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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Making a Difference

Read about an elementary school teacher who went on one of our serving trips and how she is making a difference in many lives here in her community and in Malawi...

Bathgate Elementary School
Creates A Warm Heart FOR Malawi!

"Alone, we can do little,
yet together we can do so much!"
Bathgate Elementary School, Mission Viejo, CA

Dottie Anderson went on a 15-day trip to Africa last summer, with her daughter, Jordan, and friend, Jake Berry. She writes, "I have been unable to forget the people of Malawi. The country is known as the “Warm Heart of Africa” and for good reason. Gratitude and compassion amongst the people there was overwhelming! Over and over, we witnessed people serving people despite their own circumstance. We knew we would be changed by this experience, as anyone would be, but where would that lead? We didn’t just want to BE changed, we wanted to BRING change".

With school starting just days after our return, my fourth grade students got a chance to hear about some of our experiences. During recess each day, they watched me pull cans and bottles from trash cans around the school. At first they just observed, but when I told them where the money was going, they joined in taking what would have been trash and turned it into treasure. By December, we had raised close to $1300.00.

Amazed by their efforts, my students wondered how much they could raise if the entire school were to help. What if we encouraged others to re-think recycling? What would happen if we brought awareness to those here and invited them to gift the money to people in desperate need? Together, we did just that!

With the help and support of Principal Kimberly Hall and student council members, Ricky Kuciemba and Lauren Henchel, collections began. Jennifer Bullockus, a student in my class, organized and managed “green teams” during recess time to sort and bag donations. Jordan and Jake used their talents to paint a huge sign to bring awareness. It reads: Re-Think, Re-Gift, RECYCLE for Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa. Over the past three weeks, Bathgate families contributed daily, and on the morning of February 11, the entire student body was seated inside the “Warm Heart FOR Malawi!” The heart was formed using all the bagged aluminum cans and plastic bottles we collected totaling close to $700!

The message: Alone, we can do little, yet together we can do so much! Our character trait at school this month is unity. Students at Bathgate were able to be part of something bigger than themselves. They experienced firsthand what is possible when people unite. It creates ‘Synergy which makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.’

We still have a ways to go before reaching our goal of $6,200.00 in order to fund a clean-water well, but we are dedicated to bringing hope and change to this world. When people ask us, “How long will you be recycling for Malawi?” Our answer is, “Forever!”

To find how you or someone you know can donate aluminum cans and plastic bottles for Malawi, contact Dottie Anderson at Check out the website too at

Together, we can be the change...
this world needs to see.

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