18 September, 2017

Students from Central Coast Adventist School (CCAS) in Erina, NSW have raised more than $11,000 for ADRA’s Keep Girls Safe project in Thailand.

During the school’s week of spiritual emphasis, chaplain Leighton Heise wanted to challenge and inspire students to think beyond their own backyard and “give hope”.

The school chose to fundraise for the Keep Girls Safe (KGS) project in Thailand, which is designed to reduce the risk of children being trafficked in rural Chiang Rai communities. The program provides quality education for at-risk youth, conducts awareness-raising activities in rural and poverty affected communities, as well as intervention in a small number of high risk situations.

Pastor Heise said he was¬†“totally blown away” by the spirit of generosity from the school community.

Sanitarium CCAS cheque

“Jesus was right,” Pr Heise said, “There is greater happiness and joy in giving. Staff and students were noticeably in awe of the impact of the day on the attitude, spirit and communal feeling on the day.”

During the week, Sanitarium marketing team members Sharon Green and Dominique Brown spoke to the students about their experience at KGS. The pair spoke about human trafficking and shared their experience visiting the girls at KGS during their ADRA Connections trip to Thailand last year. They returned so inspired by what they saw at KGS that they have spent the past year fundraising for and raising awareness about the project.

Each day during the week, a Year 12 student read out a girl’s story ‚Äď something which resonated strongly with students.

“This was tangibly the most powerful part of our week of worship,” Pr Heise said.

Sanitarium CCAS chapel

The Year 12 leadership group were so moved by the stories that they ran a fundraising day for the whole school which raised $5587.80.

At the end of the week, the school presented ADRA Australia CEO Mark Webster with the cheque, which the school decided to match dollar-for-dollar, doubling the amount to more than $11,000.

Meanwhile, Ms Green and Ms Brown’s marketing team was recognised at the Spirit of Sanitarium Awards, receiving a cheque for $5000 to donate to their favourite organisation. They chose ADRA and the KGS project.

Sanitarium ADRA award

Sanitarium marketing team members accept a cheque to donate to ADRA Australia. [Credit: Dom Cherry]

Ms Green said her motivation stems from meeting the girls at the project and wanting to set a good example to her own children about caring for others.

“We did not want our experience with KGS Thailand to be limited to the time that we physically spent in Thailand,” Ms Green said. “We have sought out any advocacy and fundraising opportunities to give hope to the girls who we met in Thailand.”

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