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Student-Inspired Project Raises $1,800 for Indias Rag Pickers
June, 03rd 2008

Creativity and two months of determination enabled the Trailblazer group of children - kindergartners through sixth grade students at Elim Covenant Church - to raise more than $1,800 to help children in India who survive by selling what they find among garbage-strewn streets.

The stories of these children spending long hours digging through garbage heaps, hoping to find resalable items in order to provide food and clothes for their families (many being orphans), stirred the hearts of the Moline youth, says one of the leaders, Natalie Hermann.

OlsonThe 12 Moline students learned of the plight of their counterparts half a world away because the church is participating in Caring for the Children, a project of the Evangelical Covenant Church. The money will be donated to the Hindustani Covenant Church (HCC), which ministers to the children.

It was a child who led the church. Ten-year-old Nehemiah Olson (accompanying photo) came up with the idea of a read-a-thon. He put together a board of pictures and facts about the rag pickers and even recruited two siblings to help make news videos for the congregation.

The children sought sponsors to donate change for every chapter in the Bible that the kids read. Each child was given a page with a two-month calendar for recording chapters read on one side, and a place to collect sponsors on the other.

Nehemiah, who already feels called to be a missionary in Africa, raised $1,200 by reading 264 chapters, says Hermann. The children chose what chapters they wanted to read and picked books from both testaments, including Proverbs, Esther and Matthew.

Olsons mother, Brenda, directed the news videos. Nehemiahs brother, 15-year-old Nathanael, portrayed a street reporter getting the scoop on the project. Nehemiahs 13-year-old sister, Abby, filmed the reports, which were shown on a screen during church services for four consecutive weeks.

We had a pile of clean trash in our gathering area as way of getting people's interest, says Hermann. Other children were interviewed for the news segments.

The group learned that getting a good 60-second interview can sometimes be difficult. One filming took nearly 35 minutes due to giggles, bloopers, and noises coming from another room, Hermann says.

She was thrilled with the students work. These kids proved that children are not only our future, they are our now!

To learn more about the childrens service project, please visit India: Caring for the Children. Visit the Elim Covenant Church website to learn more about the church and its ministries.

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