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Celebration raises funds to build school in Africa

 

February 14, 2018 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

Marysville Getchell High School student Xander Corbett performs at the ME to WE Celebration on Feb. 10 which raised funds to build a school in Africa.

One young adult in Marysville is spending his birthday not focused on himself but on helping others with a "ME To WE Celebration" that was held on Feb. 10.

The event was held by the WE Charity, an international organization that encourages children and teenagers to make a difference, along with local Marysville youth and families, the Marysville Together Coalition and the Living Room Coffee House.

The idea for the event began when Keith Lasher, a former Marysville-Pilchuck High School student who had graduated, approached Marysville-Pilchuck High School teacher Jim Strickland.

"He came to me and said he wanted to do something a little different for his 20th birthday. Instead of focusing the attention on him, he wanted his birthday to be an opportunity for people to be a part of something bigger than themselves," said Strickland.

"Rather than buying him presents .... he asked they donate to our Million Penny Project," he said. The Million Penny Project is an initiative from Strickland's Life Skills Program meant to raise $10,000 (the equivalent of a million pennies) in order to build a school in Africa.

This is the second year that Lasher has helped to hold a celebration on his birthday intended to raise funds.

Last year he said his "favorite parts were how close everyone was ... there's a lot of people who came out there with changed perspectives."

This year's ME to WE celebration included a silent auction, music performances and donation collections.

Lasher said he is excited about coming back for another year and hopes to show that anybody can help make a difference.

"As a kid growing up I dealt with adversity," Lasher said. "I knew that some people had the same kind of story as me and they had hard times. I wanted to prove that somebody could do something with their lives and rise up."

Lasher said that Strickland helped get him involved in making a positive difference in the world.

"He really changed my life and introduced me to the Million Penny Project," said Lasher. "We've taken it day by day and now it's gone year after year."

At last year's event they raised hundreds of dollars to go toward the project.

Strickland and his students have also held many other fundraisers throughout the last few years in order to benefit the project and they currently have $8,097.58 collected.

"It takes $10,000 to build a school in a country through the WE organization, so we have $1,902.42 left to go," he said.

 

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