Sharing More Than a Namesake

Friday, February 29, 2008 | posted by Global Playground News |

Students at Christ the King School (CKS) in Haddonfield, New Jersey now share more than their school's namesake with the students at Christ the King School in Kampala, Uganda. Thanks to a donation effort spearheaded by Global Playground volunteers, more than three hundred students at CKS in Kampala are now scurrying to class in style--proudly wearing uniforms previously worn by their counterparts a half a world away.

The idea for the donation effort arose when Global Playground volunteer Joyce Howell learned that her grade-school alma mater had decided to change the school's uniform design for the first time in thirty years. The design change required all the students at CKS in Haddonfield to purchase new uniforms, leaving the question of what to do with all the previously-worn uniforms. In the past, previously-worn uniforms were given to a uniform exchange or distributed to needy schools in the area. Because of Ms. Howell's volunteer efforts with Global Playground, however, she knew of a needy school which also happened to be the perfect recipient for the uniforms: Christ the King School in Kampala, Uganda!

Ms. Howell's cousin Carol Saldutti, who has three children attending CKS in Haddonfield, organized the collection drive for the uniforms. In a newsletter to students and parents, CKS in Haddonfield asked families to donate their children's previously-worn uniforms to the students in Kampala. The response to help the Ugandan students was overwhelming. So many uniforms were donated that student council members spent hours sorting through them. The council members "went to a lot of effort to make sure the uniforms were in good condition" and chose uniform pieces that could be worn comfortably in Uganda's equatorial climate, Saldutti said. To transport the hundreds of uniforms to Uganda, Ms. Howell and her extended family vacuum packed the uniforms into suitcases durable enough to travel the more than seven thousand miles between Haddonfield and Kampala.

As part of Global Playground's efforts to share the resources of the developed world with the developing world, Global Playground board and advisory committee members delivered the uniforms in person. Msgr. Paul Ssemogerere, Father Joseph Kerunga, and three teachers received the uniforms to much surprise and delight on New Year's Eve. Msgr. Ssemogerere opened suitcase after suitcase to reveal jumpers, skirts, blouses, polo shirts, and shorts, all embroidered with the "CKS" monogram or the Christ the King emblem. Msgr. Ssemogerere remarked about the great quality of the uniforms and the fate that brought the two Christ the King Schools together. He liked the CKS emblem on the uniforms so much that he wanted his school to adopt it as their own. Father Joseph then animatedly expressed gratitude on behalf of the students and the school: "I would like to thank Christ the King in New Jersey on behalf of Christ the King children's group, Sunday school, and nursery for these donations. We thank all those who donated them. May God bless them always."

-Diana Chemotti and Doug Smith

If you have an idea on how to share the resources of the developed world with the developing world, please contact Global Playground at 1-800-998-9348 or at info@theglobalplayground.org.

Song and Dance: Conveying Hope and Building Schools

Friday, February 29, 2008 | posted by Global Playground News |

Throughout the developing world, people turn to song and dance to elevate their spirits and convey their hope for the future. Global Playground representatives witnessed this firsthand during their recent visit to Uganda when the children of the Buwasa village engaged in hours of spirited singing and dancing. While the children of the Buwasa village had used song and dance to express the hope that Global Playground's new school had brought to their futures, Global Playground in partnership with FarraNYC had used song and dance a few months earlier to help make that school a reality.

On Friday, November 16, Global Playground teamed up with FarraNYC at Branch, a night club in New York City, for a night of song and dance to support Global Playground's efforts around the globe. FarraNYC, an organization led by a group of young professionals, regularly throws themed parties at various locations throughout New York City. "Teaming up with FarraNYC made perfect sense," said board member Russ Altenburg. "Their parties have been a huge success and what better way to fundraise for Global Playground than through song and dance. After all, song and dance can overcome linguistic barriers to facilitate understanding and exchange between cultures, which is one of Global Playground's goals as it expands its operations around the world."

FarraNYC marketed the Branch event by inviting its extensive following to "come out and play for a good cause." And come they did. Hundreds of New York City partygoers came out for a night out on the town and were greeted at the door by Global Playground volunteers. "As we discussed the building of our schools in Uganda and Cambodia, people were excited about where Global Playground would build a school next and related their firsthand accounts about the lack of educational resources in other countries," said Global Playground volunteer Camilla Twisselman. As the night progressed and with the lights down low and the club bumping with salsa beats, small and large donations were made with the hope for a brighter future.

-Emily Lapolice

If you or an organization you are involved with is willing to promote Global Playground while having fun doing so, please call us at 1-800-998-9348 or write us at info@theglobalplayground.org.