By Mike Tenbusch | December 21, 2022
When our Board of Trustees voted last January to make “Water” one of our goals for the year, it was a “gulp” moment for us. We knew that we were going to be stretched and running hard all year long simply to raise the $2.4 million that we needed to keep all 800 of our current scholars successfully enrolled in our Step-by-Step holistic scholarship program.
Bringing water to the Buen Samaritano community surrounding the garbage dump of Tegucigalpa was even harder. Wedged into the side of a mountain, with leachate from the dump poisoning the ground around them, the community needed an entire water system complete with underground pipes to give 400 homes access to fresh water—at a cost of $250,000 that wasn’t in our budget. That’s when we gulped, and then we got to work.
We set a goal of raising $250,000 in the IntSam 5K, which was more than twice as much as the race raised the previous year. We asked everyone we know to run, walk or donate in support of this project.
Things went well through the summer as old friends and new began putting teams in the race. And then in September, things just got stuck. One month before the race began, when kids were back to school and momentum should have been building, we were floundering in the $75,000 range and couldn’t seem to get out of it.
We gulped again, asked a lot of questions about whether this goal was even realistic or possible, and considered telling our friends in Buen Samaritano that they were going to have to wait another year for water.
Then we did two things: As a team, we began to pray specifically for the Lord to send more laborers for the harvest (Matthew 9:37-38). After that, we gulped one more time, signed a contract and wired money for the work to begin in Tegucigalpa. What does it mean to be a faith-based organization if we don’t actually step out in faith once in a while?
That was when all types of small and huge gifts started coming in, inching us, then leapfrogging us, closer and closer to our goal, over the next three months.
Finally, on Wednesday, we made it to $250,000 when we added in a $1,300 commitment from the students of Cristo Rey High School in Columbus, Ohio. Cristo Rey is a brand new partner in our mission, a school dedicated to serving kids from a lower-income community in Columbus. The Cristo Rey students organized a 5K with Bishop Watterson and St. Charles Prep (a couple of our long-time high school partners in the Columbus area) and then went out and raised $1,300 from their friends and families.
So the short answer to how we made it all the way to $250,000 is Cristo Rey. Or, in English, Christ the King!
Also, in case you missed it last week, please enjoy this message of what Christmas means to our scholars.
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