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Vacation for Education

In just a few days, I will be sitting in a pool, overlooking the ocean and enjoying my first real vacation in over three years.

My bag has been packed for a week now—after three years of law school and two bar exams, I can hardly wait!  The only thing that could make this vacation any better is if the cost of my rental was going to help someone or to make a difference—perhaps go towards helping an entire refugee camp.  Next year, my vacation may go towards just that!  And yours can too.

I have had an idea to do a fundraiser for a while now – Vacation for Education.  It sounds fun, right?  People go on vacation and the money they spend goes to educate children who would not otherwise have the opportunity.  It’s a win-win. I wanted to make sure the proceeds were going to a truly amazing program that did more than just “educate,” however.  In addition to a traditional education, I wanted the program to focus on compassion, healing, and peace building.  I wanted it to have the potential to change an entire community.

I am a Carl Wilkens Fellow, class of 2009.  Our fellowship recently joined forces with i-Act.  During our first introductory conversation with Katie-Jay, she told us about their program, Little Ripples.  She described the problems that Sudanese refugees face in the camps simply because the younger children are not in school (there are other issues that plague the camps and refugees, but this is one that we can do something about right now).  Seven thousand three hundred children age 3-5 are without proper care in the refugee camps, Goz Amer and Djabal.  Parents have to forgo collecting firewood and food, or working to keep their families alive.  Alternatively, older siblings have to forgo their own education because they have to stay home and tend to the little ones.  The effects are much larger than just lack of education.

I thought the idea of Little Ripples was a brilliant one:  Provide a school for the youngest ones.  Feed them. Teach them. Love them. By providing this service to the youngest children, then their siblings can go to school as well, and/or their parents can now go out into the camps and work, and better provide for their families.  The “ripple” effect is enormous.  By implementing this comprehensive early childhood education program tailored to a population exposed to severe trauma, “Little Ripples will be a foundation upon which a wave of change can grow.”  What a beautiful idea.  And it’s not just and idea.  They are implementing this idea and school starts this fall for 300 children.

I immediately knew that this was the program I wanted to support with the fundraiser, Vacation for Education. Starting today, we are asking people to donate time at their vacation home.  A week, 5-day stay, long-weekend, etc.  Security deposits and cleaning charges can be included for your protection. Then we will have an online auction December 3-17, 2013 where the vacation time will be sold to the highest bidder.  All of the proceeds will go directly to Little Ripples to help build schools, pay teachers, and educate the sweet children.

We already have donations in Key West, FL and Brooklyn, NY.  We cannot wait to see what’s to come between now and the end of October!

If you’re interested in donating time at your house, click on this link and fill out the form.

I hope you will join me and help make this fundraiser successful.  All of the money raised will go to Little Ripples, and honestly, a little bit of money goes a long way.  $31.50 feeds a student for a month, $48 a month pays a teacher’s salary, and $16,000 pays for a classroom to be built.  We have the potential to make a really big difference in the lives of the children and their families!


All my best,


Lindsey Wilkes, 2009 Carl Wilkens Fellow

Lindsey Wilkes, 2009 Carl Wilkens Fellow

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Jennifer became passionate about international development and humanitarian work when studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, and leading youth performing arts workshops in one of the surrounding townships. After graduating from UCLA with a Masters in Public Health in Community Health Sciences, she taught adolescent reproductive health to high school students in South and East Los Angeles. She has also worked as a Research Associate at the UCLA Center for Health Services and Society, where she was able to foster an understanding of the community engagement and community resilience approaches, and hopes to incorporate these strategies in her work with Little Ripples. jennifer@iactivism.org


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