Education

Houston teacher has a worldwide reach

Teaching students to think on a global level

Lake Joy Elementary School in Houston County raised $535 to help build a well for the Empash village in Kenya. Students and teachers also donated toys, books and supplies, which teacher Sandra Crow will take to the villagers during her teaching mi
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Lake Joy Elementary School in Houston County raised $535 to help build a well for the Empash village in Kenya. Students and teachers also donated toys, books and supplies, which teacher Sandra Crow will take to the villagers during her teaching mi

A love for education has connected communities that are worlds apart.

Lake Joy Elementary School has teamed up with organization toEnable to help people in Kenya. Fifth-grade teacher Sandra Crow will travel to the Empash community and Kibera slum area for 10 days this summer to deliver donations and train teachers.

“I have a passion and a heart for cultures and international teaching. It’s just something that I do to keep myself refreshed and happy, and it helps me find a lot of enjoyment in my career,” she said.

Crow has worked with children in Ecuador and the Philippines during teaching mission trips. She was able to share her knowledge with the residents, and then pass on her experiences to her own students, she said.

She decided to go to Kenya for her third trip and focus on training village teachers. Crow’s vision and her school were able to come together after she connected with Wilson Wanene, the father of fifth-grade student Elaine Kamau. Wanene grew up in Kenya and is the co-founder and president of toEnable, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on educating and transforming children and building learning/development centers in Kenyan communities, he said

The organization is trying to raise $25,000 to build a well in the Empash community, which has no access to clean water, Wanene said. The remote village has 20 to 30 children that go to school in a small church built last year.

Lay Joy Elementary raised $535 through school fundraisers Nickels 4 Nairobi, Quarters 4 Kenya and Popsicles 4 a Purpose to help with the cost of the well, Crow said. She has a whole suitcase full of items to take with her on her trip. Students and teachers donated toys, books and supplies for the Kenyan children and teachers.

“For the kids to get involved in that, it’s quite important,” Wanene said. “It’s also teaching them about other communities and it’s opening their minds, and just helping them to think about other people.”

The school projects tied into the the third- and fifth-grade lesson plans, which made students feel passionate about the mission, Crow said. The kids made curriculum resources, such as games, books and coloring-by-number activities. They created videos and digital newsletters from their research and Skyped with a school in the Kibera slum. They did reading, social studies, science and geography activities that related to Africa and learned about the need for clean drinking water.

“My mother is from Ecuador, and I have always been drawn to a love of cultural studies,” she said. “I feel led to share my passion with my students because I think it’s important for them to think on a global level. ... It was an eye-opening experience for them.”

Crow will be in Kenya from June 29-July 9, along with Wanene’s wife Rebecca Kamau. Crow will develop teaching curriculums with volunteer teachers in the two communities and also mentor students in the Kibera slum area. She hopes the residents will feel supported, inspired and encouraged and want to learn more about education.

“We’re just so thankful for Lake Joy,” Wanene said. “We think this is just a beginning. The more people that can get involved, the bigger the impact, not just for the people in Kenya but for the kids here (in Middle Georgia).”

Andrea Honaker: 478-744-4382, @TelegraphAndrea

Want to help?

Find out more about nonprofit toEnable, make a donation, or register for the Run to Enable 5K at www.toenable.org/. The 5K is at 8 a.m. July 15 at Bonaire First Baptist Church in Warner Robins.

Read more about Sandra Crow and her project at www.smore.com/5xk2a.

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