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CB School Helps Build School in Haiti

Gayman Elementary and Penn State raised enough money to help a Doylestown nonprofit build a school in Haiti.

Most suburban schools try to raise money to buy more books for their libraries or more iPads for the technology lab.

While worthy goals in the era of tight budgets, one Central Bucks elementary school had a far more ambitious goal.

Students at Gayman Elementary School recently helped raise enough money to build a school for kids who barely have enough books, let alone iPads.

Gayman worked with Doylestown-based nonprofit Poverty Resolutions to build a school in Haiti. Penn State, where the nonprofit's founders Andrew and Matt Jones went to school, also contributed to the fundraising effort.

The effort began at Gayman in September 2011, after the nonprofit put on a presentation at the school, opening the children's eyes to how much of the world lives in extreme poverty.

"The kids were inspired. They were amazing," Andrew Jones told Patch on Friday.

Annie Verbeck, then a sixth grader, designed and printed t-shirts to sell, held a fundraiser at Chubby’s Dairy Barn in Plumsteadville and set up a lemonade stand. She raised more than $285 on her own.

Staff members got in on the effort, too. They held a bake sale and a competition in which the winning teacher had to kiss a donkey. They raised $450.

Brian Finger, then principal at Gayman and now at Cold Spring Elementary in Buckingham, set an initial fundraising goal of $2,200.

"It is important for these kids to look beyond their own world," Finger said, explaining his support for the effort. "They need to know that not everyone lives the way we do here in Bucks County, or the United States for that matter."

In the end, Gayman raised $5,200.

"They raised more than half of what we needed to build that school" in Haiti, Jones said Friday.

The Haitian school cost about $8,500 to build. Penn State fundraisers covered the rest of the project's cost, Jones said.

Each of Gayman's 22 classes that year also agreed to raise enough money to cover school fees for 22 Haitian children, Jones said.

Now finished, the simple school building provides a place of learning for more than 200 children in Haiti.

But Poverty Resolutions is not done. Far from it.

The Jones brothers grew up in Doylestown. Andrew went to Kutz Elementary, Lenape Middle School, and graduated from Central Bucks High School West in 2004.

Matt Jones also went to Kutz and Lenape, but redistricting sent him to Central Bucks High School East.

Andrew, a trained nurse, traveled to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 devastated the country. There, he saw firsthand the extreme poverty in which much of the world lives.

They came back to Doylestown and dedicated themselves to telling others in the United States about the needs of people in poverty around the world.

Andrew now runs the nonprofit, which is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, from its office in Doylestown.

Matt, meanwhile, has moved to Haiti with his wife and two children, ages 2 and 4.

The group continues to work with area schools, educating children about poverty, and raising money to continue its projects in Haiti.

To volunteer, or for more information on the group's work, visit the Poverty Resolutions website.

cathryn veneziale February 16, 2013 at 02:54 AM
So proud of the Gayman students and teachers on the efforts to raise money for.such a worthy cause. It speaks volumes regarding.their kindness and character. Congrats!

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