Students help sustain life in Kenya

Published Thursday, May 28, 2009

The students at Woodrow Cummins Elementary School all have dreams of leading happy, safe and successful lives.

For most of these kids, those goals are attainable, but kids around the world aren't always that lucky.


Third-grader Olivia Cummins puts a pie in the face of her principal, Charlotte Green, at Woodrow Cummins Elementary School during program celebrating meeting a fundraising goal. LIBERTY PARKS PHOTO

However, with community donations and a willingness to do the Chicken Dance, the Conway students have made dreams come true for children at the Bread of Life School in Kitale, Kenya.

According to third-grade teacher Matthew Huff, who led a recent project in conjunction with the Chicks for Children Foundation, the students raised money during a Chicken Dance marathon to purchase chickens for residents of the Kipsongo Slum.

Students let out a gasp while assembled Wednesday when Huff announced the grand total of more than $6,700 almost double their goal.

"What you all have done is an amazing thing," said Jim Cooper of the Foundation, who lives in Kenya with the children. "Through your contributions, we are changing kids' lives and we are changing the Kipsongo Slum because these kids are the future of Kenya. You are giving hope back to them."

Mark Cooper of the University of Central Arkansas, who founded Chicks for Children, told the students that when they decide to do something, they do it right.

"You all are helping make dreams come true for these children and the love you have is something that will never be forgotten," he said.

Although Huff said he knew the "warm, fuzzy feeling" was reward enough for the students' hard work, he said they would get to celebrate their work a little more at the assembly.

Olivia Cummins, Matthew Kulbeth and Wyatt Basinger raised the most money during the fundraiser, so they were given the opportunity to live every kid's dream. They were able to smash pies in the faces of Huff, Principal Charlotte Green and Assistant Principal Kenny Clark with no repercussions.

After the assembly was over and the kids' laughter had died down, Huff said he was blown away by the kids' interest in the service project.

"I think they really worked hard to raise money because they know they are bettering these kids' lives," Huff said.

Cooper echoed Huff's sentiments and said he was also astounded by the students' efforts.

"We are always trying to develop difference makers and the kids at Woodrow Cummins, with the help of teachers and parents, have truly made a difference," Cooper said.

According to Cooper, Chicks for Children is not designed as a hand-out for kids in need, but as a way to help these children help themselves.

"What we have learned in working with the kids in Kenya is that in terms of giving, it's hard to depend on random acts of kindness," Cooper said. "This project provides a means by which they can provide for themselves with the chickens and the eggs they will produce. This act of kindness is not random."

Cooper said he knows this newfound "global friendship" is just beginning and he can't wait to see what good the students of Woodrow Cummins do next.

(Staff writer Jessica Bauer can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to Send us your news at

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