Sandy Hook youth group’s school project inspiring story

Dreaming big when setting goals is perfectly fine. As lofty and unattainable as they might seem, they can be reached. Efforts by a local church youth group are a good example.

The 15-member youth group at Sandy Hook United Methodist Church, inspired by a missionary’s book to put their faith into action, wants to build an elementary school in Gulu, Uganda. Poverty is widespread in the African country, and in Gulu many children have been orphaned after their parents died of AIDS, with some of them homeless.

Building the school is estimated to cost about $300,000. That’s a lofty fundraising goal for any organization, let alone a small group of teenagers.

What’s remarkable, however, is that the youth group has already raised more than $135,000 in about four months. And that was before their fundraising efforts went communitywide in mid-November.

Youth group members have earnestly saved money they’ve earned from their jobs — in the process deciding that putting their earnings toward the project was more important than spending it.

Meeting their goal has become so important that some of the youths have stepped out of their comfort zones and made presentations about their drive in front of other church groups.

The power of a good idea — even if lofty — is that people will buy into it and contribute toward making it reality.

Only after the teens raised about $25,000 did they approach the Sandy Hook church council with their proposal. The council agreed to help and match every $1 from the students with $4 from the church.

The fund drive will probably continue through next summer. But based on what the teens have accomplished so far, it seems likely that they will meet their goal. If so, children in Uganda will gain a school that will make an important difference in their lives. It will be because some teens in Columbus dared to dream big.

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To learn more about the Uganda elementary school project or how to donate, call 812-372-8495 or send an email to