WORTHINGTON — Today is the 10th annual All Day Fore Africa summer event. Called "fore" because it began with a day of golf for charity, the event now includes a host of activities, with something for everyone.
ADFA is a kids-for-kids non-profit organization that works with the village of Kibeho, Rwanda to fulfill community needs. They work closely with Fr. Leszek Czeluśniak, a missionary from Marians of the Immaculate Conception who has been serving in Rwanda for almost 30 years.
Members of the ADFA Junior Board explained what the organization means to them.
"We're providing needs for somebody," said Bennett Oberloh, 12. He noted that he is able to go to the refrigerator or the grocery store when he's hungry, but many children in Rwanda are not.
"It makes me happy to know that I'm helping in that way," he added.
Cassie Shulz, 11, agreed. "It's nice knowing that what we're doing here is helping someone on the other side of the world."
"We actually are making a difference," added Bailey Ahlquist.
The difference ADFA has made over the last 10 years is measurable.
The kids explained that ADFA has built a Children's Academy in Kibeho, which is an after school program that helps kids learn English.
The national language of Rwanda was changed from French to English in 2011, they said. It's important for Rwandan children to know English because in sixth grade, they have to pass a national exam in order to qualify for more education. It is much easier to pass an exam if a student speaks the language.
Even if a student does pass the national exam, they must then jump the hurdle of tuition. Additional school is not subsidized by the government and costs $500 per year to attend — the same as the average yearly salary in Rwanda. ADFA also provides scholarships for students who can't afford to continue their education but are otherwise eligible to do so.
When ADFA first started, there were no children from Kibeho who moved beyond sixth grade. Now there are 15. The ADFA Children's Academy currently serves 30 children, who are preparing to take the exam when they get old enough.
"Education is the first step for change," said Czeluśniak. "It's very simple, but it's very deep and very important."
In addition to the Children's Academy, ADFA has also started an effort called Mission Abana. "Abana" means "kids," Czeluśniak explained. The mission is to provide meals for children at Nyrashishi Primary School and at the Blind Children's School — a total of 880 kids.
Abana buys amandazi, a nutritious bread with a doughnut-like texture, from local baker Bosco at the Seven Loaves Project Bakery in Kibeho. In this way, the project also supports the local economy.
Junior Board members have enjoyed their experience planning and organizing Wednesday's event. They all agreed that it will impact them for the rest of their lives.
"ADFA makes me a better leader, friend and person," Shulz said.
ADFA's goal is to raise $40,000 Wednesday. This will allow Abana to feed all 880 children twice a week for a year. Some funds will also be reserved to support the Jami Cummings Learn 2 Swim program for Nobles County second graders.
Purchase of a ticket includes access to all activities at the Summer Event, an ADFA T-shirt, and a ribs and chicken dinner.
The ADFA Summer Event runs all day, beginning with pickleball at 6 a.m. Centralized at GreatLIFE Golf & Fitness, the event will also have some activities in other places, such as swimming at the YMCA and soccer at Buss Fields.
A 5k run/walk is on the docket for 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and a program at 6 p.m.
Other activities include golf, tennis, rock painting, yoga, zumba and ADFA's Got Talent.
In addition to the fun, participants can feel good knowing that the price of a ticket will feed one child once a week for a year.