A summer vacation is a great time to help out a worthy cause!
(Editor’s Note: Devin Casper, 14, and his brother, Dylan, 11, are Daniel Island residents. Devin is a rising freshman at Philip Simmons School and Dylan attends Daniel Island School. They traveled to India this summer with their family and decided to use their vacation as a way to give back to those less fortunate. Their mom, Sheela, shared with The Daniel Island News that this is the fourth time the family has traveled to India. On the first trip, the boys were really impacted by the poverty, she said, and wanted to do something to “help kids like themselves.” On their last trip, they visited during the holidays and bought presents for kids in need. This time, the boys wanted to contribute school supplies. They share their story below, in their own words. We hope it inspires readers of all ages to make a difference in communities near and far.)
Throughout the Casper/Verma (our mom’s maiden name) family, we all share a basic belief that we should help others in need. So when my family took a trip to India this summer, we thought we should do something to help the local children like we had in the past.
To start, we thought we should do something to help children in need. In India, the school year starts in July. So, we thought and thought of something we could do to help the children and eventually we came to an idea. Our idea was to put in money of our own. Our parents, Sheela and Chad Casper, said they would match our donation. We think we surprised them when we donated our entire money we had at the time...especially when we had been talking about what we were saving for.
Once we shared our ideas with our cousins, we inspired many other family members to be a part of the cause by donating money to purchase more items. They wanted to help, too. We ended up collecting a lot of money - over $700! With that money, we decided to purchase backpacks and shoes to hand out. Near my grandparent’s house, there is the Rukmini Balajipuram temple in Betul, India. My grandparents helped organize the event. We’d like to share some background on the village where my grandparents were born. To start, the part of Betul that we were going to donate to was poor. Life there is so different from the life of an average American today. Many families live in one bedroom shacks and can barely afford the necessities. All of these factors inspired us to donate and help the community.
After we arrived in India, we started scoping out places we could purchase the backpacks and shoes. After a few days of looking and having fun, we found a place that could supply our needs, so we ordered hundreds of backpacks and shoes to hand out. Our money went really far there - we were able to get nice backpacks and shoes for less than $4 each. A couple of days later, the items arrived and were prepared to be handed out. We decided to do it on the 4th of July - to bring our two cultures together. We set up tables and put the shoes and backpacks on them. We posted notices to let the kids know about the event. My grandfather, we call him Nana, even made huge posters to promote our efforts. There were hundreds of children of all ages sitting and waiting for their school supplies. We got up and said some words to the crowd in front of us. After, we called the children up and they all got the backpacks and shoes they needed. For some of these kids, it was their first pair of shoes. There was a boy our age that needed help figuring out the left and right shoe. Just seeing the children’s smiles when they got their items made everything worth it.
We all agreed that we had done something good for the community. The major effect that this had on the community was a foundation for people to donate and give MORE school supplies. We really hope to continue this. We even have an idea for it - a foundation FROM THE AMERICAN KIDS.