death Notices