Assignment: Education-Ethiopia Book Drive Pt. 3

What started out as an idea in October 2009 ... led to a book drive in November ... and resulted in more than 6,000 books collected by December.

"I didn't think that we'd get this many books in the first place," said Spencer Daines, Cashton 8th Grade Leadership Club member. "I thought we'd only get maybe a thousands or so."

These students were collecting books as part of their 8th Grade Leadership Club philanthropy project inspired by two of their teachers.

"The Mosley's, two teachers here at Cashton, recently went to Ethiopia to adopt their son Micah, and when they came back they were deeply moved about the things that they had seen and learned about Ethiopia," said Jessica Morrison, 8th Grade Leadership Club advisor.

What moved Sarah and Jeremy Mosley most was a visit to an Ethiopian school where 400 students were sharing a library with only 75 books. That inspired these 8th graders to challenge the middle and high school students in Cashton to create a library for the students in Ethiopia out of locally donated books.

"It's good to help other people," said Jenna Vonruden. "Not just your own school but other countries, too."

After collecting the books, the students spent days weeding out books that were badly damaged or not kid appropriate and placed them into boxes. In total, 3,500 books can be shipped to Ethiopia, but it comes with a big price tag.

"We've been sending them via bulk mail M-bags," said Sarah Mosley. "They're mass mailing bags."

Each bag costs almost $300 to send and can only hold between 25 and 75 books. So, the students decided to start raising money.

"We did a dance and a hat day for students and staff to help raise money to send them over," said Carrie Urbanek.

The students raised about $5,000 to help ship the books allowing them the satisfaction of seeing how a simple idea can blossom into much more.

"It's helped me realize what some countries have and what some countries don't have and how just one little thought can provoke all 6,000 books," said Daines.

And provide new learning opportunities for students in Ethiopia and those in Cashton.

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