They may be young, but a group of local high school students is making a huge impact on the lives of kids around the world. "Kids Helping Kids," is a non-profit organization run completely by the students in the A.P. economics class at San Marcos High School.
Each year, they raise money and donate it to causes within the community that support children. A few years ago, they decided to take it global. They began donating some of those funds to the Ubumwe Community Center in Rwanda--home to dozens of children left orphaned and homeless following a mass genocide.
Thanks to "Kids Helping Kids," those young survivors now have a place to learn. "We helped open a preschool in Rwanda," says Jennifer Reyes, "it has been a great opportunity just seeing all their lives changing, it's beautiful really." "It's really great to see the kids actually sitting in their desks with pens and paper," adds Evyn VanHomer.
Here's how it all started-- A San Marcos student, and former member of "Kids Helping Kids," was working on a documentary in Rwanda. He came across the orphanage, run by a Genocide survivor named Zachary. The student put Zachary in touch with the director of Kids helping Kids, Jamie Devries. "Zachary came to my class and told his story. My students were taken aback, and decided we can do something to help him."
So far, they've raised $15,000 or the orphanage and school. Zachary recently visited students at San Marcos. "He showed us pictures of what we helped build with our money, and its amazing to see that," says Reyes. Students say, the experience has opened their eyes, and inspired them. "When we give locally, its really great to see people in person, but when you're giving globally its completely different. People across the world, you're never going to meet, but you know you're changing their lives, it's amazing," says VanHomer. Reyes adds, "I might just be a high school kid, but I know I can make a difference. A teacher told me we should invest in people not things, and that has really stayed with me."
The majority of money raised by "Kids Helping Kids" does stay local. The non-profit will be holding one of its largest annual fund raisers this Saturday. It includes dinner, a silent auction, a live auction, and concert.