Over the past six years, Wheaton Academy has engaged in a thriving partnership with Kids Alive International, a mission organization that works to rescue and redeem vulnerable and at-risk children around the world. Each year, students serving on Project LEAD Global raise funds to support our twenty-five sponsored students in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In addition, Wheaton Academy students travel to Kids Alive ministry sites during Winterim, ensuring that there is a face-to-face component to their support.
A Winterim Trip that Changes Lives
The Academy’s partnership with Kids Alive has deep relational roots. English teacher Daniel Ball recounts his first teaching position after college at a Kids Alive school in the Dominican Republic. He reflects, “I would say that still to this day, the most rewarding teaching experience I have had was spending 8 months teaching two girls, Yoelmi and Luz del Carmen, how to read and write in Spanish.” Today, Mr. Ball leads Winterim trips to the DR where he encourages students to connect with the community that impacted him so deeply.
In 2015, Math teacher Val Gregersen first traveled to visit a Kids Alive site in the DR on a mission trip with her daughter Stephanie. Mrs. Gregersen never looked back. She shares, “I truly believe in the ministry so when Wheaton Academy first started the partnership, I volunteered to lead the trips for Winterim. I have never regretted it—I love watching the kids build relationships with people around the world. Our students’ lives often take on a new trajectory when they see how God is working in another country.“
2019 Winterim Trip to Kids Alive in Haiti
Corbin Bates ’21 was profoundly impacted by a trip to Kids Alive in Haiti during the Winterim of his sophomore year. Corbin shares, “When I traveled to Haiti in early 2019, God demonstrated his love for me by showing me His love for the kids there. The unconditional and unending love I saw in Kids Alive Haiti was my window into the unconditional and unending love of God for me. This new understanding of Gods love has changed everything about how I live as His child.”
Creativity in Fundraising
Corbin serves with a team of students on Project LEAD Global. The Global team organizes events to raise funds for Kids Alive. After experiencing a shortfall in funds last year, the student leadership team brainstormed ideas for new events that would meet this year’s health and safety requirements. During homecoming, they instituted the Penny Wars, raising over six thousand dollars. At Christmas, the group organized a drive-thru live nativity raising an additional eight thousand dollars for Kids Alive and collecting food for a local food pantry. Most recently, the team facilitated the annual Mr. WA competition which also raises money for our Kids Alive Partnership.
The annual Mr. WA competition
Corbin reflects, “Up to date we have raised about $20,000 for Kids Alive and we don’t intend to stop. Our team has been overjoyed that we could be apart of Gods amazing grace for the kids in Haiti. It was a truly enjoyable experience working with my team this year and brainstorming ways to help our friends in Haiti and the DR. But in the end our success this year is not a testament to our ability to throw great events. It is a testament to the generosity of our student body and above all a testament to the faithfulness of God to those who step out in faith.”
At Wheaton Academy, students have opportunities to serve on campus, in our local community, and around the globe. Our leadership program, Project LEAD equips students to engage in the kingdom work of reconciliation and restoration through the development of authentic relationships with Jesus and with others while identifying and developing spiritual and leadership gifts to serve our campus, communities, and the world.