Half the Sky Recognized for Supporting Blink Now Kopila School
On Monday, the Middle School club Half the Sky was honored with the first-ever Butterfly award from the not-for-profit foundation Students for a Better World. The award is named after the butterfly effect, a theoretical concept that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil could cause a storm in Texas. The foundation chose the name because it reminds people that a small effort can make a big difference.
This year's award recognized the fundraising work that Half the Sky has done to help send girls in rural and impoverished areas of Nepal to the Kopila School, which was founded by Blink Now in 2010. As a tribute to its efforts, the club was awarded a plaque and a gift of $500, which the club members unanimously chose to donate to the Kopila School. This year, the club raised nearly $6,000 for the school – almost double what it was able to donate last year –and enough to cover tuition and all related expenses for 18 girls in Nepal. According to Blink Now, "The Kopila School serves over 350 children. Many are the first in their families to ever attend school, creating a new generation of literate, educated students who will become empowered adults. Beyond schooling, the students are provided health care and a daily nutritious meal, as well as a sense of community and confidence that grows with each passing year."
The co-founders of Students for a Better World, Bob and Cynthia Orr, believe that giving is contagious. They hope that by recognizing the work of young people that more of them will be inspired to make the world a better place. According to Bob, "The purpose of the foundation is to encourage and support students and young adults in finding creative ways to make the world better. Our goal is that by bringing some attention to these young people that we can help spread the work about the importance of giving to others." Although the foundation’s first award went to a local group of students, the not-for-profit will look further afield in the future. The Orrs are currently making connections with schools throughout the country and asking for help in identifying young people who are committed to improving the world. Bob will also be speaking at numerous schools, talking to students about the benefits of giving and spreading the word about Students for a Better World. As Bob offers, "There are scientifically-proven benefits to the giver. People who give report better overall happiness and are less likely to suffer from sleep disorders. Giving is good for the giver and the receiver and it should be a bigger part of our lives."
In addition to running the foundation, the Orrs both teach math at Gill St. Bernard’s. Five current Gill students, Olivia Escousse '19, Carolyn Herrlin '19, Julia Hersh '20, Teresa Zimmer '20 and Dylan Towle '21 serve on the club’s advisory board along with two former Gill students and three other students not affiliated with GSB.
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a rigorous, meaningful and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.