Katie Zarich is Building Tomorrow’s newest staff member serving as our Financial Optimist.
Even though I’m always reluctant to admit that summer has come and gone, I usually appreciate the start of the school year. The promise of a clean slate, fresh notebooks and pens (and sometimes more exciting school supplies) and seeing friends after the summer break helped to soften the blow of the end of my beloved summertime.
When you work for an organization like Building Tomorrow, where we focus on giving children the opportunity to go to school, it’s hard not to be reflective about your own educational journey. For 21 years, from kindergarten to law school, I had the opportunity to start a new school year. And I’m pretty sure that I took that opportunity for granted 21 times. And not a single one of the more than 3,500 students at a Building Tomorrow Academy takes his or her first day of school for granted.
How would your life be different without your schooling? In the United States, it’s difficult to imagine not being able to go to school. After tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters or emergencies, the recovery efforts often prioritize getting kids back in school to help reestablish that feeling of normalcy and to limit the disruption in their lives. The March 2012 tornado in Henryville, IN, is one such example not too far from BT’s headquarters where the community rallied to get the children back to school.
Community members gathering at the site of the BT Academy of Kabasegwa
And schools, in the United States, Uganda and around the world, go beyond serving students and often become gathering places for communities. The schools that we build in East Africa are home to community meetings and gatherings that continue long after the commissioning ceremonies that mark the completion of our schools. In fact, some of our school sites are now home to community gardens.
Why is education so important? How does it transform lives? Each student at a BT Academy now has a better opportunity for his or her primary education. And, we’ve heard from members of the communities with BT Academies that their communities are stronger now because of the schools.
Thank you for helping us to give these opportunities to our students and to transform communities.
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