Freehold Student Rallies Classmates to Build a Park for Children in Africa

The students at the Catena School are fundraising to build a park in Uganda through the organization, Sylvia's Children.

Emily Hamilton is a second-grader at the who is on a mission to make a difference in other children’s lives.

Hamilton found inspiration after a presentation by Sylvia Allen, 75, of Holmdel, the founder of Sylvia’s Children.

Sylvia’s Children serves the children of Mbiriizi, Uganda in Africa. One-third of the children there are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS. She has raised $550K, all of which has gone directly to the school. She has built a fresh well, a library, a boy's dormitory, more classroom blocks, etc.

After hearing about these children in need, Hamilton decided to rally her classmates to raise money for a park to serve the children in the village that Sylvia's Children has been helping since 2003.

"We have a lot and they don't have anything,” Hamilton said. “They should get exercise and have some fun too." 

Hamilton, with the help of her sister Allison Hamilton, Samantha Swenson, Anthony Guglieri, Lindsey Fischer, Brendan Renard and many other students, organized and participated in a variety of fundraisers.

Their goal is to raise $2,000 to go towards park equipment including several teeter tots for toddlers and ball equipment for older children.

The students collected money at a variety of local businesses including Perkins, Colts Neck Bagels, Orlando’s Restaurant in Colts Neck, Sweet Lew’s in Freehold and Tuscany in Marlboro.

The school has also supported the students’ mission. Catena held an initiative across the entire 2nd grade called Chore for Choice where students completed chores and received money for their work which was then donated to the park fundraiser. They also hosted clothing drives for the cause.

If you would like to donate to the Catena 2nd grade park fundraiser, click here.


michelle June 05, 2012 at 02:59 PM
These kids have reached their goal of $2,000. Now the hardest part is working out the shipping. We are trying to reach out to DHL and similar services in hopes they will offer a considerable discount considering the circumstances.


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