Student Leads Effort to Fund Needs of Kenya Children

Post a Comment » Written on May 4th, 2007     
Filed under: News
LIBERTYVILLE, IL (May 4, 2007) – The members of Libertyville Covenant Church may want to consider hiring high school junior Alex Gutierrez to lead its next fund-raising drive.

Gutierrez led his high school’s effort to raise money for about 60 children in Kenya. Students and faculty at Libertyville High School had hoped to raise $6,000. They raised an amazing $49,604.

The money will be donated to Free the Children’s Adopt-a-Village (AAV) program and will pay for a new school, drinking water, lunches, and school supplies for the next 10 years.

Fundraiser“I had some extra time on my hands and wanted to get more involved in school activities,” Guiterrez says in explaining why he agreed to lead the fund-raising effort. One of his teachers selected him to participate in a program called First Class, which helps others in the community – and now people around the world. The program selected Adopt-a-Village as its second semester project, and Gutierrez was named project manager.

“The Adopt-a-Village project was something new for the First Class program, and it really appealed to me because I wanted to try something new at school that would make a difference literally across the world,” Guiterrez says. “I also wanted to see how this whole experience would compare to activities I’ve encountered in my youth group, such as the mission trips I’ve been on.”

The drive kicked off with an assembly and lasted much of the semester. The students raised funds by selling 1,000 “LHS Cares” pins at five dollars each, Gutierrez says. Students were encouraged to raise money individually as well.

Gutierrez says he could hardly believe the success of the fundraising drive. “Literally, day-by-day, I was amazed,” he says. “It really did just keep coming in. As soon as I heard that we had reached our original goal of $6,000, I honestly had doubts about reaching our next goal of $15,000.”

But the money continued to flow in. “I kept hearing through my teacher leaders that our school was getting check after check for hundreds and even thousands of dollars – and this was almost a daily recurrence!” he says. “I was amazed at how well we led the project and our community’s generosity.”

Many Libertyville students were motivated to raise money for the school because they value their own education “and wanted to let other kids experience the same feeling,” Gutierrez says.

Dwight Nelson, pastor of Libertyville Covenant, describes Gutierrez as “a very bright young man,” but still not your average fundraiser. “Alex is quiet and humble, not normally a person you would think of leading such a big effort,” he explains, noting that the church had to coax Gutierrez to stand up in front of the congregation to share the news of the program’s success.

As to leading the church’s next fundraiser, Nelson says, “That’s not a bad idea.”

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