Farmington students inspired to reach globally

Jason Lansing
Jason Lansing

Farmington students raise money to build school in Africa

by Jennifer Chick
Sun Thisweek
Dakota County Tribune

We Day Minnesota inspired a Farmington High School junior to think globally. Now Jason Lansing is planning a trip to Kenya this summer and Farmington High School has joined the cause by raising money to build a school there.

“It’s just always been a dream of mine to help people in developing countries, and that’s what I want to do out of college,” Lansing said, “to teach in developing countries. I thought this would be a great way to start that career.”

Lansing was part of a group of Farmington High School students who attended We Day Minnesota on Oct. 8, 2013, at the Xcel Energy Center. We Day was an educational event that prompted young people to lead local and global change, and is part of the yearlong We Act Program.

At the event, Lansing filled out a postcard indicating he was interested in participating in a youth volunteer mission and soon ME to We, an nonprofit that organizes youth volunteer trips, contacted him. The group was organizing a three-week trip to Kenya from July to August and asked if he wanted to join the trip.

After persuading his parents, Heidi and Dave, Lansing began raising the $5,300 needed to fund his trip. He talked to Theresa Agerter, an assistant principal at the high school, and she was interested in bringing his project to the attention of the student body. Since We Day Minnesota, the school’s students had been looking for a project to support. This seemed like a good fit.

In addition to Lansing’s own fundraising, now students from across the Farmington School District have started collecting change through We Create Change, a year-long fundraising campaign in support of international charity and educational partner Free The Children. The project is made possible in Minnesota by Bremer Bank.

Across the district, students are gathering change to fill special Free The Children/Bremer Bank cardboard school houses. Each $20 will purchase a brick to build a school in Kenya. All five elementary schools, two middle schools, and Farmington High School are working together to raise $10,000 to build a school in Kenya.

Farmington High School students are building an 8-foot long wall to track the progress of their fundraising efforts. For each $20 raised for a school brick overseas, students will place a paper brick on the wall to raise awareness and encourage their fellow students to get involved in We Create Change.

They are hoping to raise the money by the end of the school year before Lansing leaves on his trip. He will be traveling to southern Kenya to live with a Maasai tribe.

“I’m hoping that I will be able to gain a really good understanding of what it means to be a good global citizen,” Lansing said, “to be immersed in a new experience and culture, and I’m excited to meet people from the other side of the world, to tell them that there are others here that want to see them succeed and prosper.”

Lansing still needs to raise about $3,000 for his trip expenses by April 30.

To donate to his trip, contact Lansing at [email protected], or call Farmington High School at 651-252-2501.

For more information or to donate to the Farmington High School We Create Change project, call the school.