‘Sprouting’ change for impoverished students

• Fundraiser pulls in more than $6,000 for Nicaraguan school children

By Sean Pearson
Homer Tribune

HOMER TRIBUNE/Ryan Ridge - Volunteers serve up Indian fare at the “Sprout” fundraiser for Nicaraguan school children.

HOMER TRIBUNE/Ryan Ridge - Volunteers serve up Indian fare at the “Sprout” fundraiser for Nicaraguan school children.

When Sprout Nicaragua co-founder Lauren Scharf decided to hold another fundraising dinner in Homer this year, she was cautious about expecting as large a turnout as last year.
She was pleasantly surprised.
“I knew this was a tough year for everyone, with the economy the way it is,” Scharf said. “But once again, I was blown away by what people in Homer are willing to do.”
Word of the Indian Food fundraising dinner traveled quickly through town, with people lining up at the doors of the Kachemak Community Center before the schedule start of 5 p.m.
By 7:30 p.m., the food supply began to wane.
“We reckon 170-190 people showed up – significantly more than we expected,” Scharf explained. “Of course, those numbers are based only on the ‘very scientific’ method of counting of used forks; we had 150 and had to ask people to turn them in as they were leaving so we could wash and reuse them.”
Scharf added that both forks and plates were Loopy Lupine recyclable in the first place.
“We took in more than $6,000 in cash and in checks,” she said. “That’s pretty amazing at $10 suggested donation and a tiny raffle. Sometimes I really love this town.”
Photo provided

Photo provided

Scharf, along with Sprout co-founder Patrick Gibson, lives in Nicaragua and returns to Alaska every year to raise funds to encourage growth through education in areas like Tolasmaidas.
According to Scharf’s Web site, 3 in 4 families in the impoverished village are headed by single mothers, with little opportunity to improve their lives or earn a living to support their children.
“The children need supplies to even be considered for school,” she explained “Sometimes they will let the kids get by without the uniforms, but they insist that students have their own school supplies. There just isn’t a budget to provide needy kids with notebooks, pencils, protractors, etc.”
That’s where Sprout steps in.
“We provide the students with things like uniforms and school supplies,” Scharf said. “We also help them with opportunities to acquire scholarships that will allow them to complete high school, enroll in training programs, or attend university.”
Scharf says she believes strongly in giving everyone who wants it the opportunity to pursue an education.

She is also currently working to develop a sustainable, community-based approach to earning money in the village, starting with providing sewing machines for women of the community to sew the students’ uniforms.

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Posted by on Sep 16th, 2009 and filed under Youth. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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