100 Friends Elk Grove Citizen January 2012

“Building a Dream” Elk Grove Citizen

100 Friends Elk Grove Citizen January 2012

Building a dream

By Raina LeGarreta – Lifestyle & Arts Editor
Published: Thursday, January 26, 2012 1:00 PM PST

While most students in Elk Grove enjoy the benefits of going to school, learning, and planning for their future, hundreds of Burmese, Karen, and Mon children dream of the day when they will be able to at least pick up a book to study.

The Laguna Creek High School Key Club and the school’s National Honor Society (NHS) are helping child refugees near the Thai-Burmese border accomplish their dream of acquiring an education, by raising funds to build them a library there as part of the “100 Friends Project.”

Founded by Bay Area community college professor Marc Gold, the project assists less fortunate citizens from all over the world by helping them better their lives in the areas of health, education, and well being.

Laguna Creek High School English teacher and Key Club advisor, Gary Greenbaum contacted Gold upon hearing about the project. The professor and world traveler then did a presentation at the school to further explain his mission.

“We saw that he was helping so many people and asked him what we could do to help,” Greenbaum said. “He sent us a list of possible tasks we could do and we collectively chose the library project.”

The students are currently selling black and red bracelets that read “100 Friends For Thailand LCHS Project,” for $2 on-campus and for $3 off-campus to raise funds for the cause.

The 100 Friends Project began in 1989 when Gold traveled to India and met a Tibetan woman who suffered from a severe ear infection. Upon taking her to the doctor, he discovered that a $30 hearing aid and a $1 antibiotic restored her hearing – and saved her life.

Amazed that such a small amount of money could save someone’s life, the experience prompted Gold to start helping others in a similar manner. He shared his experience with one hundred of his friends, and soon began to receive assistance from them in gathering donations to help the needy around the world.

Since then, Gold has been able to help thousands of individuals, families, and small organizations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East – raising $115,000 for the effort last year.

Greenbaum was told that that it will take $1,500 to fully stock the library that the students are raising funds to build; the building itself is already set in a forest in Sangkhla Buri, a district on the Thai-Burmese border.

“We are aiming to have the money raised within two months,” he said.

Key Club President Jaime Santos spoke about what this project means to her.

“Many kids here in America take what they have for granted,” she said. “In parts of Thailand the children have no books or even pencils to write with…I felt that contributing to them would be one of the best things we could do.”

Santos mentioned that she and other students are noticing people donating money in addition to the bracelets they purchase to support the project.

Greenbaum said that two of the students, who are also part of the school’s International Baccalaureate World School, will spearhead their mission of completing different projects around the world by traveling to the library’s site to help with the project firsthand and see how it progresses.

One such student is Lloyd Chen, a junior at the school who is looking forward to the opportunity.

“You rarely get to see what happens with your money when you carry out these types of projects,” he said. “It will be great to see what goes on firsthand.”

Chen, and the other traveling student will be joined by a photographer who will chronicle their journey.

“I’m happy to be able to make a difference in these people’s lives…helping others makes you grow as a person,” he said.

For more information on 100 Friends and Laguna Creek High’s role in the project, visit www.100Friends.org.

Original link: http://www.egcitizen.com/articles/2012/01/26/lifestyle/doc4f21baee185e8636434109.txt
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