A group of preschool and middle school kids got their hands dirty Saturday at Oakbrook Community Church in hopes of helping people from around the globe.
The children volunteered their time to create artwork to help raise money in an effort to build an orphanage in Kenya. It’s all part of the Choose to Invest ministry program based out of Atlanta, Ga., said organizer Sara Gruber.
“I wanted to open my own nonprofit and a friend from Tennessee emailed me about the program,” she said. “I thought it was really different and wanted to do it.”
Gruber said the goal of the project is to raise $60,000 to purchase land in Kenya and build an orphanage to house children in need there.
Saturday’s event was like a dry run for what she will be doing in Kenya with children, she said.
Along with selling the children’s artwork from Saturday, Gruber and other volunteers will travel to Kenya and create similar artwork with those children. Gruber then will return to the U.S. and sell the Kenyan children’s work.
Gruber said 100 percent of the proceeds will be directed toward the orphanage.
“We’re doing the same project with Kenyan children to give them things they wouldn’t normally have access to and to raise awareness here of the problems over there,” she said. “We’re testing out ideas today. [We’re going to] see what age group we will be working with over there and see what I’m getting myself into when I go to Kenya. We’ll see what works and what doesn’t.”
Gruber said she plans on taking another trip to Kenya in June to start the project and see the land.
“It’s a few hours away from Nairobi,” said Gruber. “We want to get to know the people and the churches in the area. I’ve been to Kenya before and I’m so excited to go back.”
Sara’s husband, Nico Gruber, a member of Oakbrook Church, pitched in to help the kids with their designs and in hopes of reaching out to the kids in Kenya.
“We want to bring restoration to the world and what a better way to spend a Saturday, especially with it raining,” said Nico.
Alan Weimer, 17, of Western High School, jumped in to help and said he had fun in the process.
“I love Sara and Nico,” Weimer said after creating designs using marbles rolled in paint. “It’s pretty fun and I get to help other kids.”
Artwork not sold Saturday will remain on sale upon request, Gruber added.
“We’ll have a booth at the art fair downtown in June and sell what artwork we have left,” she said.
People wishing to purchase any art or to learn more about the project can email Gruber at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 765-432-4037.
• Mike Fletcher, Tribune crime reporter, may be reached at 765-454-8565 or via e-mail at email@example.com.