Franklin Regional club helps fund Kenyan classroom, library |

Franklin Regional club helps fund Kenyan classroom, library

Franklin Regional senior Shelby Cooper, 18, of Murrysville shows off some of the bracelets she and other Pay It Forward Club members sold at the high school to raise money for an eighth-grade classroom and library in Kenya.
Above, the beginnings of a library, built by the Maisha Project in Kenya with financial help from Franklin Regional Senior High School’s Pay It Forward Club.

Shelby Cooper of Murrysville has dipped her toe in the community service waters several times before, but in the past year, she was able to see how a small ripple at home can lead to big waves abroad.

Cooper, 18, a senior at Franklin Regional, joined fellow members of the senior high school’s Pay It Forward Club in raising $6,100 for the Maisha Project to build an eighth-grade classroom and library for students in Kenya.

“I’ve always done a lot of community service through my church, Cornerstone Ministries,” Cooper said.

Last year, Cooper and her family weren’t able to join the church’s mission trip to Mexico, and when she began looking for a worthwhile project through the club, friends in eastern Pennsylvania told her about their fundraising for a playground the Maisha Project built.

The Pay It Forward Club sold bracelets created of rolled, glazed multi-color paper, as well as clutch purses. The club got community members involved, soliciting donations from local businessmen Bob Brooks and Richard Kacin and working with local boutique Simplicity to help sell some of the clutches.

A club member since ninth grade, Cooper was elected its vice president this school year

“Being involved and getting to know the people in the club better has been great,” she said, “because you start to see what different ideas people have.”

Membership ranges between 20 and 30 students per year, and the club hosts multiple charity fundraisers, purchases gift cards to recognize students each nine weeks for academic and extracurricular achievements, and organizes appreciation days for school-district staff members.

Cooper said said service projects, whether for her local community in Murrysville or the world community through the Maisha Project, is something she’s always loved to do.

“It’s a very rewarding experience,” she said.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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