Ludlowe softball plays for a cause: ‘buildOn’
Published 4:08 pm, Thursday, April 21, 2016
FAIRFIELD — It all started as part of a dinner table conversation. And then, the light bulb went on over Grace Haviland’s head.
For the last year, Haviland has been coordinating the Fairfield Ludlowe High School chapter of “buildOn” a non-profit organization that focuses on building schools, along with creating after-school programs, in undeveloped countries. This June, Haviland, along with nine other Ludlowe students and several teacher-chaperones, will travel to Nicaragua to help build a school.
“I’m so excited about this,” Haviland said at Monday’s Ludlowe versus Trumbull softball game, where both teams worked to fund-raise for the Falcons’ third-annual “Play 4 a Cause” game — a game where they designate a specific charity to support. This year, its “buildOn.”
“When my assistant coach (Anna Newberg) told me that she was going to Nicaragua, my eyes opened up real wide,” Ludlowe coach Shari Paci said. “I said, ‘We’ll support you 150 percent. We’ll get the team on board and give every penny we have to the cause.’ It’s one thing to give money but it’s another thing to go and for coach Newberg and for Meghan, they’re going to come back changed people.”
BuildOn is currently building schools in seven countries — Nicaragua, Haiti, Senegal, Malawi, Nepal, Mali and Burkina Faso. So far, 853 schools have been built.
“I’m really excited to go, it’s going to be an incredible experience,” said Ludlowe junior softball player Megan Szchuman, who will be traveling to Nicaragua in June. “It was great that the team was able to step up and come together for this cause. This is the third year we’ve done this and it’s becoming a great tradition.”
In 2014, the softball team raised money for the “900 Project” where 900 latrines were built in Haiti and last year, they worked for the Royal Family Kids’ Camp, which sends foster children in the DCF system to summer camps.
Since Haviland started the Ludlowe chapter last summer, the charity has raised (according to its website) $32,035 as it works toward achieving its goal of $43,149. Around $30,000 is needed to build one school.
“It’s amazing what we’ve been able to raise so far,” Haviland said. “It’s so easy to take education for granted and it’s so easy to forget that in most of the world it’s hard for a woman to get educated, so this is really important.”
The chapter has sponsored car washes and bake sales, along with a “profit night” at Steffano’s Pizza. On Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Trinity Church in Southport, there will be a benefit concert with various styles of music to help the buildOn program..
“Grace has played a huge role in all of this,” Szchuman said. “It was her idea and she stepped up and met with some of the founders in the corporation and got a lot of us together. She’s done a great job.”
And in just a year’s work.
“My father mentioned (buildOn) at the dinner table one night and I thought that sounded really cool,” Haviland said. “I did some research and discovered that you could create your own chapter and you can do the fund raising and end up traveling and building a school and I thought that sounded great, so I went to some of my friends and asked them if they wanted to join and I went to Miss Newberg and asked if she’d help us and she said yes and we got started.”
And they haven’t stopped.