Richmond's 'global citizens' make difference in China

Students from Richmond Christian School help to raise funds for ICC.

Richmond Christian Elementary students Grace, Joshua, Tristen and Luke, with principal Darlene Neufeld and International China Concern's David Gotts and Benjamin Chhoa.
Richmond Christian Elementary students Grace, Joshua, Tristen and Luke, with principal Darlene Neufeld and International China Concern's David Gotts and Benjamin Chhoa.
This article was published on April 29, 2013 in the Richmond Review, written by Matthew Hoekstra.

Four hundred young students sat quietly while David Gotts raised a microphone to give them a message. 

"You are all amazing," he told them Friday. "You're going to change and transform the lives of lots and lots of children." 

Moments before, faculty at the elementary campus of Richmond Christian School revealed the result of students' fundraising efforts for International China Concern—a charity that offers help and hope to China's abandoned and disabled children. 

Students from kindergarten to Grade 5 raised $16,031.95. When added to the total from the school's other two campuses, the school raised $56,281.45 for the charity. 

Gotts, who founded International China Concern in 1993, told the students an anonymous donor matched the amount, bringing the total to a whopping $112,562.90. 

"It really makes a huge difference to us, and where it really makes a difference is in the lives of the kids in China," said Gotts in an interview, noting the money will go 10 times farther in China. 

"It enables these kids who have essentially lost everything—and in Chinese society are extremely marginalized—to basically access a nurturing environment that optimizes their opportunities for reintegration into the community." 

Students worked with an International China Concern representative in March, learning about China and the work of the charity. Besides raising money, the students created cards, letters, videos and other special gifts for some of China's neediest children. 

It was part of a week called iCare for the World, where students learned about needs of others—and were given a chance to make a difference. 

Gotts said such experiences help children understand, at an early age, that they have a role they can play. 

The school community has made similar commitments to other charities in the past. 

"We're global citizens, and we're really trying to say if we're Christian, we love others," said Darlene Neufeld, principal of the Blundell-area school. "We want to teach that to our children."

This article was published on April 29, 2013 in the Richmond Review.