RSF residents Cosy and Will Burnett, along with their La Costa Canyon schoolmate Kara Sheffield, are determined to make a difference for kids in the villages outside Accra, Ghana, Africa.
They decided to raise money locally in the community and see how much of an impact they can have. “Our school has the best comedy sports team ever. It’s always a sell-out event,” explains Cosy. Comedy sports is an improv comedy theater in which two different schools compete.
“I talked to the comedy sports president and they were more than happy to do this for us,” Cosy said. “On Feb. 1, we will hold a comedy sports event with La Costa Canyon vs. Canyon Crest Academy at 7 p.m. (doors open) at the Rancho Santa Fe Community Center. The show begins at 7:30 p.m.”
Tickets will be $7 and 100 percent of the ticket sales will go directly to the KaeMe organization (see more about this organization below or visit www.KaeMe.org). The three students will take the money directly to Ghana and will be able to allocate the distribution of funds themselves. The event is open to the public.
“We’ve already raised $500 with other fundraising efforts, which is two-and-a-half scholarships,” Cosy said. “It depends how much we raise...there are so many options. We can do scholarships for village kids and improve village schools, I’m just so excited to get there and make a difference.”
“In Ghana there is no free public education, so when families can’t afford the $200 per kid per year they look for other options,” explains Will Burnett. “What eventually happens is that many of these kids are sent to the orphanage schools in Accra where they can get schooling for free. The problem is that these kids are not living with their families and some of the paperwork gets confused, and some of these kids are actually adopted internationally when they have families in the villages.”
While the orphanages provide a great service for orphans, many of the non-orphan children are taking advantage of the free education and much of the management cannot be supported by local Ghana resources.
“Our goal is to help improve the schools in the villages and ultimately keep families safe and united in Ghana. It’s terrible to think that children, their most precious resource, are being taken away from their families,” explains Kara Sheffield. “A little money goes a long way. For $200, a child can receive a scholarship for a year and stay with their family in the village. $1,000 can make a huge difference in the village schools with new paint, and desks. A new entire high school could even be built with $20,000. The cost of construction is much lower in Ghana.”
KaeMe has worked with the children of Ghana and have current student volunteer programs with Stanford and Yale where students work in Ghana to help organize paperwork in the orphanages, reunite children with existing families and develop a management system which can be supported locally. This February, Cosy, Will and Kara will travel to Ghana and spend 10 days working with KaeMe.
“I first became interested in this cause through my cousin. She met her Ghanan husband while at college at Utah State. They now have two adorable children and live in Accra, Ghana and are involved with KaeMe,” explains Cosy. “I’ve always wanted to do humanitarian work in Africa and I knew this was my chance to make a difference. I love my Ghanan family and wanted to get involved.”
The three LCC students have earned the money to travel to Ghana and work in the villages. They will paint and clean schools and Cosy will teach Ghanan children volleyball.
“I’m going to hold a volleyball clinic in the village and donate volleyball equipment to the schools because it’s something I know and love,” adds Cosy who will be playing volleyball for BYU this fall.
For more information on the KaeMe organization, visit www.KaeMe.org
The Rancho Santa Fe Community Center is located at 5970 La Sendita, Rancho Santa Fe, 92067.