Local “Purple Pinky Project” helps children in other countries

David Broyles Staff Reporter

January 20, 2014

Mount Airy High School Interact-led Purple Pinky Project raised more than $7,000 in its efforts to help eradicate polio throughout the world.

Two local students are grateful they had the chance to lead the project, and that others in the community rallied to help.

Project Manager Jai Daniels and Madison Pence served as co-leaders for the MAHS effort and also drafted what became a blueprint for Surry Central, North Surry and East Surry’s Interacts to continued the project in their schools.

The project was a fundraiser for polio eradication. According to Rotary International, the disease remains prevalent in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. The project’s name comes from painting the pinky of children receiving a vaccination for the disease as a sign the vaccine has been received so no vaccine is wasted.

Information supplied by Pence and Daniels reports the total raised by local groups is $2,559.35. The original local goal was set at $2,000. The Gates Foundation will match money raised by a ratio of 2-1 making the net local share going to the effort at $7,678.05.

Daniels and Pence praised the efforts of other schools which also carried on the project as well as the support of Interact Advisor Howard Mayo. The fundraiser was staged on Oct. 24, or World Polio Day, where donations were accepted and contributors pinkys were painted purple as a sign of support. Schools participating were Surry Central High School, North Surry and East Surry as well as Pine Crest Interact/Southern Pines, East Forsyth High, Asheboro High and Lexington High School. The effort was also supported by Mount Airy Rotary and Sunrise Rotary and two anonymous donors.

Pence and Daniels said they had received word Tuesday the World Health Organization had certified India is polio free. Both said they feel a tremendous sense of pride being involved in Rotary International’s efforts to stamp out the disease and viewed their involvement as a chance to make a difference in the world.

“You see an impact. It’s been that way the whole time since we started,” said Daniels. “Seeing us reach our goal is great. We were excited to do this project. I’ve wanted to have an impact even if you don’t get to see it. It’s worth it to know you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.”

Pence said she didn’t know much about polio before working on the fundraiser. Both girls said polio was an issue that isn’t mentioned even though they have encountered older people with the effects of the disease. Both Daniels and Pence are Girl Scouts and are working on their Gold projects as well.

“In my opinion it was a big eye opener for everyone. So many don’t know about it (polio) anymore,” Pence said. ” Many said they had heard about it but didn’t know what it was.”

Both said they enjoyed the process of acting locally but thinking globally and felt it would have an impact on their futures.

“You can make a difference. It’s got to be kept local but you can do something to reach out globally,” said Daniels. “We have met so many people because of this. We met big names in Rotary and business leaders. It’s been a positive experience for us.” She explained they felt proud their efforts became a basic guide for other clubs to use as they brought the fundraiser to their own schools.

Daniels said she had no ideas of the opportunities available through Rotary. She said the group helped them to learn how to go into their community and make a difference.

“It was so nice to see the support of the community and all the schools come together. There were no negatives,” Daniels said. “The response from other schools, bigger schools, was wonderful.”

Reach David Broyles at or 336-719-1952.