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Pay It Forward: Westchester Students Raise Thousands For African Children

Bronxville High School seniors Nicholas O’Brien and Mac Crawford with two teachers from MainSprings during their May 7 lacrosse game.
Bronxville High School seniors Nicholas O’Brien and Mac Crawford with two teachers from MainSprings during their May 7 lacrosse game. Photo Credit: Contributed

A group of Bronxville High School students are paying it forward after spending two weeks in Tanzania, Africa last summer.

Last summer, seniors Mimi Buendia, Nan Carpenter, Mac Crawford and Nicholas O’Brien spent weeks at the MainSprings children’s orphanage - once known as the Janada L. Batchelor Foundation for Children (JBFC) - and since returning home, decided to keep helping the children in Africa.

Over the past few weeks, the students raised more than $10,000 for the organization, and have also started a GoFundMe page that has already garnered more than $1,000 for the children.

“Making those children happy was a special experience and something that we don’t always have the privilege of doing,” O’Brien said. “Our time in Africa consisted of various types of service, education and bonding with the girls [in the orphanage.] We taught a math class at the primary school, learned a little Swahili and we also built a fence around a local church’s farm. When we weren’t farming or teaching, we were primarily spending time with the girls on the soccer field, basketball court or in the common area playing Jenga.”

Founded in 2006, MainSprings “provides housing, quality education and access to healthcare for girls, employs dozens of farmers and provides children and their families with the necessary tools to help them break the cycle of poverty.”

“My favorite part of each day at JBFC is when we would gather in the girls’ dining hall,” Crawford said. “During this time several girls would pray and sing songs. These songs were the most beautiful music I have ever heard. When I got back stateside I was inspired to help the girls of JBFC share their amazing voices, so I created a GoFundMe with YouTube videos of them singing linked to it. My goal was to help fundraise for JBFC while empowering the girls by letting their voices be heard throughout the world.

“Housing and education are two essentials in life and with our fundraising, we are able to provide more and better housing and education to the people of Tanzania.”

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