by Robin Burridge
LITTLE CURRENT—After one year and a whole lot of work, 11-year-old Kristina Renwick of Little Current has succeeded in her goal of raising $15,000 to build a well in Africa through World Vision.
“It’s really cool,” said Kristina. “It’s amazing that it all came together and that the well will help so many people.”
The Little Current Public School student said she came up with the idea last summer when she was looking on the World Vision website.
“My mom had purchased things from the website in the name of friends and some of my cousins as presents,” explained Kristina. “I checked out the website because I thought it was cool, but I thought probably not a lot of people were purchasing the bigger items.”
Kristina decided that she wanted to work on raising money for one of the World Vision projects and decided on digging a well.
“I really wanted to raise money for a well project because here on Manitoulin we are surrounded by fresh water, but in Africa somebody dies every eight seconds because of drinking contaminated water,” said Kristina.
Raising $15,000 would seem daunting to many, but to Kristina she simply looked at is as $1 per Islander.
She explained that even her parents thought it was a lot to undertake at first, but that they were very supportive every step of the way.
As a person of strong faith, Kristina was clear in saying that she prayed daily for assistance in her endeavor.
She revealed that she gave herself a deadline of one year to complete the fundraising as motivation. She began with distributing a letter to Island businesses and reaching out to people in the community.
Seeing such a young woman with such a big heart and dream, made many come forward to help Kristina.
The Anchor Inn offered to match donations whenever Kristina met certain levels on her road to $15,000. Cathy Jeffery donated a quilt she had previously won and Kristina held a silent auction for the quilt and a planter her father had made. The Rainbarrel also donated a blanket towards Kristina’s cause, which she raffled off, bringing in further funds for the well.
Local photographer Jon Savage lent a helping hand, donating one of his pieces to Kristina as a raffle prize.
Brookwood Brae Golf Course/the Thorburn family generously donated the proceeds from the 2011 Bud Thorburn Annual Memorial Golf Tournament to Kristina.
The young philanthropist did not just stop at reaching out to local businesses; she took it upon her self to create products to sell at various summer events.
Instead of taking in the festivities at the Little Current Business Improvement Area’s (BIA) Canada Day Summer Fair, the 11-year-old took a booth along Water Street and sold homemade “bed bugs” raising a total of $1,600.
On Haweater Weekend, She once again took to the streets with her crafted goods, selling her “bed bugs” and duck-tape wallets outside of Turners.
Kristina even sold eco-friendly bracelets from ‘Koru Fundraising’—a company where half the money goes towards your cause and the other half to the bracelet’s African creators.
“People were so generous and wanting to help,” said Kristina. “My friends at school were supportive too. They had a lot of ideas.”
Kristina said that her friend Jessica Marshall was especially supportive, helping make crafts and sell their creations.
“Even my eight-year-old brother Jake helped out,” added Kristina. “He donated all of his savings.”
Kristina reached her goal last month, raising the $15,000 necessary to build a well through World Vision.
“I found out that they will be building the well in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Kristina told The Expositor. “World Vision told me that it will help over 75,000 people. I didn’t know it would help so many people. It’s amazing.”
Her dedication has earned her the attention of many community members, even including some that are in the process of nominating Kristina for the Ontario Newspaper Association’s prestigious Junior Citizen of the Year Award.
Kristina concluded saying that she could not have done it all without the kindness and support of her family, friends and the community. She wanted to especially thank Brookwood Brae Golf Course/the Thorburn Family, the patrons of the Mindemoya Missionary Church, Men’s Fellowship, Cathy Jeffery, John Savage, Susan Allen, local businesses and to everyone else who contributed.
by Robin Burridge