Lincoln-Way Students Help Miracles Come True for Children in Uganda
Monday, April 20, 2015

Seven years ago, Lincoln-Way high school students began collecting change to help fund the construction of Miracle Destiny School in Uganda for students in preschool through seventh grade. Their generosity never lost its momentum. In 2015, Lincoln-Way students finished what they started, raising enough to help Miracle Destiny High School open its doors March 1, providing hope and a future for Ugandan students.

I have spent 30 years in education and have never been a part of something so powerful and life-changing, said Tim Reilly, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum.

Reilly said the student-led initiative to launch Change for a Change Jars began in 2007 during a freshman reading class discussion about the book Of Beetles and Angles: A Boys Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard by Mawi Asgedom.

Students began looking for opportunities to help the poor when one student met Robert Nabulere and heard of his plans to build Miracle Destiny School in Uganda.

Our kids blew us away with their generosity, raising a significant portion of the need for the school, from its inception to the opening of the high school, and making so many miracles come true for Ugandan children, Reilly said.

"We are really proud of our students for their efforts giving back, said Heather Novak, Activities and Assets Coordinator at Lincoln-Way West. The Change for a Change initiative was part of our February Asset this year and it means a lot to know how much our donations are benefitting others."

The participation from students spread far and wide across Lincoln-Ways four high schools as well as a generous contribution from students at the McKay Center.

The Mackay Education Center students and staff were so touched by Lincoln-Way's participation in the "Change for a Change" project, and eager to help out, said Amy Panfil, social worker at the Mackay Center. Within two weeks, staff and students came together to raise nearly $400. We are all honored to have been a part of such a meaningful and amazing project and look forward to seeing the impact that all the donations have on the students, families, staff, and everyone involved with the Miracle Destiny Schools in Uganda.

Students in freshman reading as well as social science classes helped with the fundraising. Several partners in Lincoln-Ways Asset Program also contributed matching funds.

"I have always been amazed at how energized Lincoln-Way students are at reaching out to those that are in need, which is a testament to the homes they are raised in and family values they are taught, said Ryan Pohlman, social science teacher at Lincoln-Way East. Social Science students at East raised more than $3,600 for the Uganda school and its an activity that students carry with them for many years.

When Miracle Destiny School first opened, it served 16 students, but today nearly 300 students attend. Lincoln-Way students have helped fund a brick-maker which allowed Uganda families to build the schools themselves and a van to transport hard-to-reach students.

Those children would have remained uneducated street orphans without Miracle Destiny School and our kids vision and our teachers commitment have changed the world for them and their community, Reilly said.

According to Miracle Destiny Schools leader Robert Nabulere, the majority of students in Ugandan schools do not pass the national exams, eliminating the possibility of high school. At Miracle Destiny School, 100 percent of the students passed the exam and will attend the high school, made possible in part by Lincoln-Way students and teachers.

We are so grateful for your partnership which helped our students achieve a major educational milestone and will continue to make miracles come true for years to come, Nabulere said.