Paying it forward in Farmington
Eighth-grader donates winnings
by Laura Adelmann
After the cheering died and the spotlight dimmed, 13 year-old Abby Haenni decided to pay it forward.
The Christian Life School eighth-grader had been presented with a certificate and a $100 check by Farmington Police Chief Brian Lindquist during a Feb. 2 school assembly for her winning essay in a Minnesota Police Chiefs Association contest.
But after Donovan and Andrea Dugan of Burnsville, former teachers, spoke of their plans to serve as missionaries in Indonesia for at least four years at the same assembly, Abby asked if she could donate the $100 to the couple.
Abby’s mom, April Haenni, said after the assembly, she had tears of pride in her eyes when Abby asked for permission to give all her prize money to the missionary family.
“I was extremely proud,” April said. “When her grandparents (Richard and Candy Short) found out, they decided to match it.”
The Dugans will provide theological training to develop Christian leaders in the primarily Muslim culture.
Abby’s gesture encouraged the Dugan family as they embark on their adventure.
“Abby’s donation to our mission work reflects the generosity and faith of her upbringing,” Donovan said. “It is remarkable that a teenage girl in our culture is able to prioritize generous faith over materialism. Abby is choosing to invest in her faith and values and it will benefit people on the other side of the world. Her actions show a maturity far beyond her years and we’re proud of her and thankful for her.”
As for the essay award, Abby was one of 36 students in the state selected for the annual honor, writing about how to use technology for good.
In her essay, Abby described the pros and cons of technology, noting the dangers of cyber-bullying but also detailing the life-transforming gift of cochlear implants to the deaf.
Those interested in becoming a financial partner in the Dugan’s mission, visit www.onechallenge.org/donate.
Laura Adelmann is at email@example.com.