Kids-to-Kids Karnival to benefit Indian children

David Broyles

May 9, 2014

A fifth grade student at Jones Intermediate is following through on her belief she can make a difference. Avery Cox has planned a “Kids to Kids Karnival” today from 2-5 p.m. at Jones Intermediate School to benefit Kiran Charities.

“We are an organization formed by a businessman who grew up in poverty in India. He (Michael Antony) is now a chemical engineer in Texas. His mission in life was to give back to children in India who are essentially the poorest of the poor,” said Kiran Charities Executive Director David Long.

For four years Antony provided financial assistance to schools in southern India to supplement or completely underwrite the salaries of the teaching staff at three primary schools and two secondary schools, as well as underwriting capital improvements such as the installation of toilets, computer labs, and libraries. The organization itself grew from there as a way to organize charitable giving for his cause and currently serves 10 schools.

Long’s wife, Polly, said the Kids to Kids effort is another way the charity seeks to connect American schools with schools in India to promote cultural exchange and global awareness to help them become more globally literate. It also empowers school age children to improve the quality of life for others.

Money raised by students of Polly Longs who made items and sought donations as used to buy milk cows for a combination orphanage and school in India. The couple decided to follow up on this.

“There is that fear you have, of where is your money going. The kids raised $500,” said Polly Long, who explained they traveled to the school, personally giving the money to the nun who was in charge. “I was not going to be happy until I saw the cow.” She said that night they returned to find “children dancing around the cow (and her newborn calf) in the moonlight.” The cow was named “Marigold” and the calf was named “Little Rose.” Before the two left, they saw a man with milk cans on his bicycle riding to the school to milk Marigold for the impoverished students.

The Longs showed their PowerPoint presentation on Kids to Kids at Jones last fall, which inspired Cox as she viewed the slabs of cement many of the children sleep, eat and study on. Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Coach Patty Burgess challenged the students to come up with a solution to the problem as part of the problem solving activities component of STEAM. After the class assignment, she asked her students if anyone wanted to follow through.

Cox stepped forward and has been joined by classmate Bailey Sizemore worked as the two refined their plan from class.

“We saw they had nothing and were happy to have all the stuff we do,” said Cox, who went out in the community and got gift certificates to raffle off at the carnival and also got donations and supplies from local individuals and businesses such as Cook Rentals, Walmart, Lowes Foods of Mount Airy and Food Lion in Pilot Mountain and Food Lion’s supermarkets on Toast and U.S. Highway 52, Pages Books & Coffee, Mayberry Toy Company, Scarlet Begonias and Classic Design Hair Salon.

Cox said her goal is to raise enough money to build a chicken house and buy chickens whose eggs will also be used as food for students, as well as to raise money for swings for the school’s playground. The playground has the frame but no swings.

The carnival will feature a bounce house, games, refreshments such as popcorn and drinks. Featured events include a cake walk, a dance party, demonstrations of Indian Arts (such as Pangari, or chalk painting) and crafts, face painting and henna tattooing. Admission for adults is $5; students will be charged $3 and children 5-years of age and younger are free. Donations will also be accepted.

David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.