Think globally, act locally. Two Del Mar sixth-graders have that concept down pat. Sixth graders Dylan Brown and Ezra Granet are raising global awareness at their school, Del Mar Heights Elementary, to help reduce the spread of malaria in other countries.
Last spring, the two boys learned about malaria through a language-arts activity. “We heard about this problem through a fifth-grade writing piece,” explains Brown, “where we wrote about whether money raised should be given to researchers to attempt to find a drug that could cure malaria, or money should be used to buy insecticide-treated bed nets. Both Ezra and I agreed that buying bed nets would be more effective, and upon further research, we learned that malaria is a big problem, and these bed nets could be very beneficial and could save many lives at a reasonable cost.”
Then Brown and Granet jumped into action. They identified a nonprofit called Nothing But Nets whose sole mission is to raise awareness, funds and voices to fight malaria in African countries. “We knew that if we could somehow inspire more people, we would be able to save more lives,” says Brown. “This helped us push harder, learn more about the topic and ultimately raise money for this cause.”
The two students created a PowerPoint presentation to educate other students about the problem. Then they placed jars in each classroom so that students could put the money they raised for the cause directly in the jars. And students got creative about raising funds – they set up lemonade stands, did extra chores, held a bake sale and hosted a basketball shootout fundraiser called Countdown to Summer. The boys were able to raise $2,000 last year -- enough money to buy 200 nets.
This year, the boys have even bigger ambitions.
“We have set ourselves with a harder goal and we have informed more students of the fundraiser through assemblies that we gave to every grade,” explains Brown. “We want each student to raise money to buy one net which is $10. We have also asked more of our peers to assist with our fundraising.”
They’ve also added two more schools to increase their fundraising efforts, which they’re officially calling the Del Mar Schools Fight Against Malaria. The fundraiser is running for two weeks from May 28 to June 7. Collection jars have been placed in classrooms once again with curbside collections during morning drop-off starting June 3. Kids can also enter a raffle to win Nothing But Nets tee shirts.
“We are passionate about this fundraiser because we know that we are saving lives,” says Brown. “And with other people’s help, we could save even more lives.”
Granet sums it up tidily. “Kids can make a difference in the world, and we’re doing it one net at a time.”
You can make a donation to the Del Mar Schools Fight Against Malaria fund at fundraise.unfoundation.org/team/228673. To learn more about Nothing But Nets, check out nothingbutnets.net.