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Michigan Teen Raises Money to Send Playground to Afghan Kids

  • July 13, 2004

Stamford, CT, July 13 2004 – Responding to a challenge from his church to “make a difference in the world”, 15-year-old, John Dark, of Jackson, MI, is well on his way to fulfilling the challenge and changing the lives of hundreds of school children in war-ravaged Afghanistan. Working with $100 in seed money, John and a host of donors are raising the $30,000 needed to purchase and transport the playground equipment to a primary school in Afghanistan.

The non-profit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization, AmeriCares, has arranged to transport the playground to Afghanistan where its partner, Help the Afghan Children, will deliver it to the Abdullah bin Omar School in Paghman a Kabul Province. Help the Afghan Children rebuilt the school in the District of Paghman for boys and girls who have never attended a real school.

Today there are more than 800 children enrolled in the school. The girls attend in the morning and boys attend classes in the afternoon. The Ministry of Education has designated the learning center as a model school for the country. In addition to reading, writing and math, the curriculum includes environmental awareness, health education, computer studies and peace education.

“I have seen on the news and read newspaper and magazine articles about how people are trying to rebuild Afghanistan, in particular the schools,” said John. “I thought, ‘now what does every school need? That’s right, a safe playground!’ The great aspect of this assignment is all you have to do is believe that you can make a difference. I believe that I can, and more importantly, that I will.”

John began raising money for the children of Afghanistan after his pastor, Father Jim Shaver, of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, encouraged church members to seek out ways to help others in the world. John was one of 30 parishioners to accept the challenge. John’s project, known as PEAC (Playground Equipment for Afghanistan Children), is the only internationally focused endeavor.

“I am delighted to be working with John and our partner, Help the Afghan Children, to bring joy to the students in Afghanistan,” said Tara Whalen, AmeriCares coordinator of community projects. “It is gratifying to know that there are young people across the United States who are responding to the needs of less fortunate children around the world.”

For more information on the PEAC project or how to help John succeed, please call 517-750-1647. If you are interested in sending a monetary donation, please mail your donations to:

John Dark, P O Box 65, Spring Arbor, MI 49283 and make check payable to AmeriCares.

*For more information on John Dark and the PEAC Project click on