Let the Challenge Begin…



Once in awhile, there is a project that comes into your life that truly inspires you.  You know that feeling you have in your chest, somewhere close to your heart, that tells you that the action you are about to take is just simply the right thing to do.  I had that moment recently, and it brings me to you today hoping that you will join me in supporting an important fundraiser, the Director’s Challenge 2015-2016.

The Director’s Challenge began in 2011-2012 to assist a student-led initiative of raising money to buy a tractor for Prozorova village, a small community 300km from Moscow.

The second Director’s Challenge held in 2013/2014 supported the AAS Ambassadors’ project of building a school in Pandamatanga, Botswana.  The premise of the Challenge is that I contribute $1000 to a student fundraiser and challenge 20 individuals, families, or groups to match the contribution.  The motto of this fundraiser is, “The Director’s Challenge is an opportunity for adults in the AAS community to join together with our children to help them achieve something bigger than they can do on their own.”  This is a wonderful opportunity for our entire community to support our children in their efforts while exemplifying the ‘Contributing as a Globally Aware Citizen’ and ‘Respecting Self and Others’ strands of the AAS Mission Statement.

Since the beginning of this school year, I’ve been working with the HS Ambassadors Club as they have been pursuing their dream of growing their work in both Russia and Africa.  They have now expanded their projects to include finishing the Pandamatenga project, and the new projects in Zambia and Zimbabwe.  In all three cases, the club is focused on building schools and helping provide education to those children who live in these areas.  They recognize that education is the critical element in a formula for the successful transformation of communities in dire need.  As I sat next to the real Ambassador from Zambia to Russia, our special guest at the Ambassadors’ fundraising dinner in December, I was inspired by our students and the tremendous effort that they continue to invest in these student-chosen and student-led projects.

In response to our students’ passion and commitment to this project, I’ve initiated my third Director’s Challenge.  On the night of the Ambassadors’ Dinner with our gracious hosts, the Vafeidis Family, I donated US$1000 to the project and challenged those in attendance to match me.  That night, two slots were taken within minutes of the challenge, so I have every faith the remaining 18 spots will go fast as parents and special partners step forward to take the latest Director’s Challenge. Contributing to this challenge is an opportunity to push our kids past their fundraising goals and put them in a position to realize their dreams of service through action.

I’m paying my own way to accompany the students to Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe in March to make sure that the projects are well supported.  I’ll be offering my expertise to the Pandamatenga project, assisting in the establishment of the governance structure of this new school to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project.  This is an extra layer of assurance that your donations will have the most significant effect possible.

Donations are being accepted now with the deadline of March 15 before I depart for Africa with our engaged and talented students.  We will be taking copies of the Director’s Challenge posters naming the contributors who supported these education projects; the posters will be proudly displayed as part of our work in these locations.  We hope your names will be on the posters!

Donation forms for the Director’s Challenge are available at this link and are also available in the Admin Office at the cashier counter.  You can also donate directly through the Ambassadors’ PayPal account by clicking HERE. Contact me directly if you have any questions.  Thank you in advance for your consideration of supporting these worthy projects.

You can also donate directly through the Ambassador’s PayPal account.




  1. #1 by Scott Covey on February 27, 2016 - 12:25 pm

    I came across your project researching the school. I have spent many months in Africa, and not in tourist locations. What an awesome project. I shared it on my Author Page in FaceBook. Hopefully a few of my many followers will be as inspired as I am to help as they are able. Here is the link. https://www.facebook.com/ScottDCovey/

    • #2 by Jon Zurfluh on February 28, 2016 - 3:03 pm

      Thanks for this! Very helpful in pressing our message out beyond our walls. We now have graduates starting up groups in colleges to help support this work as well, spreading the work further. I loved your sentiments about sustainability. It is our driving force. Thanks so much for your words and wishes!

  2. #3 by Judie Bilderback Taylor on February 25, 2016 - 1:17 am

    Great Project! You continue to leave your footprints in places that matter!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: