Sam started an organization to help kids in Shirati, proving that a big heart is all you need to do
February 2016, Nyamagongo, Shirati Tanzania
Samuel Kaplan-Pettus, Berkeley, California
"My name is Samuel Kaplan-Pettus, and I am a sixth grader at Willard Middle School in Berkeley. When I was in third grade I got the chance to be on my school service council. One of our big jobs was to help organize our school’s walk-a-thon for charity.
"The first step was to find an organization. So I polled my class and found that people wanted to help with a lot of different issues, such as healthcare, education, and nutrition. My teacher gave me a list of nonprofits, and the one I thought best met my classes wishes was Reach Shirati (then AISCS).
"In the walk-a-thon we raised about $2,000 for Reach Shirati. The next year we had another walk-a-thon in which we raised another $3,000 and as a class we sewed book bags and sent them over to the school in Shirati. Since fifth grade I have been raising more money on my own with the help of my sister and my friends.
"We call ourselves “Kids for Shirati” this includes classmates and friends - about 8 kids altogether, We have been holding bake sales and raised over $4,000. In our latest efforts we have raised $2,000 of that amount toward the cost of building a third water tank in the village of Nyamagongo.
"Our goal is to raise $8,000 by the end of June 2016 through bake sales, Go Fund Me, and a silent auction. I really look forward to going to Shirati with my family this summer to help build the water tank that we are raising money for.
"I really want to thank everyone who has helped and guided me, including my teachers, my family, and Laura Mason. This project has became one of the biggest driving forces in my life.
"Since fifth grade I have been raising more money."