When some people think of dodgeball, the image of Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn ducking and diving to win a dodgeball game, and save their local gym from going out of business, in the movie Dodgeball comes to mind. Dodging, ducking, dipping, diving, and dodging, they fought nobly for their cause, determined to find a way to realize their dream. Last December, the EVLC club at Loomis sponsored a dodgeball tournament for a cause that resonated deeply with the hearts of all competitors… the children.
Everyday, millions of children across the world don’t have access to education. In countries like South Sudan, Afghanistan, and India, a typical day in the life of a child tends not to include such luxuries as a formal education. For example, a young boy will often just wander the dusty roads of his village, kicking rocks aimlessly as he passes farms where emaciated men and women, his parents, neighbors, friends, labor from dawn to dusk. As he approaches the center of the village, he may see buses traveling into the city, away from his village and toward opportunity. He looks wistfully as they pass him by, knowing his fate is to never leave his village, to never be able to have an education, to never have a shot at a better life. This isn’t just the problem of a few. Over 75 million children worldwide are confined to this fate every day. From our comfortable homes in America, it can seem like an issue from another world, a problem we can’t resolve, but we need to try. If we were in their shoes, would we want them to just watch us suffer and ignore our plight?
For so many children in the developing world, attending school is not an option because their families depend on their ability to work. That was their reality, and, for a long time, there was not much that could change this life-sentence… that is, until Ekal Vidyalaya devised a way to transform the lives of these children, starting with those in India. The organization’s charity model? One dollar can educate an entire village of children for a full day. Under this mantra, they have educated over 10 million kids in India since their foundation. If you think about it, 35 kids can have access to education for a day for the same price as you would pay for a bottle of water or a pack of gum. So, a few years ago, I, along with Marcus Witherspoon and a few others, brought Ekal Vidyalaya to Loomis in the form of the EVLC club. Together, we have raised over $1000 in three years, through events like dodgeball tournaments and basketball tournaments, and in doing so, have been able to support tuition for whole villages in India.
Even a simple event like a dodgeball tournament can raise enough money to fund over a year of school for hundreds of kids. The scale of impact we can make as a school is practically limitless, and we hope that next term, next year, and the rest of our lives, the Loomis community can continue making small acts of kindness that each student to help transform the lives of many.