Pencils for Promise is a new organization at TU, founded by senior Gabriella Pierce. Through this organization, Pierce hopes to raise 25,000 dollars to build a school in Ghana.
Pierce’s interest in this organization began after studying abroad in Ghana the summer of 2013, where she did a service project “at a primary school, which was in a lot of need … The school had a tin roof, with a dirt floor, and that’s all it had. There were no books,” Pierce said.
The trip was, according to Pierce, “an awakening experience because it really touched (her) that these kids were still going to the school every day and doing the best that they could, and the teachers were working with what they had.”
“Through that, I developed an interest in doing international aid work,” Pierce said. She then read a book by the founder of Pencils for Promise, Adam Braun, and was further inspired. Her organization is now a part of the larger Pencils for Promise organization.
Although the organization was approved by the Student Association several months ago, Pierce said she “hasn’t really had time to get going because it’s been a busy semester.” The organization’s first fundraiser was this past Tuesday at Chipotle, which raised about 200 dollars in three hours. “That’s our first step in a big project,” said Pierce, who hopes to raise at least a thousand dollars by the end of her senior year.
Much of the success of the project, according to Pierce, “is going to be dependent on getting people to help and finding people who are also passionate about the topic.”
Because most of the student volunteers she’s working with are seniors, Pierce said she hopes to involve more undergraduates soon.
“It’s a big project,” she said, “and I don’t want to have to do it all myself.” Next semester, she is thinking about organizing a coin drive, or “maybe partnering with an elementary school to build more of a community around the Pencils for Promise team.”
The goal of raising 25,000 dollars will account for the foundation of the school. However, “(The Pencils for Promise organization) does other things, like funding teacher training and student scholarships … They keep working with the schools,” Pierce said. “It’s an ongoing commitment so they provide other things.”
Through the organization, Pierce hopes to give the students from Ghana “the resources to help their community so they can become sustainable.”
“They have tons of dedicated teachers and people who are absolutely invested in making sure they get the best education possible,” she said, “but they have very few resources to work with.”
While she realizes that we certainly have needs here at home, Pierce believes that we can’t only focus on problems here in the U.S.
“We have an incredible number of resources that people can use, that people from the outside don’t have,” she said, “so if someone here isn’t fighting for (the students from Ghana), who is?”
In the end, Pierce said, “certainly, you have to be conscious of need on several levels. But once you find that niche that you’re passionate about, you should go for it.” This organization, according to Pierce, is “what I felt I needed to do.”