In 2006, Tom Affleck was working for multi-million dollar companies in Central America. While visiting a coffee farmer in a very poor village in Northern Nicaragua, he had a life changing experience. Tom was overwhelmed by the response he received after giving a little a girl a notebook and pencil. The little girl beamed, her father’s face lit up and said “Now that you have a notebook and a pencil, you can go to school this year.” The realization that by providing that child with just a notebook and pencil was giving her a chance in life deeply impacted Tom. He decided to make a dramatic life change.
Tom is the founder of SchoolBOX, a Canadian not-for-profit organization that empowers children and their communities by building schools and providing children with school supplies.
It’s astonishing to think that a notebook and pencil can stand in the way of a child getting an education.
Today, SchoolBOX has given tens of thousands of children a chance at an education. In 2010 alone, SchoolBOX provided children and teachers across North America, Europe, and Central America with 10,084 education packages. To date, SchoolBOX has built 21 classrooms, a library, washroom facilities and much more.
It is important to the organization they don’t just build a school and then walk away. The school must be functioning for 2 years, the community must provide the land and workforce, and there must be an agreement in place with the country’s ministry of education to make sure the school will be staffed. All of these requirements help to ensure the school will grow and prosper once built.
“A school adds a point of pride, a sense of permanence and legitimacy to a community” Tom says. The entire community becomes excited and empowered. With over 45% of the population in Nicaragua living on less than $1 a day, buying a notebook is out of the question for many families.
An amazing 82% of funds raised go directly into the program. SchoolBOX is able to do this by keeping their costs down in part from the donations of others. A small entrepreneur in Nicaragua gave the only room in his house with a proper floor to be SchoolBOX’s office. Sleep Country Canada takes care of SchoolBOX’s Canadian office space, phone and telephone costs. It is great to know that when you support SchoolBOX your donations are actually going back to the children.
Want to get involved? Here’s how:
Until next time,
Peace, love and vitamin C!
Jennifer Pretty began her career as the director of artist development for a well-known Canadian music label. Branching out on her own, she then started her own PR business “Pretty Media Management” planning and hosting various charity, entertainment and fashion events. As a dance and fitness class enthusiast Jennifer is a firm believer in the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. She also loves to cook, travel, spend time with family and friends and most importantly living life to the fullest!