Providing power through pencils


Olivia Foster, Staff Writer

A pencil may not seem like much more than a writing tool, but for many kids in developing countries, such as Latin America and Asia, a pencil is a source of potential, possibility and opportunity. Since its founding in 2008 by Adam Braun, the non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization Pencils of Promise has built 330 schools and served 33,883 students.

The organization has made its way to Staples, where Dominique Teixeira ’18 currently serves as the club’s president. Both the club and organization aim to build schools and educational opportunities in developing nations.

It’s at this time of the year when the PoP club holds their annual Valentine’s Day lollipop fundraiser. Students can buy lolli-grams outside of the cafeteria during all three lunch waves for one dollar and each purchase accounts for a $5 donation to the organization. The end goal for this past fundraiser was to raise enough money to build an entire school and raise awareness of the importance of education for every child.

According to Kellie Iannacone ’17, the club’s treasurer, “The fundraiser is a chance for those in Staples to give a simple gift to someone they care about.”

Iannacone said the fundraiser has been “very successful and all of the profit will go towards helping to build and send children to school in places such as Nicaragua and Kenya.”

When building a school, the organization takes time to pick the right location based on need, sustainability, cost efficiency, impact and commitment. The schools are built using local labor and material that is bought through the money raised. The laborers who work on these buildings are trained through professional development training in an effort to put them in leadership and mentorship roles.

Additionally, the PoP club has two annual bake sales as well as the Valentines week fundraiser. A credit to Teixeira’s dedication to the club is the fact that instead of accepting gifts for her 16th birthday last year, she requested donations for the club.  

The future of PoP is sure to hold a lot in store, as Teixeira says that there is an anonymous donor who is willing to match $4 for every $1 raised at the end of the school year, which could wind up being a total of up to $20,000.

“We could build an entire school in either Ghana, Laos or Guatemala. We are really excited about the possibility that we can achieve this goal,” Teixeira said.

The organization believes that every child should have access to education and educational opportunities and for Teixeira, “Education is the most important gift that you can give to someone.”