A simple fund-raising project by an Augusta Preparatory Day School senior has netted more than $3,000 and assisted more than 15,000 people affected by Decem-ber's deadly tsunami in Asia.
"I originally expected it to last 15 minutes," said Ryan Kuhar, son of Robert and Rosemary Kuhar, of Martinez, who organized the fund-raiser through the Outing Club, which he helped found at the school. "It was really amazing to see people coming together. It was a really nice effort."
When Ryan and his fellow Outing Club members saw what could happen in 15 minutes, they decided to expand their effort to a few days. The project went beyond the upper school to the lower and middle schools, and the money just rolled in.
According to Ryan, the project was a simple one: raise money to purchase iodine tablets through a pharmaceutical company and have them shipped oversees to help with water purification.
"I got an e-mail through the Hugh O'Brien Leadership Forum recommending ways that students could get involved in helping the victims of the tsunami," Ryan said. "One way was to donate money through Wisconsin Pharmaceuticals, which could purchase a bottle of 20 iodine tablets at a cheaper rate of $1.44 a bottle."
Augusta Preparatory Day School senior Ryan Kuhar raised more than $3,000 in a school fund-raiser for victims of the tsunami.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Each tablet would be used to purify 1 liter of water, with a recommendation of each person consuming 5 liters of water each day.
"So we compiled the money and sent it out to them," said Ryan, adding that money is still streaming in. "I had been thinking about a way to get involved because it was a real tragedy. This just seemed the right thing to do."
When Ryan and fellow Outing Club members began the project, they stressed that the money used to purchase two bags of M&Ms could help 20 people with purified water. In the first 10 minutes, the group raised $120, with students, teachers and staff members donating anything from the change in their pockets to one student pulling $30 out of his wallet.
"Within two days, we had $300 and we started to get more confident about it," said Ryan, founder and president of the Future Business Leaders of America at Augusta Prep. "We started harassing people at carpool and raised another $100."
A message was put out to every pupil after headmaster Jack Hall suggested expanding the fund-raiser. When, at the end of the week, the money was collected, the lower and high schools had raised about $1,000, while the middle school had raised $1,270.
"We stopped by the business office that evening and counted everything from checks of $300 to change," said Ryan, treasurer of the school's Ecology Club and a member of the French Club.
Ryan, who runs varsity track and varsity cross-country at school, has aspirations of double majoring in international studies with an interest in romance languages and environmental science.
When asked what he learned from his latest fund-raising effort, Ryan said, "I would say that kindness is where you find it. I thought it was really amazing."
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