“Inspiring” Change in Kolfe, Ethiopia
Nate Butler, one of the hosts for World Vision’s 2020 Social Innovation Challenge Competition, asked Team Destia to describe their winning presentation in one word; Elyssa Bahr answered, “inspiring,” and that is exactly what it is.
Team Destia, of Faith Lutheran Middle School and High School, is made up of sophomores: Mason DeVore, Nikki Manukyan, McKenna Erwin, and Elyssa Bahr, advised by Mr. Scott Fogo, principal. This group of sophomores was not the only team who entered this competition; there were several teams who worked together to find a solution to this year’s challenge: How can recreation combat youth drug addiction in Ethiopia? Two teams from Faith Lutheran made it into the USA/Canada top 5, and that was Team Destia and Team Basketball4TheBetter.
Team Basektball4TheBetter was made up of seniors: Lauren Tomita, Saige Schweitzer, Gabby Cooke, and Max Heinz, advised by Mr. D. Smith and Miss A. McDaniel. Both teams made Faith Lutheran proud, and Team Destia won the competition! What is special about World Vision’s Social Innovation Challenge is that the winner actually gets to implement their business plan! With $25,000 seed money from World Vision, Team Destia will see, in person, their community garden come to life in Ethiopia. This garden, structured around a support staff, will help prevent and intervene school-aged children from addiction to stimulant drugs, most commonly khat, a leaf people chew for hours to get a high. There are few recreational activities and jobs for youth in the Kolfe area, but Team Destia came up with an idea for the garden program to earn money, improve overall health, and contribute to the local economy. Not only will gardening help provide an activity for the youth, but Team Destia has plans for World Vision and local social work agencies to promote Biblical learning and healthy living. One can’t help but notice that this plan illustrates a similar mission to what we have here at Faith Lutheran: Everyone Prepared! Everyone Saved!
While Basketball4TheBetter did not win, they had a great idea; they were going to implement a youth basketball league that would provide mentorship for youth, open gyms for adults, and jobs for youth and adults alike. The strength of their plan was pulling the community together to support youth in an activity that kept them away from drug use.
What was most exciting to see was the growth that the students had during this 7 month process. As evidenced by the 60+ page paper that Team Destia wrote and the extensive financial documents that Team Basektball4TheBetter submitted, students were challenged to think outside the box, complete a project, think through its entirety, and ask for help from experts in different fields! As teachers, we always hope to connect our assignments and projects to everyday, real life experiences, but this project was so different from anything else we have seen. For students to see that change is possible and an actual reality is priceless. The Kenya Project Club will debut the 2021 challenge next semester. Be on the lookout, students! You could be the next one flying across the world to create “inspiring” change.
If you didn’t get a chance to watch the competition live, you can watch it on World Vision’s YouTube Channel here: https://youtu.be/q3Rk6zR2KHc
To learn more about The Kenya Project Club, visit the Student Opportunities page on the Faith Lutheran website.