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Students give change to make change

The Shaker High School World of Difference Club raised money for organizations in Uganda and Haiti through the “Give Change, Make Change” campaign. Left to right are WOD club members Kaitlyn Cheney, Brian Hickey and Emily Nicol.

The Shaker High School World of Difference Club raised money for organizations in Uganda and Haiti through the “Give Change, Make Change” campaign. Left to right are WOD club members Kaitlyn Cheney, Brian Hickey and Emily Nicol. Submitted Photo

— “A few years ago, there was a girl who came to the U.S. to receive serious burn treatment and I had the opportunity to meet her. … A lot of the families around here realized once she went back it would be hard for her to have opportunities in her life without an education,” said Hickey. “Families came together and started to sponsor her. … I helped sponsor a kid on my own.”

He visited Uganda last summer, which deepened his desire to help and spread awareness.

“There’s just such a contrast if you look at our lifestyle here versus the kids there. … Those kids are so motivated to learn and go to school and receive an education and that’s something we sometimes take for granted here,” said Hickey.

The WOD club took things one step further and became pen pals with Ugandan students, which lets them see the impact “Give Change, Make Change” can make.

“We’ve been writing letters back and forth with the students to expose them to some things in the U.S. and get more insight into their lifestyle,” said Hickey. “Those children get really excited. … We send them pictures and updates and that direct impact and personal connection is great.”

Emily Nicol, also a senior, had an experience similar to Hickey, though it hasn’t yet taken her across the world. She became involved with St. Francis Xavier Orphanage Foundation in Haiti after orphanage founder Esperandieu Cenat attended Siena College and later approached Nicol’s church for help.

“I go to St. Pius to attend church and he really reached out to that community originally,” said Nicol.

She asked Weaver if she could extend the campaign through WOD.

“I think people were really generous and people are really eager to do what they could and realize helping with this was something that was an immediate effect they could have,” said Nicol. “I’m happy kids stepped up and gave their spare change.”

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