Home » » AHS Students Reach Out to Africa

AHS Students Reach Out to Africa

Arrowhead high school
Two Amazing students reach out to help
Young people in Africa

AHS Junior
Elle Lichte
Two Arrowhead students, Jessica Yost and Elle Lichte, started a charity called the 15:30 Project.  They began this charity after going to Africa and working with kids who desperately needed help getting an education.  Last year, Mrs. Whitehaus, AHS English teacher, convinced all her students in the class to support a charitable effort to help these young people in Africa, raising approximately $200.  

Well, this year, the two Arrowhead juniors contacted Mrs. Whitehaus and wanted to know if she would be interested in getting the word around about another fund raiser to make and sell chocolate pizzas.  Mrs. Whitehaus asked all of her classes and they responded, “Challenge accepted!”   Mrs. Whitehaus’ classes, as well as a few teachers, raised just over $1000!!!!  Mrs. Whitehaus response to this outpouring of support was, “That's a heck of a lot of chocolate!” 

Jessica shared that it costs about $2,000 to send a student there to high school for 4 years, so essentially Mrs. Whitehaus’ classes raised enough money to pay for 
half of an African student's high school education! Mrs. Whitehaus' responded, “That is so cool!”  

AHS Junior
Jessica Yost
“Over the past four years 15:30 has been fundraising, the success has been wonderful which is why we realize that we must take it to the next step and become a legal and tax exempted Non-Profit Organization.  Over this spring, I will be working on finding suitable board members as well as collaborating with volunteer seamstress to help me make the "For the Love of Ruth" line of pants as well as headbands and purses which we will hopefully launch our store online and perhaps sell in local small businesses.  As you can see, the 15:30 Project has been extremely successful and we could never have had this success without participants like you who truly believe in our efforts. The children of Open Arms are truly a part of my family and I am extremely grateful to have such a support system come from school and I hope more children can become impacted with the help from people like you.

Words cannot describe how blessed I feel to have a school-community member endorse 15:30 Project and I hope that we can continue to work together with the chocolate pizzas next year!” (email from Jessica Yost)

The following is a copy of the letter Jessica sent to Mrs. Whitehaus’ English classes as well as a picture of the entire Open Arms- Home for Children Family and a picture of the three children who had their first day of high school a few weeks ago.  Currently all funding of the 15:30 Project goes directly to the Open Arms children, which includes but not limited to medicine, school supplies, clothing, entertainment mediums, and our main focus of sending these children to high school. 
First Day of High School

December 19, 2012

Dear Mrs. Whitehaus and Students,

            Oh my goodness! Words cannot describe how truly thankful I am for your generosity of contributing to the 15:30 Project.  All proceeds from the chocolate pizzas will go directly towards a high school education fund I have created for the children of Open Arms- Home for Children in South Africa.  To give you a better visual of where your money is going, there is no better fitting story than the story of Ayabonga (I-O-BONE-GAH). 
Ayo is a boy a year younger than you who has had a troubled beginning to say the least.  He grew up in the slums of a town called Komga with this alcoholic-drug addict mother.  Due to his mother’s drug abuse, Ayabonga was abandoned and forced at the age of 8 to take care of not only himself, but also his younger brother and sister in a small hut.  Luckily, Open Arms found Ayabonga and his siblings and they all now live happily at Open Arms- Home for Children. 
With Ayabonga having to take on an extremely difficult job at such a young age, he never received a proper education and is 3 years behind in his schooling.  The high school fund that we, the 15:30 Project, created is specifically designed to help children like Ayo who would not normally have the opportunity to go to high school to receive a proper education.  Without an education, children in South Africa and all across the world will never be able to break the cycle of poverty.  If it weren’t for people like you, Ayabonga and other children would still be on the streets fighting to survive whether it is in gangs or drug dealing scandals.
The 15:30 Project has been very blessed to have raised approximately $14,000 which is enough to send 7 children to secondary schooling for all four years.  As Ayabonga continues to learn and his schooling improves, he will soon be the next Open Arms child to go to high school which we will proudly be contributing towards. I have had the privilege to not only getting to know Ayo, but also “growing up” with him and I can assure you he is the nicest, most responsible, and most thankful person I have ever met and I am proud to not only call him my best friend, but also my brother. On behalf of Ayabonga, I thank you all for your contributions.  
Once again, thank you all so much for your purchases of the chocolate pizzas. I can assure you they will not disappoint! It truly is the best feeling in the world to know that kids like you are willing to help other children in need.  We may not be able to save the world, but we can make a difference one child at a time. 
Jessica & Ayo

Merry Christmas!

Jessica Yost
15:30 Project Founder

Open Arms Family