Central student heads fundraiser for Flint, Michigan

Donna Summerall
Staff Writer

The Flint water crisis is a drinking water contamination issue in Flint, Michigan, that started in April 2014. After Flint changed its water source from treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water to the Flint River, its drinking water had a series of problems that culminated with lead contamination. Thus, creating a serious public health danger. The corrosive Flint River water caused lead from aging pipes to leach into the water supply, causing extremely elevated levels of lead. In Flint, between 6,000 and 12,000 children have severely high levels of lead in the blood and experienced a range of serious health problems.
Honor Brown, a sixth grade student at Central School, saw the problem in Flint, Michigan and asked her mother if there were any way she could help.
“After seeing what was going in in Flint, Michigan, on the news, I wanted to know more,” Brown said. “I saw that there are no grocery stores in that area. One of the ways to lessen the effects of lead poisoning is to eat healthy foods. How can these people have access to food that would make them feel better with no grocery stores? I felt so bad for them. What if that were us? We would want someone to help. It just seems like such an awful situation for everyone in that city. It bothered me that kids like me were drinking contaminated water.”
Brown discussed the problem with her mother and decided she wanted to do something to help. Brown said she’s not trying to have people look at her, she’s wants others to see what’s going on and help. She wanted to think of a way to do something to make a difference for these people. Her mother helped her with the fundraising idea, and told her to talk to Central School Principal, Wynesther Cousins.
“Honor Brown brought this problem to my attention one morning,” Cousins said. “I was completely blown away by this young lady thinking of what could be done to help these people in Michigan. I told her we could make something happen. I didn’t know what yet. Brad Cox did a Google Search on elementary schools in Flint and Doyle Ryder was the first one on the list. So that is the school that we are going to help. Picking a school was the easy part.”
Cousins said that was two weeks ago. Students were sent home with a flier explaining what the money would be used for and asked for a $1 donation and the student could wear jeans instead of the obligatory uniform pants. This fundraiser went on for a week. Church Hill Elementary and East Side Kindergarten also participated. Bright Horizons made a donation and so did a church in the Palo Alto Community.
“Every time I saw my classmates wearing jeans that week, I knew they were helping,” Brown said. “It was just a few on Monday, but it seemed to be more and more every day. By Friday it looked like everyone was wearing jeans. I felt so very proud to be part of something so important. It made me feel so good.”
The fundraiser brought in $2,951.49, to send clean drinking water to Doyle Ryder Elementary School. Cousins and Brown arranged a ship to store with Walmart. That way no funds have to go to pay for transportation costs, all donations can help provide clean drinking water to a school in desperate need.
“I was so surprised by how much money we raised,” Brown said. “I didn’t have an amount in mind. I knew anything was better than what they have right now. I just wanted to help.”
Cousins said everyone needs to become like Brown and think of others in need. It says a lot about the community where we live, when we have young people who are willing to do so much for people they don’t know, have never seen and will probably never meet.