Nonprofit connects kids to Uganda

Hoping for $50,000

As Sister Schools gears up for its Fifth Annual Fundraiser Dinner and Auction, the organization hopes to partner with Lawton Elementary School again this year.

Sister Schools, based out of Magnolia, works with schools every year to bring awareness to Seattle students about the poverty in Uganda - particularly that which effects schools and orphanages.

Last year Sister Schools partnered with Blaine Elementary School and has worked with Lawton and Our Lady of Fatima in the past.

Each year, Sister Schools teams up with local schools to hold a fall supply drive - where students donate school supplies, clothes, books and sometimes toys.

"We're teaching our children they can make a difference in the life of someone else," said Christine Segat, development director at Sister Schools. "One simple thing will change someone else's life, even if it's a worn out pair of sneakers."

All the material from the supply drive fills up a 40-foot container that leaves Seattle in December and arrives in Uganda in April. Sister Schools workers and volunteers then spend three weeks unloading roughly 1,000 boxes and distributing the donated material to local schools and orphanages.

"Then when we come back from Africa in spring we go back to the schools and show them where their donations ended up," Segat said. "Sometimes we're able to bring Ugandan kids back with us and then they interact directly with the students who donated."

The upcoming fundraiser helps make that trip possible. Last year's fundraiser raised $44,000 and the goal for this year is $50,000, Segat said.

"We're in a bit of a transition," Segat said. "It's a tough year financially. We're being very careful on how we spend money but with a new board, new direction and new ideas we'll be able to get through the economy in the end."

The honed focus of Sister Schools will be the impact the program has on students here and the education of circumstances in different parts of the world, Segat said.

Money received from grants and donations not only goes toward the cost of the supply drive, but toward building libraries. Sister Schools is building its third library in Uganda now.

"We've gone to over 150 schools over 20 years," Segat said. "We've probably shipped more than 150-thousand pounds of supplies to schools and orphanages in that time period."

Right now, Sister Schools will focus on talking to schools and educating students on the circumstances in Uganda before starting the supply drive in November.

The event tickets cost $50 per person and the auction includes spa gift certificates, tickets to sporting events, a couple of weekend getaways and authentic African artifacts from Uganda and Kenya. It takes place at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 at MOHAI in the McCurdy Park area near the Arboretum.[[In-content Ad]]