Springfield Literacy Center student, Ryan Godfrey, has a family friend living overseas in Mongolia, teaching in the Peace Corps. Jacqueline Eastridge is residing in a remote village in Western Mongolia where many of the students' parents are herders. The students live in a dorm without their parents while attending school. They have very few toys and the dorm is very barren. Jacqueline asked Ryan, along with his big brother Isaac and little sister, Anna, to start a Lego Project. It was decided that each of the kids would ask their friends for five individual pieces of Legos. After collecting them, they would ship the Legos to Mongolia. Jacqueline would then use them for both STEM educational projects as well as toys for the kids in their dorm.
Ryan thought this would be a wonderful project for his school and classmates to be involved in, as well. He met with his teacher and principal, and they were so moved that they decided to kick off a school wide campaign.
Mrs. Dallett, Ryan's teacher says, "We were so grateful that Ryan Godfrey brought this to the class to give us a chance to share. We always talk about being empathetic, giving, and showing kindness. This project gave the children an opportunity to experience how good it feels to give."
Before the Legos were sent, the SLC students were able to enjoy a live, cross-continental, cross-cultural experience – right from their auditorium seats. The students were able to communicate via Video Chat with the children in the remote village in Western Mongolia. The Springfield students will be able to show all of the Legos that had been collected and both groups of students had the opportunity to connect in other ways by asking questions about their favorite subjects, weather, culture, and more through this modern pen pal experience.
After the assembly, the Legos were boxed up and shipped for the long journey to Mongolia. They took a VERY long time to arrive, and there was another delay to clear customs but finally Jacqueline was able to bring them to her village! The Legos have made a world of difference in the lives of her students.
Ryan's parents, Katie and Tim, say, "The pride that we hold in our children for running this campaign is indescribable. We are so incredibly touched by the support of our community. Not only have Legos come from our school district, but they have been sent from around the United States. Legos are a tangible item that children can really get behind, a few is an easy thing to give away but added up they make a HUGE difference. Legos have no language barriers. They are a universal toy that all kids can come in, pick up and create whatever it is that exists in their imagination."
Susan Trella, SLC Principal, says, "At the Springfield Literacy Center, it is our responsibility to show the students how to be kind to everyone and what servicing others looks like at school and in the community. This Lego project, initiated by Ryan, brought servicing others to a whole new level- a global level. That is exactly what we try and instill in our students and the fact so many students responded and donated their Legos is truly remarkable. It really is a feel good moment for our school!"