Turning a personal struggle into a miracle, one brick at a time, is the goal of the Build A School With Lindor program.
Winnipeg Free Press columnist Lindor Reynolds, on leave for the past year as she battles cancer, is leading a project to build a school in Kenya through Marc and Craig Kielburger's Free the Children charity.
Reynolds, and a group of friends who are assisting with the project, are more than halfway to their goal of $10,000 to make the school happen. To raise the remaining funds, a public fundraising campaign is kicking off Thursday, and her friends are holding a garden party at the Delta Winnipeg Poolside, 350 St. Mary Ave., Thurs., June 19 at 4 p.m.
The two-hour event will be MCed by Ace Burpee of Virgin 103.1 and will include wine and cheese, entertainment and "a celebration of a Winnipeg treasure, award-winning Winnipeg Free Press columnist Lindor Reynolds."
"As most people know, Lindor is currently fighting brain cancer and she didn't want to feel sorry for herself or have a pity party for herself, is the way she puts it. She wanted to put some energy into the positives and something that would make a difference to the world," said Laura Hawkins, the Build A School With Lindor committee spokeswoman. The president of Picante Advertising, Hawkins has been a friend to Reynolds for over a decade.
"She has been to We Day and interviewed Craig Kielburger and was really inspired by the work they were doing and she had visited Kenya a couple of years ago, so Kenya was near and dear to her heart as well," Hawkins said. "She chose to take on the initiative to build a school in Kenya which comes with a price tag of roughly $10,000."
Reynolds, health permitting, is planning to attend the Garden Party.
"I started the Kenya project so I could feel useful while I was on sick leave. I can't work and I wanted to do something useful," Reynolds said. "It's been more successful than I expected. Even before the Garden Party we'd raised $5,300."
She added students from David Livingstone School contributed "close to $1,000."
"I'm so moved that the kids from David Livingstone are putting their limited resources to help disadvantaged kids in Africa," Reynolds said.
In the past 10 years, Free the Children has built 130 schools in Kenya alone under the Adopt a Village model. Among the numerous projects by Free the Children to help children become more educated and work toward breaking the cycle of poverty in developing countries in sustainable ways, more than 650 schools and schoolrooms have been built under the Adopt a Village model.
"We believe that education is the foundation of sustainability and is crucial in helping a community lift themselves out of poverty," said Scott Baker, executive director of Free the Children.
"Having access to education, children are empowered to be leaders in their community and are armed with the knowledge, resources and tools to do so. We are honoured and proud that Lindor is fundraising to build a school with Free the Children and is helping provide a community overseas with a better and lasting future."
Hawkins said she, Louis Trepel of Ben Moss Jewellers, Safeway/Sobey's director of public affairs and government relations John Graham and Free Press associate editor Julie Carl came up with the idea of the garden party to honour Reynolds as well as help her raise funds for the project.
"I think this (garden party) will give people a chance to show Lindor they support her, they value her and they support what she is doing," Hawkins said.
Tickets are $60 and a charitable tax receipt will be given by Free the Children for a donation of $20 to buy one brick toward building the school. To buy a ticket, call Kelly Gerlach, at the Delta, at 204-944-7205.
There are still tickets available but the event is 75 per cent sold out. If you can't come but would like to make a donation, go to www.buildaschool.ca.