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Back to school

The Sa Pa school as it looks now.

The Rocky Mountain District of Key Club is at it again. After holding countless bake sales, dog washes, lollipop sales and spaghetti dinners to raise more than $40,000 to build a school in Vietnam a few years ago, the Key Clubbers discovered a new way to help Vietnamese kids. Once again partnering with Children of Peace International (COPI), the district set a goal to raise $72,000 to renovate another school, this time in Sa Pa, Vietnam. Sa Pa is in a rural, mountainous part of the country, so transportation and construction costs are high.

COPI is dedicated to building schools, orphanages and hospitals in poverty-stricken areas of Vietnam

, says Andrea Novotny, Rocky Mountain District governor. Her Key Club has been helping build a school in Doan Hung and plans to renovate an existing school in Sa Pa. “The fact that our involvement deals specifically with building schools sets COPI apart,” she says. “We’re focusing our efforts on helping people our age, or close to our age.”

It also means a lot because the kids have no other access to education. “Through working with this organization, we have gained an understanding that the only way to ever truly help anyone is by helping them to become self sufficient.”

Currently, the district is busy raising funds to ensure the project, which is set to begin construction later this year, stays
on track.

“Most of the fundraising takes place in the clubs or divisions,” Novotny says. Fundraisers include car washes, school dances or, “due to the fact that we live in the Midwest, cow bingo.” The club also does some fundraising at its district convention in a competition known as Copper for COPI. “It’s basically a penny war between teams,” Novotny says. Each club also turns in funds raised at convention. “This year, we set a goal of $25,000. If we met this goal, Dave Harris, our district administrator, pledged to shave off all the hair from his beard and head. We exceeded the goal, and Mr. Harris did, indeed, shave his head and beard! This wasn’t exactly a fundraiser, granted, but it was certainly a great tool for promoting our goal.”

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