Sarah Cayia, 14, an eighth-grader at Reeds Brook Middle School, created “Boxes for Bosnia,” a school-wide campaign that collected 10 large boxes of school supplies for needy Bosnian schoolchildren.
While Sarah’s father was serving with the National Guard in rural Bosnia, he wrote home about a poor, war-ravaged school his unit was trying to help. Sarah immediately wanted to help, too. “I decided I wanted to help my dad and his unit make these kids’ school life just a little bit better if I could,” she said. Sarah presented her idea for a school-supply drive to her teacher and homeroom class, and volunteers began to sign up to help. They found pictures and other information about Bosnian children on the Internet, and used the material to decorate collection boxes and make promotional posters.
Sarah’s teacher taught a lesson on Bosnia to all seventh-grade students, and Sarah and her volunteers placed boxes in every classroom. They also wrote a newsletter article, produced an advertisement for the school television station, and spoke to each homeroom class. After retrieving the filled boxes, the group sorted and packed the donated items, then delivered everything to the National Guard armory for shipping. “The most memorable part of this project was when my dad sent me pictures of how happy the children were when they saw all of the school supplies,” said Sarah.