Torin O: Crayons 4 Ethiopia

Posted: October 29, 2013

Third grader Torin O. was eating at a local restaurant with his family and enjoying the free pack of crayons he was given as he sat down to the table. Torin asked his father what he thought the restaurant might do with the crayons once they were used. When he found out that the crayons were often tossed in the trash, Torin went to the manager and asked if he could create a donation bin for the crayons so that he could provide children in need with crayons.

Over the summer, Torin attended Ethiopian Culture Camp. While there, he attended Liz McGovern’s presentation on WEEMA International, a non-governmental organization working in southwestern Ethiopia. He also learned that Ms. McGovern would be traveling to Mudula, Ethopia in November and asked if she might be willing to bring his collection of crayons to children in Ethopia; she was thrilled to help out.

Torin's work was not done there. He needed to pay for Ms. McGovern’s extra luggage costs. So Torin, a photographer, sold framed photos at Blackbird Cafe in Groton, and also placed a donation box at the register with a letter explaining his mission. Over several weeks, Torin was able to raise the funds necessary to transport the crayons overseas.

Ms. McGovern and WEEMA International work with an organization called Ethopia Reads, and have partnered together on several schools. Torin’s crayons will be delivered to children at three of those schools, many of whom have never seen a crayon before in their life. Now, Torin has introduced this community service project to his classmates in Lower Elementary, all of whom will join him in collecting more crayons and raising the necessary shipping funds to get them to Ethopia. Be on the lookout for ways to help support this effort of children helping children.

Arielle Driscoll

ElementaryCommunity Service

Last Updated: October 29, 2013