From Key Club to Doane, my experience with Building Tomorrow.


I first learned about Building Tomorrow during my senior year of high school. Evie Sue Ward, my classmate and district governor, made Building Tomorrow her governor’s project. I was able to attend the mid-year convention where I heard the fabulous Maggie Kirkpatrick speak about Building Tomorrow. But, to be perfectly honest, at that point I didn’t understand the urgent need and impact of Building Tomorrow. I felt that there were other, more pressing matters to focus on during my senior year.

During my first semester of college at Doane in Crete, NE, that all changed. The common reading for all freshmen was a book called Half the Sky. The book chronicles different stories of women living in conditions that no person should live in. I nearly began to cry the first time I began to read the book. Throughout the book, they will tell horrific stories of the situations the girls are in, from prostitution to death during childbirth. Half the Sky also discusses a woman or women that have been made better and escaped such situations. To me, it seemed the best way best way to save women from such a fate is through education.

And that’s when it hit me. I still feel like there are important issues to focus on in my own community, which is why I do my best to volunteer around Crete. But when you really think about it, even a “broke college kid” has vastly more money than the people and children of Uganda. I read something the other day that really put things into perspective. The fact that I have food in my fridge, clothes on my back, a roof over my head, and a place to sleep makes me richer than 75% of the world. So why shouldn’t I do my best to give back?

Starting up a chapter hasn’t been easy, especially not at a college so small. With a little over 1,000 students, we have made nearly $500 in our first few months of establishment. Our most successful fundraisers have been selling bricks for Building Tomorrow. Our members are few, but growing, and those that believe in the project are as passionate about it as I am. We’ve spent countless hours selling bricks, even going door to door “trick-or-treating” for Building Tomorrow. The response from both the Doane and Crete communities has been overwhelming, and I am more than confident that there is only more to come.

My executive board and I have plenty of ideas to incorporate the campus to increase awareness and to fundraise. One residence hall has a small theater in the basement, which we utilized to show Africa themed movies one week to raise money. That same residence hall also threw a dance with the proceeds going to Building Tomorrow. Next semester, we want to continue to the all girls dorm, where I live. We’re going to bake Africa shaped cookies and invite the ladies to help us decorate them, and then sell them around campus.

Other ideas have included Tupperware parties, pennies for points (think basketball games), and we’re working on going to the local middle schools and high schools to let them know about Building Tomorrow. The more we can spread the word, the more impactful we can be.

I will actually be traveling to Africa next year, and while I will not be going to Uganda, I will get the chance to interact with and even teach children. I hope I can come back with countless stories and an even greater passion for Building Tomorrow. Ultimately, our goal is to raise enough money to build a school by May of 2015, when my class graduates.

-Aileen Gelb
BT Chapter President, Doane College

Stay connected with us!

Follow Us on Social Media