After visiting Honduras in 2014, a Rich Central High School instructional assistant was so moved by a family in need; she decided to raise money to build them a new house.
While on a mission trip with the Jejusaut International Ministries four years ago, Michelle Lonie, met a Honduran family who was in need of a floor in their home. After the trip, Lonie says that she asked how the family was doing and was told that the family was still struggling.
Then, she decided she wanted to build a home for them. However, to build a house with electricity and an adequate plumbing system costs approximately $10,000.
“I said that I was going [raise the money], but I did not know how I was going to do it. I spoke with Mr. Whittaker and said this would be great community service project for our kids,” said Lonie.
With only $150 to donate her own money, Lonie and students at Rich Central began fundraising immediately after winter break by selling snacks.
“They were relentless that we were going to raise this money. One student said to me, ‘after I found out about this, I made sure I had a dollar a day,’” said Lonie.
She also received $3,000 from private donors. However, by the time the fundraiser ended, Lonie and the Rich Central’s students raised $7,075.
Now that the home is complete, Lonie and Marguerite Martin, an administrator at Rich South High School, is leaving Illinois for the week to visit the family and see the new home.
Lonie says that she dedicated the home to Rich Central, and named it the Olympian Nation House. She is truly thankful for the students who helped raise the money and believes exposing students to service projects like this will lead them to greater paths.
"If we lead our children in a different path, and our hearts are right, they will follow us," said Lonie.